Should Documentaries Aim To Address Larger Issues About People?

Published: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 5:12pm
Updated: Friday, February 24, 2017 - 5:18pm

In 2006, Al Gore’s documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" largely introduced the country to climate change and its effects. In 2004, Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me led to McDonald’s removing that option from their menus.

But in the last several years, documentary films that have been nominated at the Academy Awards haven’t been so much about addressing these big issues but about people. So is this the rise of the biopic?

That’s the argument laid out in a recent column in The Economist, and, since it’s just days before the Oscars, we thought we’d dig in a bit.

Is the idea here that documentaries should aim to address some kind of larger issue? That’s what’s being argued here. But not everyone thinks it’s so clear cut.

So, I spoke with Simon Kilmurry more about this idea. He’s the executive director of the International Documentary Association, and he’s been in the documentary world for two decades.

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