Thursday, 20 October 2011

Fact VS Fiction at the London Film Festival

Tonight I've got tickets to the BFI London Film Festival. In previous years I have been up to see a Q&A with notorious director of cinematic headfucks Irreversible and Enter the Void, Gaspar Noe to find out if he is more dribbling madman or groundbreaking artist. Another year I saw the lovely creator of Wallace and Gromit, Nick Park to hear about how he got into animation. But this year I'm heading to the festival to hear 'a discussion on the line between fact and fiction with filmmakers from this year's programme'.

'Panellists confirmed so far include directors Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void), Asif Kapadia (Senna, Far North), Carol Morley (Dreams of a Life, Edge) and Marc Evans (Hunky Dory).' http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/events/other_events/1970

Kevin Macdonald is a bit of a hero of mine after Life in a Day.  I've banged on about it on this blog a couple of times now.  He's a great documentary maker but I'm not a massive fan of his fiction feature films like The Last King of Scotland.  I will be very curious to hear why he decides to shoot some films as documentaries and some as fiction films.



I'm hoping that the discussion may also touch on questions relevant to my PhD.  Why are so many recent horror filmmakers playing with the mock-doc format?  It seems like barely a month goes by without an addition to this sub-genre.  Most recently Apollo 18 took horror mock-docs into space and the upcoming Paranormal Activity 3 will likely show there is still high demand for films following this trend.

The director of Senna, Asif Kapadia, is also going to be there and I hear this is an excellent documentary.  It also ties into my interest in cinematic depictions of death.  Many horror mock-docs relish in killing the characters in front of and behind the cameras and presenting this as real footage.  This documentary presents the real footage of Senna's death, perhaps making it cinematic snuff.  Is real death something to include in films sold for entertainment?



Michael Moore has used the moment the second plane hit the WTC in Bowling for Columbine.  This was also a moment of murder.  Do documentary makers have more license to show the truth?  Even the truth of death?  Is it their responsibility to show reality?  Even the reality of death?  And are horror filmmakers capitalising on the increase of 'real deaths' in documentary and TV when making mock-docs?

Anyway it will be interesting to here from these filmmakers.  I hope the discussion will shed some light on 'what motivates the decision to present a story as documentary or fiction'.