Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College
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Contemporary documentary class hosts award-winning director

January 29, 2016

“There is always a deeper truth.”

Those were the words of Nick Berardini (pictured far right), the director, writer and producer of the contemporary documentary, “Killing Them Safely”. He joined Assistant Professor Chase Thompson’s contemporary documentary film class for a Q&A with filmmaking students on Thursday. 

His documentary examines Taser International, the company responsible for the worldwide sale of Tasers to law enforcement, and was released in November. It has since been named a Tribeca Film Festival Official Selection (Nominated Best Documentary Feature), Hot Docs Film Festival Official Selection, and a Sundance Selects.

He talked to the class about bias in the filmmaking process and urged them to be aware of their personal bias as they pursue their own documentary projects. “There is a bias in how you film, what you say is a reflection of you,” he said, urging students to consider the “ethical dilemmas of truth” because no documentary can be truly free from bias.

The class also explored trends in the documentary film industry including the growing popularity of episodic documentaries including “Making a Murderer.” They also discussed the need for and interest in “seeing people as real people not fictionalized version of people” and exploring “the complexity of human nature”.

“Journalism is best suited for information. Movies are completely different, they are about human nature and the question ‘Why do people do the things that they do?,’” added Berardini, who was a University of Missouri broadcast journalism major. There he learned to not give up, but instead to be persistent, when you need a source, he told the class.

When it comes to finding truth in interviews, he said, “Let them speak for themselves. Let them tell the story the way they want to.” 

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