Avoid Exploitation with Intimacy


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Entering the fifth day of the event, the spirit of FFD did not diminish. On Wednesday, December 5th, 2019, FFD held a DocTalk panel with the topic Hacking Methods & Ethic Issue; “Intimacy and Ethics: Universal or Contextual?” at Kedai Kebun Forum. On this occasion, participants were invited to find out more about the obsession of intimacy that led to exploitative behavior. 

This panel was opened with Dag Yngvesson as moderator and was continued by three speakers, including: Shin Eun-shil (programmer of Seoul Independent Documentary Film Festival (SIDOF), South Korea), DS Nugraheni (filmmaker, Indonesia), and Tonny Trimarsanto (filmmaker, Indonesia).

Tonny revealed that as filmmakers, we must become an integral part of the film. It is indeed difficult to win the trust of the subject until there are no more restrictions. The problem that arises is: will the intimacy lead to exploitation?

The person who deserves to first watch film is the subject. If the subject doesn’t give his/her approval, the scene has to be changed. Even so, Nugraheni has never encountered such a problem. It should be the filmmaker’s responsibility if there are any problems regarding or experienced by the subject.

Meanwhile, according to Shin, ethical issues are caused by a special relationship between the subject and the filmmaker. It’s not only about getting authorization for filmmaking and distribution. Ethical issues are usually rooted in the process of making films.

“If a problem arises from the film and is ignored, then this could be called exploitation,” said Nugraheni.

As long as we still have a good relationship with the subject, there is no problem. Intimacy will develop when there is trust. If the relationship is intimate, exploitation won’t occur because of the bond of trust between filmmaker and subject.

Written by Dinda Agita Dewi

Translated by Shiela M. Larasati