Question by getshorty75: Is this subject matter appropriate for a documentary?
Hi all. I’m thinking about writing, filming, directing, and producing a documentary about my decision to leave the United States and migrate to Canada, with the goal of becoming a Canadian citizen. I posted this question here because I would like to get some insight from anyone out there with an opinion – is someone’s decision to leave the country of his or her birth an appropriate general subject for a documentary? Some documentaries focus on trifling matters and generally are not interesting. I’m about to sink a lot of money and time into this project so any insight anyone might have would be appreciated, even if it’s negative. I like to hear both sides of the story. I was going to begin with the historical, social, political, and economic factors that shaped my ancestry in Philadelphia’s working-class, Irish-Catholic neighborhoods and then, using historical references, show how poverty, alcoholism, and disenfranchisement created GENERATIONS of dysfunctional families… my idea for the project is to make it historically and socially relevant without turning it into a half-assed pirate of MTV real-world or some other obnoxious reality show. So, again, the question I’d like a response to… Is a documentary about someone’s decision to leave the country of his/her birth for another country relevant and worth watching?
I wanted to explain my story – my decision to migrate – using historical relevance as opposed to merely glossing over important background information. In order for me to explain the reason(s) why I want to immigrate, I need to explain my family. And to write them off as crazy alcoholics without giving a historical perspective on why they are the way they are would be juvenile and uninformed. But I appreciate your point and obviously I wouldn’t focus too much on early-20th Century South Philadelphia.
Answer by salutejonny
The decision to migrate anywhere is likely not an easy one- especially in a place loaded with patriotism like the USA. I think telling your story will be a great service to those who are struggling with the same decision. Furthermore, a complete exposure of the migration and citizenship process would be of great interest to many people.
However, what you’ve described here sounds like two documentaries. The development of your neighborhood and it’s current dysfunction is a good idea for one documentary, just as the migration process is a great idea for a documentary. It would be way too much content for just one film.
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