Webinar: Pro­tagonists and ethics in a docu­mentary film

Picture from Elina Talvensaari's film Neiti Aika

The protagonists of documentaries are real people. As a result, certain ethical issues are always present in filmmaking, whether or not they are deliberately considered.


What is the position between the director and the protagonist? Is it even possible to predict how the film is going to change the lives of the protagonists or the world around them? Are there situations where it is legitimate for a filmmaker to mislead his or her protagonists? Does real life settle into the frame of the story without any problems?


The seminar discusses these issues through lectures and case study examples.


The aim is to sharpen the reflection on the ways of presentation and the relationship between filmmakers and protagonists.


The keynote speaker of the seminar will be Timo Korhonen, who also has a PhD on the ethics of documentary film. As an international guest, the seminar will welcome the Danish film editor Niels Pagh Andersen, who recently published the book Order in Chaos. Case studies will be presented by Finnish documentary directors: Iiris Härmä, Mina Laamo, Elina Talvensaari and Sami Kieksi. Maija Hirvonen and Marjaana Mykkänen will act as moderators of the event.


The seminar is organized in collaboration between The Finnish Documentary Guild, Women in Film & Television WIFT Finland, DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival and Nordic Culture Point. The seminar will be held on Tuesday the 1st of February 2022 from 11:00 to 16:30 (lunch break in between)


The seminar is primarily aimed at professionals in the film industry. As an online event it is free of charge and open to anyone interested in the topic.


You can join the seminar and find updated information in the Facebook event:



We ask you to sign up for the event through this link by 1.2. 10:30:



The seminar will be recorded and everyone who registered will receive a link to the recording.


The languages of the seminar are Finnish and English. The presentation of Niels Pagh Andersen will be in English. The presentations of the rest of the speakers and the closing discussion will be in Finnish.


The seminar is organized with the support of AVEK.




11.00 Kati Juurus, Artistic Director of DocPoint: Opening words

11.05 Timo Korhonen: An ethically sensitive profession

11.50 Niels Pagh Andersen: The Inevitable Dilemma (in English)



12.35 Lunch break


Case studies


13:30 Iiris Härmä: Exposure sensitive – the white man in Africa

14.05 Mina Laamo: The balance between disclosure and protection


14.40 Break


14.55 Elina Talvensaari: Questions about a deceased protagonist

15.30 Sami Kieksi: Trust between the director and the protagonists

16.05 Final debate: Is there a need for an Ethical Code of Instruction?

16.30 End of the seminar

Upcoming events

All events