If you thought that the credibility issues raised by the controversial documentary 'Catfish' could have been solved if they'd opted to abandon the Internet romance and instead head down to the bayou to film actual fish, we have bad news for you.
According to a new book by longtime wildlife filmmaker Chris Palmer, the footage in nature documentaries isn't any more legitimate than, say, Joaquin Phoenix rapping in the studio with Diddy.
Palmer's book, 'Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom,' reveals a number of ways in which animals and audiences have been manipulated by filmmakers. For instance, jellybeans and M&Ms are often placed inside animal carcasses to draw scavengers -- "scary" animals that may, in fact, have been rented from game farms. Another example: One documentary crew buried a whale skull at the bottom of the ocean and then filmed it. Because of such tactics, Palmer says that there are three main problems with nature documentaries: They deceive audiences, they harass audiences, and they sensationalize the truth, all of which jeopardizes the conservation message of the work.
Naturally -- no pun intended -- Palmer's book has antagonized some of his peers, including fellow documentarian Erik Nelson, who Palmer cites as being a pioneer of the "animal attack" genre. Nelson told the Washington Post that Palmer brings "a sort of sanctimonious smugness to his book that sets my teeth on edge."
But as Moviefone has learned in an exclusive interview, Palmer is undeterred by the criticism. Keep reading to learn what he has to say about how long this has been going on, who gets it right, and why you shouldn't live every week like it's shark week.