Perusing my rss feed today, I came across an interesting scanned article over at Jennifer Venditti's Billy the Kid blog. First, if you've been lurking around Cinematical Indie, it's no surprise that I love Venditti's feature documentary debut. I reviewed the film from Hot Docs, have mentioned Venditti in a few posts, and had a chat with her about her take on indie film. Now she's got a Filmmaker Magazine article up, which was written by Arne Johnson the co-helmer of another favorite 2007 Hot Docs film, Girls Rock!

In the piece, Johnson tackles the extreme pressures documentary filmmakers face when it comes to the troubles of truth. He cites his own struggles with the kick-ass tykes in Rock!, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's challenges with Jesus Camp, and Venditti's struggles with Billy criticism -- focusing on the Variety review I posted about in May. It hits a lot of bases, from the need to edit quotes in interviews, or be faced with a terrible-in-text sea of "ums" and awkwardness, to the discussion of whether documentarians taint their source material, or just present a truth that some viewers aren't appreciative of.

Johnson includes a quote from Judy Irving about subjectivity that I found particularly interesting: "When someone throws that at you, like that your film does not have journalistic integrity, or it's not objective, what they're really saying is "I don't agree with you. My subjectivity is different from your subjectivity and I wish you had portrayed what I feel about the subject rather than what you feel." It's a worthy thought -- complaints always come from those who disagree, so do those who agree turn a blind eye to subjectivity, or think that a film covers the bases? And overall, what do you think of this whole argument over truth, subjectivity, and documentary filmmaking?