The controversy over HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” is part of a bigger debate that goes back a good century. Film scholars have been arguing about the reality, truth and objectivity of the documentary film since at least Robert Flaherty’s pioneering 1922 epic “Nanook of the North,” and probably all the way back to Thomas Edison’s “Sneeze” kinescope, according to International Documentary Association director Carrie Lozano.
Lozano was one of the panelists for “Truth Be Told? Documentary Films Today,” a discussion that brought together two rival schools as sponsors; the UCLA School of Law Ziffren Center and USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism combined forces to co-host the event Tuesday night on the UCLA campus.
Moderated by UCLA School of Law’s First Amendment expert Dale Cohen (pictured above, left), the panel also included powerhouse entertainment lawyers John Branca (above, center) and Howard Weitzman — both embroiled in the controversy over HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” in their roles representing the estate of Michael Jackson — along with veteran director Taylor Hackford (wife Helen Mirren was an interested observer) and USC Professor of Communications Christopher Smith.
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