Friday, February 22, 2008

Documentary Film Partners and The Poughkeepsie Tapes

So, sometime this year (I believe) the Documentary Film Partners will be releasing tapings of a serial killer's stalkings and murders, known as The Poughkeepsie Tapes. It'll be the actual footage of how the he stalked and murdered his victims, shot by the killer himself. Click on the title for a link to the official page, where they have the trailer for the video.

This is the message given by the Documentary Film Partners:
"Documentary Film Partners is a new, independent filmmaking collective looking to develop and produce hard-hitting documentary programming with unflinching dedication to the facts.

The Collective, as we call it, is made up of both student and veteran filmmaking professionals who strive to teach and learn from one another while producing a style of filmmaking rare in today's festivals. This brand of collaboration is in the DNA of our company, and every film we develop and produce.

Our independent spirit drives us to tell stories that shock audiences out of their comfort-zones. This isn't your prime-time news magazine, expose fare, but rather a startling view of the world as it is. Sometimes, the world at its worst.

The DFP promise is to deliver audiences film experiences that change them forever. Films that awaken the mind, inspire the heart, and even anger the soul. No subject is off-limits, nothing is sacred. Documentary Film Partners is committed to this promise, and we believe it is our responsibility to produce films that achieve so much more than entertainment."

What's your reaction to this, based on a ToK standpoint?
Is releasing such material moral/ethical?
Is it a necessary part of knowledge?
What purpose does it actually serve?
(I don't care if you answer these questions; just comment in general...)


Mr. Pseudonym said...

My question would have to be:
How much of any of it is real?
Is it actually about a serial killer (which has almost no documentation on the interwebs other than in relation to the movie), or is it not a real documentary? Yes the website for the film says that it is real. But the people who do those things also created

katrina337 said...

True. We don't know if it is real, as they claim.
How does the effect of the film differ if we know that is real as opposed to if we know that it's not?

Rick_Andrews_Director said...

I think the film is fictional, because I think it is actually against the law to screen actual killings of people (Also known as snuff films, at least I think that's what they're called). It's okay if their "fake", but not if they are real.

But let's assume that it is real, it would definitely be a lot like the Blair Witch Project in that sense. Is it ethical to show such depictions on film? I myself do not like horror films for this reason, because they seem to only show how strong evil is give the implication that there is no hope, I just don't like that environment.

But is it ethical? I honestly can not answer that question. My morals do not necessarily disapprove of such a thing, but they definitely do not support it. Others may argue that it is art and we need to accept it as such, while others will say to show such grotesque images to people for the reasons already stated.

I'm going to have to think about this one, because I just don't know if it's ethical or not...


katrina337 said...

Well, assuming it's legal and nonfictional, how is it unethical?

No one is harmed in the actual showing of the film, and the people who are killed were slaughtered anyway. Could it work for the common good? Could it somehow alert people to how serial killers function, and keep people from being killed?
It's not infringing on autonomy, people can still choose whether or not to view it.

But if it's not legal, does that change if it's ethical or not? If it raises awareness or somehow helps people, is it unethical to keep it illegal, and keep it from the public?

Honestly, ethics was the first thing that I thought about when I saw this, too. I don't think it's actually unethical, even though it seems like it would be. How could that effect how people will take this movie?

If it is fictional, as I think we can assume it is, what do they gain from presenting it as real?