I’ve been thinking a lot about short, journalistic docs. I am going to be taking a course with The National’s videojournalist Saša Petricic next month to get some hands-on doc experience, but I’ve never spent any real time thinking about how a short, journalistic doc is pieced together.
Naturally, I’ve been watching a lot of these types of videos where and when I can. Some are too “newsy” to be considered docs. Others are simply innane. But today I came across one that inspires me – it made an impact on me the way that I would like to make an impact one day.
THE OTHER BHUTTO, CBC The National, April 15, 2009
The subject of Adrienne Arsenault’s doc is Fatima Bhutto – daughter, granddaughter and niece of the Bhutto dynasty. She is estranged from her relatives who have ruled the turbulent nation of Pakistan, and witnessed the murder of her own father (she claims by Benazir Bhutto) as a child. Yet she is calm and determined to make and see change in her country. She fearlessly speaks about systemic corruption and the maltreatment of her fellow citizens (no water system in Karachi, no garbage removal) and of women (victims of rape are criminalized.) What’s further remarkable is that she is a beautiful young woman, well-spoken and educated who could succeed anywhere in the world – and she, faithful to her homeland, choses to stay in Pakistan even though she survives thanks to armed guards.
Admittedly, I never heard of Fatima before I encountered this video report, so this bit of documentary journalism achieved what successful docs should – enlighten, inspire, educate and provoke.