The THR roundtable brings together Brit Nick Broomfield (“Tales of the Grim Sleeper”), Laura Poitras (“Citizenfour”), Alan Hicks (“Keep On Keepin’ On”), Ryan White (“The Case Against 8”), Rory Kennedy (“Last Days in Vietnam”), Orlando von Eisiendel (“Virunga”) and Steve James (“Life Itself”). Each filmmaker takes time to tell his or her story, from the perils of financing to the pressure they put upon themselves to deliver socially important work.
The smoothly-phrased Laura Poitras and eccentric Brit director–who in his film deliberately plays the fish-out-of-water card while chasing a murder story in South Central Los Angeles–come off especially strong, with zesty remarks about one another’s films.
Poitras: “I just want to say in terms of Nick’s film, I can’t believe it’s not on the front page of every newspaper in this country, what’s happening. That that many women could be killed and that the police would not investigate or tell the community that that was happening. So I think you performed the role of a journalist, and it’s extraordinary. It’s mind-boggling how the community has been failed.”
Broomfield: “I think something like Laura’s film affects everybody, and it’s so startling. It’s just so unbelievable that this is going on. I don’t know where one takes it to, but it’s something that has to be reacted to.”
Steve James weighs in: “What’s happened in recent years is that traditional media has sort of retreated from dealing with stories in any kind of depth. It used to be, a long, long time ago, that the networks actually did documentaries. Some really great stuff. I think documentary filmmakers are the ones now who it has fallen to, and they have seized the opportunity to really tell stories in depth in a way that they will have a lasting place and impact.”
Watch the full video below.