Episode 135

Published on:

24th Jul 2020

Race in the Documentary Filmmaking Community

Questions of race and who has the right to tell another person's or culture's or race's stories have recently been at the forefront of the documentary community's collective consciousness.

More than that, it's been the subject of recent debate and discussion, whether in industry-led panels, major publications, or social media.

Documentary filmmaker and TDL host, Chris G. Parkhurst, delves into this difficult, sometimes divisive discussion with two of documentary's own, Marjan Safinia and Grace Lee.

Topics Discussed

  • how Safinia and Lee came to collaborate on PBS' And She Could Be Next
  • overlook at discussions of race in the documentary community over the past few months
  • who has the right to tell a story and why
  • how people of color in the American documentary industry can have less access and resources than their white counterparts
  • How minorities are looking to reclaim and change the way that their stories are being told


Additional Resources

Teaser, And She Could Be Next



Continuing the Discussion with The D-Word



Today's episode is only the beginning of the conversation. Now it's time to have your voice heard, #doclifer!

So where can you do this?




The D-Word began in 1996 as a series of online journal entries by filmmaker Doug Block depicting the joy and angst of making and selling his feature documentary, Home Page. In the words of Mr. Block, "it was meant to inform, inspire, humor and depress the hell out of working or aspiring documentary filmmakers, or anyone else interested in the filmmaking process, for that matter!"

We had Doug on the show way back in EPISODE #105, where he discussed those early days working as an independent documentary filmmaker. And how this would lead him to creating the first incarnation of The D-Word.

The D-Word has long-since evolved into a virtual community and is now the largest, longest-running one of its kind, currently numbering more than 19,000 members from 147 countries. 

Its focus is now on hosting free discussions on documentary film and production and leading a documentary life. Sound familiar?

Get started with The D-Word today, by completing their free APPLICATION.


Sponsors & Thank Yous


° Free Music ArchiveSpecial Thank You to recording artist, Dlay who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to Free Music Archive today!



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About the Podcast

The Documentary Life
Documentary filmmaker & host, Chris G. Parkhurst, inspires & informs you on how to best live and lead your own doc life.
Have a passion for making documentary films? Want to learn how to best lead a documentary life? Join award-winning commercial and documentary filmmaker, Chris G. Parkhurst, and special industry guests as they candidly share their filmmaking stories, insights, and experiences, for all to learn how to best lead and live their own documentary dream lives.

About your host

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Christopher Parkhurst