In THR‘s latest roundtable talk, some of the premier documentarians of 2015 reflect on the state of their chosen form. Michael Moore ("Where To Invade Next"), Alex Gibney ("Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" and "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine"), Amy Berg ("Janis: Little Girl Blue," "Prophet’s Prey"), Kirby Dick ("The Hunting Ground"), Liz Garbus ("What Happened, Miss Simone?") and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi ("Meru") sit down to chat for a fascinating talk.
When discussing documentaries, it’s easy to forget that for all the stories about the tough production of "The Revenant," these filmmakers are also dealing with situations that could very easily turn dangerous.
"Well, yeah, I’m afraid. But I reached a certain point where I had to just stop being afraid, and I got rid of the security," Moore said, reflecting on confrontations he’s faced in public. "I couldn’t live that way anymore. It was difficult on our family. People around me were afraid they were going be the collateral damage. Finally, I just decided: I’m in my 50s, I’ve lived a good life. Nobody will say I didn’t make a contribution. And if it’s going to happen today, it happens today and you just live with it. And it was kind of liberating, that day when I decided to get rid of the security."
Berg also says that while making "Prophet’s Prey," she became a target of some of the fundamentalist mormons that her film depicts. "I hired a private detective. He was carrying a gun. I didn’t know what I was going to get into when I stepped into Colorado City. The minute we entered the premises, we were being followed by the God Squad. These guys in Suburbans, throwing water bottles at us and locking us into areas," the director revealed.
While critics may claim that these director’s films may be riddled with bias, they make no apologies.
"…we’re all telling stories. We’re not out there to tell every [aspect]. We’re not making Wikipedia pages on our subjects. We’re out there to tell a story about a subject that we care passionately about. And there are going to be many ellipses, because we have 100 minutes and we’re trying to entertain," Garbus said.
Check out the full talk below and share your thoughts in the comments section.