Documentary Filmmaker, Legal Spy... Or Both?

from the crossing-boundaries dept

We just wrote about a lawsuit involving a documentary filmmaker who was trying (but failed) to protect unused footage from being subpoenaed for a lawsuit involving Chevron's involvement in Ecuadorian pollution. It raised questions about whether or not a documentary filmmaker could be seen as an investigative journalist, and thus could be covered by a shield law. Apparently, documentary filmmakers involved in films in that general part of the world are expanding their job titles all the time. THREsq has the fascinating story of a "documentary filmmaker" who went to Nicaragua to interview people about pesticides used on Dole banana plantations, who recently admitted he was also on the payroll of a law firm that was looking to sue over problems with the pesticide:
"I decided the film wasn't going to change a lot in this world," Glaser said on the witness stand in a case involving six men claiming they were left sterile by pesticide exposure. "I decided to work with the firm and help with the legal process...I decided to use the film for that purpose."
So he was still making the film, it's just that he got financing from the law firm looking to use the evidence collected in a case. It's a neat trick, though the report questions if this will make people more nervous about talking to filmmakers. I'm not sure that's really true. If the film was being made anyway to "expose" problems with the pesticide, then the company was probably already afraid of talking to the guy, and those impacted by the pesticide are probably happy about both the movie and the lawsuit. Still, I find it an interesting type of "business model" for a documentary filmmaker to also be a law firm investigator...


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  1.  
    identicon
    trollificus, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 2:25am

    Wait! You mean the world's documentarians aren't neatly divided up into ignoble corporate shills and a saving remnant of campaigning truthtellers??

    Dang. I think I've been mislead. Again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:06am

    Why not?

    Documentary films are primarily for furthering an agenda anyway, so why would it not make sense to be investigators for lawyers too?

    There is little in those types of films that aren't intentionally selected or filmed to further only one side of the agenda anyway.

    little mikee, you should know this, you pretend to be a jounalist when your nothing more than a lobyist, you just aren't smart enough to deal with politicians so you sit here pouting and crying about this or that.

    Maybe someday you will grow up and actually create something of your own, then maybe you would understand why we have Intellectual Property Laws and why things aren't free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Colonel Panik, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:57am

    Documentary Filmmaker

    The power of the corporate world will be used to to stop all activities
    that are less than laudatory for those corporations. When your media
    outlet gets it's revenue from corporations you will not print anything
    that is negative about one of those corporations.

    When the Michael Moore's of this world can shoot a no budget, quick
    and dirty documentary film that raises fear in the hearts of the public
    and in the hearts of the corporations you know that such work will be
    stopped.

    The bloggers changed a lot of how elections would be run in 2008.
    That change was a call to arms for the people who always controlled
    our elections. So enter the lawyers and disrupter's to stop this
    silly nonsense that is only trying to get to the truth.

    Maybe the Colonel could suggest a guild or even a union for people
    who film, write, blog, or just report what they see? Or you can
    just hire a lobbyist?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Re: Why not?

    Documentary films are primarily for furthering an agenda anyway, so why would it not make sense to be investigators for lawyers too?

    Didn't say it didn't make sense. I said it was interesting. I thought it was fascinating. Are you really so desperate to attack me that you have to pretend I said something I didn't.

    you should know this, you pretend to be a jounalist when your nothing more than a lobyist

    I've never pretended to be a journalist at all, nor a lobbyist. I'm a guy with an opinion. As are you. So?

    Maybe someday you will grow up and actually create something of your own, then maybe you would understand why we have Intellectual Property Laws and why things aren't free.

    Yeah, I've only produced 40,000 written pieces of content over the last decade, a business model to support an entire company around it, and all without relying on intellectual property laws at all.

    Has it occurred to you that I have actually "created something of my own," and still don't believe that the IP laws we have are necessary. I recognize that you chose a bad business model for your business, but don't attack people for explaining basic economics to you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:31am

    Re: Why not?

    Wow! You went from "Somewhat snarky" to "being a dick" and then completely "ignoring reality"!

    You need to troll a bit better man, saying that Mike has not created something, ON THIS WEBSITE while also commenting on an article/blog post HE WROTE is just a little to obvious!

    Troll smarter! Not harder! If you left it at the imagery of Mike being a little girl it would just seem you are a jerk! Then you went to far! Just chill man, relax.

    Trolling is about applying the right amount of force, not attacking on a number of different subjects!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:33am

    I find it an interesting type of "business model" for a documentary filmmaker to also be a law firm investigator

    What would be more interesting is if the filmmaker's findings went against what the law firm wanted; Would it still be able to be released?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Seems like a perfectly valid (and amusing) business model to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Why not?

    Michial Thompson == douche bag

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 3:09am

    Re: Re: Why not?

    "Troll smarter! Not harder! If you left it at the imagery of Mike being a little girl it would just seem you are a jerk! Then you went to far! Just chill man, relax. " The guy posts pictures of his guns on his website, I think he has some adequacy issues.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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