“To be Black is the greatest fiction of my life. Yet I’m still bound to its myth.”
The filmmaker and photographer RaMell Ross shares this excerpt from an artist statement in a conversation with Jason Fox, the editor of nonfiction journal World Records, in a new audio series called Trust Issues. Produced by World Records, the series explores how images can both bring us together and alienate us from each other. The first episode, featuring RaMell, focuses on the historical role of nonfiction cinema in teaching us to see, inhabit, and police race. How do documentaries both reflect and actively reshape the lived experiences of people of color?
Last week, at the Camden International Film Festival in Maine, Devika moderated a panel discussion with Jason, RaMell, and Milisuthando Bongela (director of CIFF selection Milisuthando) expanding on some of the core ideas of the series—including the responsibilities of the maker, the critic, and the viewer in how nonfiction images construct and reinforce ideas of racial difference. Listen to the end for a surprise cameo from the filmmaker Kirsten Johnson!
P.S.: This conversation was recorded live with an audience. Please excuse the occasionally spotty audio quality!