documentary reports

Trevor McDonald Inside Death Row is a documentary based in Indiana State Prison. The prison houses people that have committed such crimes as murder, rape and drug dealing. The prison has a Death Row department which houses prisoners before they meet their fate with a lethal injection issued by the State. The documentary is informative and informs the outside world o what goes on behind the high walls of a prison and in this case death row. Trevor McDonald Throughout remains impartial and respects the views of even the most hardened prisoners. He shows sympathy for them and treats them with equal rights. This trait is important in the process of making a good documentary as they are create to tell stories, the truth and to inform the audience on a subject. By remaining balanced it doesn’t allow for biased content, it allows the viewer to form their own opinion on the subject matter.

Trevor asks such questions as “What is it like when one of your friends gets taken for execution?” This question is emotive and gives the viewer an insight into how these people feel about situations that are normal for this prison. using emotive questions like that allows the viewer to see the inmates as humans rather than just criminals. Trevor also asks one of the guards “Do you like any of these people?” The question seems like the instant answer should be “No” but the guard states that you can form rapport with the inmates as they are just human and have likeable traits “you can sometimes forget what these people are capable of”. Near the end of the documentary Trevor meets Fredrick Baer who is responsible for the murder of a 24-year old mother and her four year old daughter. Baer runs Trevor through the process he went through to commit this crime and during this Trevor leaves the role of the impartial reported and inputs himself into the interview “I’ve never believed in the death penalty myself. I’ve always been against it, and I probably still am. But when I think about what you’ve done, I begin to understand why people feel it should be the appropriate sentence for crimes like yours. Do you understand that?”.

Life in a Day is a documentary based around on a single day on earth, July 24, 2010. The documentary is a collaboration between YouTube and Tony Scott, Ridley Scott. The way its presented is people around the world upload there clips on that one day 24th July 2010 of what they’re doing. Th clips are then taken and edited together to make a documentary which documents the single day on earth. 

The idea behind the documentary is to display what is happening on that day from events such as animal slaughter, marriage proposals and cancer patients. The documentary is web 2.0 so all the content is formed by the community rather than an independent body. By covering issues such as life and death it answers the questions that people have been known to ponder over such as “I wonder if anyone else is going through the same situation as I am?” And the documentary answers those questions and gives hope to the people that thought they were alone. The film doesn’t just go from midnight to midnight but from birth to death. The film doesn’t have any narrater or presenter so all the clips you see allow you to create your own view on what is happening and how you interpret the film. The documentary is the first crowd sourced film to make it to cinemas. Crowd source is the process of creating a film using clips sources from a large group. This allows for a variety of clips ranging from amateur, low quality and high quality standard. doing this effects the way you see the film it enforces the point that its all crowd sourced clips that are very real and raw, what you see is what you get.

The VICE documentary, The Business of SOFEX was structured around telling the story of the arms market. SOFEX is an arms market held every two years in Marka, Jordan. Army generals travel from 56 countries around the world to see and purchase the latest weapons on the market.

The documentary remains mostly impartial throughout. This is shown by the host asking questions and listening to the answers rather than debating it and arguing with them. An example of this is “How hard is it to come and buy arms on the open market?” The host listens to the answer and replies with “Sure”. The host does leave the impartial position at times. He says “Jennifer does PR for General Dynamics and that must be the weirdest job for a soccer mom” He inputs his opinion and give you a slight idea that he thinks SOFEX is a strange event.

The documentary raises questions in the audience. These questions can be “Who are these weapons being used on?” It doesn’t answer this question as the host doesn’t interview the people buying the weapons. Another question and query raised is “How can army generals from around the world come together to buy weapons that they have used on each other in the past?” An ex Iraq war veteran explained how the Iraqi insurgents used the shells available to buy at SOFEX as IED’s.

I have an emotional tie to the film as it makes we angry that corporations revel in creating the best weapons on the market designed to cause the most damage possible. The weapons might be used for their given purpose, to prevent terrorism. But the collateral damage caused by these weapons can be seen as an act of terror in themselves.

The Tourists Guide to North Korea is a documentary created by Vice to give an insight into North Korea.

The documentary remains impartial through the footage shown but the host inputs his opinion throughout. The footage shown is real footage off what is happening and allows you to create your own opinion based from the images. The narrating to the clips allows for more explanation to the footage but the hosts opinion creeps in throughout clips. He explains along with the clips about what is being shown. “You can see that all this is choreographed for us coming”. Then he inputs his opinion saying “You cant eat any of the food, its just sludge”. Although the food may be sludge its an opinion. He could have described it as being of poor quality and not as it was described.

The documentary raises questions such as, why are they able live like this? Although the documentary covers the leaders ideology briefly it doesn’t answer the question in depth. However it was extremely difficult for them to gather quality research and results for the documentary as it is a censored state and questioning and high resolution images are not on the agenda. Another question is why don’t they want the rest of the world seeing their “perfect living” if its something to be proud of? The obvious answer is it isn’t perfect and they’re self conscious about it but i feel that the documentary didn’t cover this subject.

I have an emotional connection to this documentary as its sad to see human beings living in complete isolation from the rest of the world. They have no connection with any other country. The residents are indoctrinated from the age of two until the day they die. Forced to worship their leader. Children have hand picked careers for them that always link back to pleasing their leader. The documentary raises emotional awareness of what it is like to live in North Korea. The tourist trip in something that occurs only a few times a year and in the times between the workers wait endlessly for the next set of tourists. This can involve waiting in a tea shop for 10 weeks before anyone turns up. You can’t help but feel sorry for the residents of North Korea, they are missing out on any freedom available in the world without any known awareness of this happening to them.

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