The only problem is, this heart-wrenching scene of hope and anticipation from Davis Guggenheim's film, Waiting for Superman, never really happened. Guggenheim set it up.
then that’s what we will do.”
NYT City Room critic Sharon Otterman, "In 'Waiting for Superman,' a Scene Isn’t What It Seems", asks other documentary filmmakers what they think the scene.
Gordon Quinn, producer of Hoop Dreams:
“It’s like you think you are looking at someone responding to the future, and in fact, the emotion has to do with their disappointment, and that’s a very different thing.”
I asked Emmy Award-winning film maker (Navajo Boy) and Columbia College prof Jeff Spitz what he thought about the ethical side of documentary film making. He told me that it's quite common for film makers to insert re-enactments into their films. But, said Spitz, "viewers have every right to question the ethics and intent of how it's done."
If Guggenheim intentionally set out to manipulate the viewer, it raises important ethical questions and could cast doubt on the authenticity of the rest of the film as well.