During this year’s Televisual Factual Festival, Procam worked with Televisual Media to create a series of round-table discussion panels, which addressed some of the current issues in documentary filmmaking. These sessions weren’t staged in front of an audience, but instead took place in a room at BAFTA with six fixed rig cameras monitoring the discussion. The camera feeds were mixed live by Procam and the hour-long discussion edited down to 30-minutes of highlights, as shown below.

The panel includes Lorraine Heggessey, Chair of the The Grierson Trust, Documentary Producer Director Toral Dixit, Filmmaker Brian Woods, Historian/Author/Presenter Bettany Hughes and Documentary Filmmaker Jill Nicholls. Here are a few choice quotes from the fascinating discussion:

“I take the very long view, as a historian, and the last time that I see genuine parity between men and women is around about 1,500BC. So we have 3,500 years worth of catching up to do, which is why we are in the state we are in today,” Bettany Hughes

“I was at HBO a few years ago and we had a discussion about who was going to do the commentary on a documentary we’d made called China’s Stolen Children. I was sitting there with Sheila Nevins and Nancy Abraham, who are the Executive Producer and the Senior Exec on this at HBO. We started putting names into the hat. I suggested a couple of actresses who I thought might be good, and Sheila said, no, no, it can’t be a woman, I don’t trust women… So it was a male only shortlist,” Brian Woods.

“I thought what Sue Perkins said on the night was so good; that women are just not being put forward. It’s not the Grierson Trust’s fault for not giving them prizes, they weren’t there to give a prize to,” Jill Nicholls.

“It still seems often to be the case that women are brought in to do so-called women’s subjects, apart from the news, where there are women who do everything. The same as black presenters are brought in when it’s going to be a subject about black history or something particular. Obviously what needs to happen is for women and black men and women to be used equally with white men as a voice who can talk about everything, not just about their speciality,” Toral Dixit.

Invisible Women: The Great Documentary Disappearing Act from Televisual Media on Vimeo.

Staff Reporter

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