DOCUMENTARY FILM AND REPRESENTATION
Open to all AFI DOCS passholders.
Documentary storytelling finds itself at a crucial inflection point around issues of representation. Long-held assumptions about who has the right to tell someone else's story; filmmakers' responsibilities to subjects; and the durability of traditional narrative strategies are being challenged. Through the medium of film, how do we talk about racism, poverty, violence and colonialism? How are filmmakers confronting their own privilege as they seek to take on injustice? How are individuals and groups being portrayed on screen? Leaning into this difficult conversation, a diverse group of filmmakers discuss the choices they make around issues of representation and the consequences for documentary and beyond.
Moderator: Dr. Sherri Williams
Raúl O. Paz Pastrana
Dr. Sherri Williams (Moderator) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communications at American University. As a professor and media researcher, Williams' work focuses on how marginalized groups, especially women of color, are portrayed in the media. Williams teaches journalism and storytelling classes as well as courses that examine the ways in which race, gender, class and sexual identity are portrayed in the media. Williams is now leading a study that explores how black millennials are affected by seeing images of fatal police brutality against black people on social media. Her work has appeared in Self, Elle.com, NBC BLK, Ebony, Essence, Heart & Soul and Upscale magazines.
Yu Gu is an LA-based filmmaker born in China and raised in Canada. She works in narrative and documentary film. Her first feature WHO IS ARTHUR CHU? premiered at Slamdance and was broadcast on AMERICA REFRAMED. Her work is supported by the Sundance Institute, ITVS, TFI, Firelight Media and Film Independent.
Jacqueline Olive's debut feature documentary ALWAYS IN SEASON was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019. Olive also co-directed the award-winning BLACK TO OUR ROOTS, which was broadcast on PBS in 2009. She was recently awarded the Emerging Filmmakers of Color Award from IDA and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and has received funding from the Sundance Institute, ITVS, Ford Foundation and Firelight Media.
Raúl O. Paz Pastrana is a Mexican immigrant filmmaker. His work intersects contemporary art, political documentary and visual ethnography to explore themes of belonging and alienation in immigrant communities. His films have screened worldwide. He is a TFI grant recipient, an IFP Filmmaker Labs fellow and a Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow.
Davy Rothbart is a journalist and bestselling author, Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker, creator of Found Magazine and contributor to NPR's THIS AMERICAN LIFE. His latest documentary MEDORA aired on the PBS series INDEPENDENT LENS and won a 2015 Emmy® Award. He's also the founder of Washington To Washington, an annual hiking adventure for city kids.