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  • Lesson plan
  • Grades 11-12,
  • Grades 9-10

Honest Truths: Ethics in Documentary Film

Thinking Ahead

  1. What makes a film a documentary? How do you know you are watching a documentary and not some other media genre, such as a news report, “reality” show, or TV or film drama?
  2. What do you as a viewer expect from a documentary?
  3. What does it mean when we talk about a documentary film’s point of view? Who decides what point of view the film will represent?
  4. What obligation—if any—do filmmakers have to the subjects (people and issues) depicted in their films?

About the authors

Allison Milewski

Allison Milewski has developed media education resources for a range of award-winning filmmakers and national media organizations, including PBS LearningMedia, Independent Television Services (ITVS), Latino Public Broadcasting, HBO Documentaries, and Tribeca Film Institute. She is also the founder of the international media education program,