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WATCH: The Best Moments from AFI DOCS's Filmmaker as Journalist Panel

By KJ Relth

Back in June of this year, AFI DOCS was in full swing with not just its film festival but also its filmmaker conference, a two-day event hosting a series of conversations and panels focused specifically on the documentary field. Co-presented by the IDA, the sessions and talks at the AFI DOCS Filmmaker Conference provided a unique opportunity for professional development, as well as a way to forge a path in shaping the future of the documentary field. One particular panel, titled "The Filmmaker as Journalist – Managing Risk in Investigative Documentary Work," asked specific questions about the challenges for public media filmmakers embarking on journalistic work.

Sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this panel discussion of leaders from across the industry explored legal, ethical and personal risks taken on by filmmakers producing content for public media. Moderated by director and producer Carrie Lozano, the panel featured Raney Aronson-Rath (Executive Producer, FRONTLINE), filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz (Reportero), and Jay Ward Brown of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP.

The panelists discussed topics including the distinction between a filmmaker and a journalist (and whether there truly is one), the ethics associated with exposing powerful issues, and the role of the independent producer in public media. Thanks to AFI DOCS and the American Film Institute (AFI), the session was recorded for us to revisit today. See below for selected videos from the panel.

On finding the most risk in the least expected places.

Why independent filmmakers need core support from the documentary community.

Raney Aronson-Rath on Public Media

Attorney Jay Brown on Assessing Risk


Please visit AFI's YouTube channel for more videos from this and other great moments from the AFI DOCS Filmmaker Conference.