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Home » Recap: Navigating Ethical Dilemmas In Documentary Filmmaking

Recap: Navigating Ethical Dilemmas In Documentary Filmmaking

On July 12, 2023, Peace is Loud and DOC NYC co-hosted a day-long ethics workshop at the IFC Center in New York City. We highly value any opportunity to gather and collaborate in person—especially when we get to support documentary filmmakers!

This event brought together our Director of Film Impact & Innovation, Stephanie Palumbo, along with industry peers, directors, and producers to explore the ethical responsibilities of documentary filmmakers, using real-life case studies.

Stephanie shared a recap:

Throughout the day, we heard from industry thought leaders including Malikkah Rollins, Erika Dilday, Molly Murphy, and Sarah Wainio, then broke into small groups to workshop ethical dilemmas faced by filmmakers Margie Ratliff, Martina Radwan, and Sonia Kennebeck. The discussions were generative and the crowd was generous, offering resources and recommendations in a rare nonjudgmental space. The energy felt electric—nearly 100 filmmakers grappling with questions that brought ethics out of theory and into practice.

At Peace is Loud, we bridge that gap in our own work by practicing care—care for filmmakers, protagonists, and each other. We’re working with partners to develop resources to share our learnings with the field and specifically help the industry prioritize the health and safety of film protagonists as part of a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, we’re crafting new tools that can help filmmakers budget and fundraise and implement a care framework to support protagonists, organizers featured in the documentary films. Our goal is to help people who are approached by filmmakers to better understand the process and what questions to ask, and communicate the most common and pressing needs to funders. Over the coming months, we’ll share these free resources widely—stay tuned!

Header image: Stephanie Palumbo (L) and Sonia Kennebeck (R) on stage during the workshop.

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