RISKY BUSINESS: LEGAL REVIEW AND DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING
Open to all AFI DOCS passholders.
As the overlap between independent documentary filmmaking and journalism continues to grow, we take an in-depth look at the process of pre-publication review, a critical but underexplored area of high-stakes journalism, and standard practice for news and broadcast organizations. Editors, lawyers, reporters and fact-checkers attempt to verify the facts and vet the implications of what is being presented onscreen. Independent documentary filmmakers, however, may lack the organizational support and resources for this process. In this timely panel discussion, we explore pre-publication review and do a deep dive into the legal review process with filmmaker Jenifer McShane, director of ERNIE & JOE, and lawyer Dale Cohen, who works with independent filmmakers and has vetted programs for the PBS investigative series FRONTLINE.
Moderator: Dana Merwin
Dana Merwin (Moderator) is the Program Officer in the Grants Department at the International Documentary Association. Prior to joining IDA, she was the production manager for Al Jazeera America's documentary unit and the Peabody Award-winning series FAULT LINES. She was the Director of Operations for Jupiter Entertainment in Los Angeles, where she oversaw delivery of docu-reality series to various cable channels. She has served as a production manager on numerous film and television productions.
Jenifer McShane is the director and producer of ERNIE & JOE, her third feature documentary. She spent years visiting the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to make her last documentary, MOTHERS OF BEDFORD, which reveals the impact of incarceration on incarcerated mothers and their children. Winner of the 2013 Director's Award at the Social Justice Film Festival, selected by the U.S. Department's American Film Showcase to tour internationally, it was broadcast on PBS stations nationwide as part of the AMERICA REFRAMED documentary series. McShane’s first film, A LEAP OF FAITH, follows a group of parents in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as they open an integrated school for Catholic and Protestant children. The film was broadcast on PBS and screened broadly on European television.