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2017 Schedule

Based on a True Story: The Intersections of Documentary Film and Journalism
At the Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia, Missouri
March 1 — 3, 2017

Schedule subject to change. All sessions are held at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at The University of Missouri. For detailed descriptions of the individual panels, see below.

6:00 PM

Opening reception

George Caleb Bingham Gallery
7:00 PM Making Documentary Now! 

MU is proud to welcome Alex Buono and Rhys Thomas, the showrunners behind IFC’s hit series Documentary Now! The program, featuring Fred Armisen and Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live, sends up – and pays careful, thoughtful homage to – some of the best and best-known documentaries of all time, including The Thin Blue Line, The War Room and Grey Gardens. Buono and Thomas join an audience at the Rhynsburger Theatre for a screening and discussion of some of the show’s most creative episodes as well as supercuts of the documentaries that inspired them.

Moderated by Slate Senior Editor Sam Adams

Rhynsburger Theatre
10:00 – 11:30 AM Real Worlds: Reality TV, Tabloid Culture and President Trump

Time Magazine tells us that “Donald Trump Is the First True Reality TV President,” and the journalists at Vice offer to explain, “How Reality TV Made Donald Trump President.” Is it true? Can we draw a straight line from the Real Housewives to the White House? Reality TV pioneer Jonathan Murray sets us straight on a panel with the Washington Post’s Elahe Izadi and MU’s own Filmmaker-in-Chief Robert Greene.

Moderated by Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

Fred Smith Forum
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM In the Studio with the Ross Brothers

Documentarians often assemble a film from dozens, even hundreds of hours of footage. Have you ever wondered how a documentarian organizes all that material? Have you ever wondered whether true inspiration comes from disorganization? Bill and Turner Ross, the fraternal filmmaking duo behind Tchoupitoulas (2012) and Western (2015) invite you into their studio, faithfully reconstructed in the Spencer Room at MU’s Reynolds Journalism Institute. Take a closer look at this installation and be inspired.

Introduced by Brad Prager

Fred Smith Forum
12:15 –
1:15 PM
Lunch Lambert Room
1:15 –
2:45 PM
Whose Truth? Documentary Art in the Age of Alternative Facts

Call it what you will: poetic truth, ecstatic truth, or hyperbole – documentary filmmakers have long since played with the boundaries separating fact and fiction. But today’s documentarians can’t hold a candle to the daily reinterpretations of facts we encounter on the news and read on line. Do documentarians have even more obligation to be truthful where "alternative facts" carry the day, or are all bets now off? How do we fight for nonfiction subjectivity when everyone is craving objective truth? Filmmakers RaMell Ross, Brett Story, Yance Ford, and Damon Davis redraw the lines around fact and fiction in this timely and topical panel.

Moderated by Vox film critic and Sundance/Murray Center Fellow Alissa Wilkinson

Fred Smith Forum
3:00 –
3:50 PM
The Voice of Witness Project

Award winning journalist Jimmie Briggs is currently working on “The Ferguson Moment,” a Voice of Witness oral history project that turns to the people of Ferguson and explores why their community became a flashpoint for the civil rights movement following the death of Michael Brown Jr. in 2014. He will discuss the process of doing oral history, and how journalists go about finding people who want to tell their stories.

Moderated by Kamau Bilal

Fred Smith Forum
4:00 –
5:00 PM
The Art of Resistance

Journalists and filmmakers have been asking themselves what rights they have – or, rather, what rights they have left – in the current climate. How can reporters and nonfiction filmmakers communicate their stories at a time when powerful interests are controlling the flow of information? How can art and technology fight back against persecution and threats to our civil liberties? Erinn Clark, Josh Begley, and Loira Limbal discuss this pressing and pertinent issue.

Moderated by Field of Vision co-founders AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook

Fred Smith Forum
10:00 AM – 12:00 noon

Cinematography Master Class: KJ vs. Khalik

Filming nonfiction is no day in the park – it takes mad skills. In Cameraperson, cinematographer Kirsten Johnson showed us what it meant to spend years behind a camera, working with filmmakers such as Michael Moore and Laura Poitras. This BOATS session puts Johnson and radical filmmaker and photographer Khalik Allah in dialogue to examine the techniques required and choices nonfiction DPs face. Watch them work up close. This will be an interactive, one-of-a-kind experience that we’re calling “More-Than-A-Master Class.” Don’t miss it.

Moderated by journalist and film critic, Eric Hynes

Fred Smith Forum