Five hours with Raja: ethics and the documentary interview

McKessar, Anna Meredith
Lavranos, Eileen
Peters, Geraldene
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

This thesis is a study of a young woman coming to terms with her grief. It unpacks how an invitation to film an unusual and life-changing event developed into an opportunity to question the ethics of the interview. It examines how the intricacies of a trust relationship influence the very threads and textures of the resulting documentary. This paper is a partnership between a practical documentary project and a more traditional written discussion. The documentary Five Hours with Raja is weighted at eighty per cent of the final thesis and the written exegesis makes up the remaining twenty per cent. Together these two elements investigate the developing relationship between Claudia – the documentary’s key protagonist, and the filmmaker, investigating how their relationship has affected the style, method, content and even the fundamental story line of a documentary. It also discusses the consequential ethical considerations and dilemmas behind creative and practical decisions, investigating ways that a filmmaker can draw the participant into the process to allow a greater degree of ownership, a stronger voice and a more immediate sense of intimacy with the final audience.

Documentary , Interview , Ethics , Participant , Death , Baby loss
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