Oh hello there.
Now that you’ve seen the film, you know that NUTS! leaves you with some skepticism and curiosity about what was and was not “true” in the story it presents. I have created NOTES ON NUTS!, a brand-new kind of documentary film appendix, to help you better explore those questions.
Debates about veracity in documentary film tend to be abstract. Filmmakers are often coy or anxious about the process by which they bend reality to create satisfying cinema, fearing that any admission of “manipulating reality” undermines our authority as truth-tellers. However, I believe the conversation would be pushed forward if documentary filmmakers were more transparent about that process with audiences.
This appendix is by definition unfinished and imperfect. I can’t really highlight every manipulation, or anticipate every question. My “truth value” categories are clumsy (whoops, I failed to develop a complete theory of knowledge!). But I offer it to you as an unusually concrete opportunity to consider the epistemological and ethical questions at the heart of nonfiction storytelling. I hope that this project will inspire other filmmakers to do similar things. Enjoy!
–Penny Lane (Photo credit: Albert Sanchez)