How do they get away with it. at

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Documentary Techniques

Documentary Techniques
-- Discuss issues facing documentary production.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 18th, 2009, 01:01 AM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 25
How do they get away with it.

Im new to all the legal side of documentaries and filmmaking so they could be a simple answer Im not seeing.

The question is how does Sacha Baron Cohen get release forms from people in films like Borat and Bruno.

Take the scene where Borat enters a priests home and calls a prostitute to come round. How or why did the priest consent to a release form. I can only see 4 possible answers. 1 they got the release form signed before they started the fun and games, 2 the priest was in on the joke from the start, 3 they didnt worry about a release form, 4 after they played the joke they gave the priest a lot of money to sign a release form. I have heard that the producers of the films have been being taken to court, but I dont know the circumstances around this,

The second question is how can they incriminate people that have committed crimes when there is no way the person being filmed would ever consent. There a few programs that specialize in tracking people who have robbed or conned people and they go up to them and ask them why they did the crime and expose them. There is no way you can say to the criminal, oh can you just sign this release form as we want to incriminate you on national TV. And there is no way after you have incriminated them that they will sign a release form. So how does that work.
Rog Mogale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #2
Regular Crew
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 101
I've never given it a lot of thought but it's an interesting question. You could also ask why are people prepared to submit their embarrassing complaints to millions on TV, when they were too shy to see a doctor?

I think with your second question the subjects tend to be repeat offenders and the reporter makes direct reference to previous offences and then asks "are you doing it again?"

I admire the reporters' bravery in tackling some pretty heavy-weight criminals.
Six out of seven dwarves are not Happy
Ray Barber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2009, 05:04 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Regensburg, Germany
Posts: 2
Borat and Bruno

pretty sure this is a movie with paid actors so the consent is there
Mark R. Thompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2009, 12:09 PM   #4
Inner Circle
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,460
You'd be surprised what people will sign. Years ago I was the Program Executive on a "Cops"-like show and I asked the producers how they got people to sign the release forms and they just shrugged and said, "we don't know why they do, but they do." Often they think it's a chance to start over or make things right or help other people avoid the problems they got into.

Sidenote: the "victims" in Borat and Bruno are not actors. Some were not happy at how they are portrayed on film and a couple, IIRC, sued after the release of Borat even though they had signed releases.
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
Adam Gold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2009, 10:10 AM   #5
Major Player
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Denver/Vail Colorado
Posts: 254
with Borat/Bruno there have been several law suits from people who had signed release froms thinking they were participating in legitimate documentatries. In every case the release from allowed the producers to use the footage in any way they chose.
Peter Ralph is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5th, 2010, 07:25 AM   #6
New Boot
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 16
It's a combination of all of the above. If you google for this, you'll find some illuminating articles about this.

Some of the people in his films actually are just actors. Others have been duped into signing release forms that claim to be for (for example) a Belgian television news show, but they don't realize that the contracts include the right to use the footage in any production in any way. A lot of the people Cohen makes fun of are just eager to be on TV and jump at the chance for any exposure.
Alan Yu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 17th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #7
New Boot
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 13
I think he probably gets the releases before he shoots. But if people aren't in on the joke and think Cohen's really a culturally-inept guy from Kazakstan, it probably never crosses their mind that they'll be the ones made fun of, because the television host is so ridiculous.

You should know that he has about a dozen "fake" production companies through which he does a lot of the legal work.
Steve Childs is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Documentary Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:17 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network