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Dangerous Docs! When the Subject Bites Back

#sxsw #dangerdoc

Documentaries have never been more influential. So no surprise that they are increasingly targeted-- both before and after their making-- by subjects who don't like their revelations.

Whether you’re facing big corporations (Crude, Bananas!), government agencies (Gasland, The Oath), or the bigots in your webisode audience (Black Folk Don’t, Awkward Black Girl, Tropes v Women), it’s time to learn how to deal. Learn from experts who've dealt with it!



MODERATOR Patricia Aufderheide Professor

Patricia Aufderheide is University Professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. and co-director of the Center for Social Media there. She is the co-author with Peter Jaszi of Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (University of Chicago Press, July 2011), and author of, among others, Documentary: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007). She has been a Fulbright and John Simon Guggenheim fellow and has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival among others. She has received numerous journalism and scholarly awards, including the Preservation and Scholarship award in 2006 from the International Documentary Association, a career achievement award in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association, and the Woman of Vision Award from Women in Film and Video (DC) in 2010. Aufderheide serves on the board of directors of Kartemquin Films, a leading independent social documentary production company, and and on the editorial boards of a variety of publications.

Parker Higgins Activist Electronic Frontier Foundation

Parker Higgins is an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, specializing in issues at the intersection of freedom of speech and copyright, trademark, and patent law. He previously lived and worked in Berlin, Germany.

Parker studied at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, where he developed a concentration of "Creativity, Freedom of Speech, and Intellectual Property." While at NYU, he served on the board of Students for Free Culture and as the president of its local chapter.

Nonso Christian Ugbode Dir of Digital Initiatives

Nonso Christian Ugbode is a writer, producer and web/media conceptualist. He works as the director of digital media for the National Black Programming Consortium in Harlem, NY where he oversees content and style for NBPC’s website.

He also manages in-house production of content and e-advocacy for NBPC, including oversight of the web series "Black Folk Don't". As a producer and filmmaker his recent works include Colored Frames a film about black painters, currently in distribution by American Public Television and He is also co-executive editor at, a satirical socio-political commentary project. He received his BFA in Film & Television Production at New York University.

Suzan Beraza Dir Reel Thing Productions

Born in Jamaica and raised in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, social and environmental issues pervade Suzan's work. Her films have appeared on National Public Television and on the Documentary Channel, at Lincoln Center, and at many festivals. Her last film, BAG IT, was honored as a finalist at the Puma Creative Impact Awards in Berlin, and has been televised in over twenty countries. Her current project, URANIUM DRIVE-IN, is a recipient of Sundance Institute and Chicken and Egg funding and was featured at Good Pitch and at Hot Docs Pitch Forum.

Michael Donaldson Partner Donaldson and Callif

Michael C. Donaldson is an entertainment attorney who has been fighting for independent filmmakers for over thirty years. The December 2011 ABA Journal dubbed him the “’legal Obi Wan Kenobi’ and fair use guru of the documentary film set.” As President of the International Documentary Association, he negotiated with the cable networks to prevent the wholesale migration of credits from the screen to the internet by organizing and leading the Documentary Credit Coalition. He served on the Advisory Committee for the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Stanford Fair Use Project. He also serves as General Counsel to Film Independent (home of the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival) and the Writers Guild Foundation. He negotiated with insurance companies to offer fair use riders on the E&O insurance policies which allowed many films to be made under the fair use doctrine. He helped draft the Rome Resolution to harmonize Fair Use across the European Union. He filed with the Copyright Office, argued, and won an exemption to the DMCA; allowing Documentary Filmmakers to rip DVDs in order to gain access to public domain material and assets to be used in their documentary pursuant to fair use. He also filed Amicus briefs in various courts in support of filmmakers faced with issues concerning the community.

In addition, he also wrote Clearance & Copyright (used in 50 film schools and winner of three national book awards) and three other books and many articles. He is also the co-author of The American Bar Associations’ Legal Guide to Independent Filmmaking.

Michael is an avid skier, world hiker, and award-winning photographer. He won a gold medal at the 1998 Senior Olympics for Parallel Bars and a silver medal on the rings.