The documentary inspires a special feeling all its own in the film-viewer. Based on the simple idea of picking up a camera, pointing it at something and, literally, documenting it, it is, divorced from the artifice of script, actors and all the other trappings of fiction film, the most purely organic of film genres.
And yet within this truism lies one of the genre’s most maddening contradictions. Can a documentary truly be called representative of reality when we are only allowed to see what falls within the frame? What possible influence might the individual with the camera in their hand have on what takes place? Indeed, every film is made with intent to show the audience something, but if the filmmaker is also out to prove something, how can we be certain they are not manipulating the images to fit their objective, a question that has become all the more trenchant as the political documentary has exploded across the landscape of popular culture?
Regardless, this unique art form is an inspirational one, and IFVC President Bahman Maghsoudlou has worked hard to make sure that quality documentaries are a big part of the world of IFVC. Indeed, he himself began his foray into the world of the documentary in 1972 when he made Ardeshir Mohasses & His Caricatures, a short documentary that remains the only film in existence about this important Iranian artist, who died in New York in 2008.