What makes honest film?
REBECCA RICHMAN COHEN’S FILM Code of the West jumps into the heated debate over Montana’s medical marijuana policy by following the legislature’s action on a bill to repeal the law.
To tell the story, Cohen navigated a charged landscape of facts, as well as fictitious information presented as fact.
According to Cohen, the filmmaker’s job is to untangle all of the elements and present each with the weight it deserves.
“You don’t present two things in the same way if one of those things is right and one of those things is wrong, and you have a responsibility as a journalist, or a filmmaker, or a story-teller to correct information that is factually incorrect.”
Watching the film, I saw the way she presented different, opposing viewpoints, and then backed up the facts with hard evidence.
An example of this came when someone opposed to the marijuana law said, on camera (and very convincingly), that teen marijuana use “skyrocketed” since the medical marijuana law took effect. In the next frame, Cohen presented a graph from an independent study showing that teen use actually decreased since the law was enacted.
Nothing blatant–no shouting rebuttal–just a simple graphic that showed the study’s findings.
This honest story-telling knocks the wind out of the sensationalists’ sails.
Video created by Eric Warren.