Transcript: What is a documentary? | Apr 04, 2018

A caption reads "Chantal Braganza."

Chantal is in her thirties, with straight brown hair in a bob cut with side swept bangs. She wears glasses, a blue sweater with gray collar and a black blazer.

She says "Want to change the world? Or maybe just tell a truth that no one knows? Send us a DIY doc."

A caption reads "Hashtag DIYDoc."

Chantal says "Do-it-yourself documentary. But what is a documentary?"

Charles says "Wow, I've never even thought of that question."

Charles is in his thirties, with short curly brown hair in an afro and wears a black sweater.

Min says "What is a documentary?"

Min is in her forties, with long slightly wavy brown hair in a side part and wears a white long-sleeved T-shirt and a gray vest.

Lewis says "What is a documentary?"

Lewis is in his late twenties, with short light brown hair and wears a gray shirt.

Chantal says "I thought you would know."

The man with the afro laughs.

A caption reads "Min Sook Lee. Filmmaker, Migrant Dreams."

Min says "It's been increasingly difficult to define documentary and I think that's a good thing. I think a documentary is a subjective treatment of reality."

The caption changes to "Lewis Gordon. TVO Short Docs Contest winner 2017."

Lewis says "I think first and foremost, a documentary is a story. It's something that's true, it's something that's real, it's something that you find interesting, and it's real life."

The caption changes to "Charles Officer. Filmmaker, Unarmed Verses."

Charles says "It's not scripted material, but it is. You script an idea. You script and intention. You even think about locations you might be filming in. you set up the parameters but you're not writing the dialogue that happens inside or where the scene's going to go. The form itself is something where all the best stories exist."

Chantal says "What isn't a documentary?"

Lewis says "What is not a documentary is something that does not answer any questions, that doesn't ask any questions, that doesn't tell a story from start to finish. If you are just talking about your day that's not a documentary. But if you find a creative way to tell that story, that is a documentary."

Chantal says "The definition of a documentary is surprisingly elastic. But all you have to do is remember to tell the truth and you can achieve that by thinking like a journalist. Be curious, ask questions, get answers, and then ask some more. Get multiple points of view. And do your research."

Min says "There used to be this very dusty, traditional idea of documentary as truth. And as we become aware of the subjectivity behind the camera. It makes us aware that we need diversity of voices behind the camera."

Chantal says "It's not about what gear you have. It' about the story that you have to tell."

Chantal says TO FIND OUT MORE,

(music plays)

A caption reads "Produced by Matthew O'Mara and Chantal Braganza."

Watch: What is a documentary?