Documentary Projects

Documentaries including human subjects are sensitive matters.

Participants are not fictional characters, but people whose rights to privacy, informed consent, and fair representation are in your hands as a media maker. It is your responsibility to think through the potential risks associated with participation in and public exhibition of your documentary and to communicate these to subjects prior to recording.

All documentary projects should have a customized Informed Consent and Release Form in all languages you may encounter in your documentary’s specific setting/context. 

Projects involving protected categories of subjects (minors or any subjects unable to provide informed consent prior to shooting) or approaches/topics raising confidentiality or safety issues may not be permissible given the turnaround time on most student projects. These will need to be carefully reviwed by your faculty supervisor for approval prior to any shooting occurring. This means you will either need to plan well in advance of shooting, or pick a less sensitive topic or population for your documentary. Wen in doubt, ask your faculty advisor.