biscotti.jpgA controversy is erupting over the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's rules regarding reenactments in documentaries. This year's Oscar winner for Documentary Short, Bobby Houston and Robert Hudson's Mighty Times: The Children's March, featured scenes staged in front of vintage cameras and shot on distressed stock, blurring the lines between fabricated and archival footage. These techniques are not exactly unheard of in documentary filmmaking, but apparently the fact that the filmmakers did not specifically mark the recreated scenes as reenactments has caused some confusion. In their defense, the filmmakers claim that no more than 10 percent of the finished film contains the recreated footage; but producer Jon Else, who screened Mighty Times at the Academy's request, says the ratio of recreated-to-real appears to be more like 50-50. Houston says he's proud that his documentary has caused confusion, likening his filmmaking process to that of - no, wait for it - making biscotti. "We make a classic documentary using the archival record. We then make another layer of film. We bake the cookie twice, like a biscotti. That second layer of film fills in the gaps, and what you end up with is a seamless telling and definitive telling of unknown chapters from civil rights history." The New York Times has much more on this story.
categories Awards, Cinematical