Philosophy Ethics

Our Philosophy + Ethics

We Believe in Independence

Doc Society is independent and we believe that independent documentary makers make an essential contribution to society, culture and democracy. They are resilient and determined, they make their work because they believe its the right thing to do, even if it doesn’t make them rich or famous.

This means we believe that the teams should have editorial control over their film, not funders or censors.

We expect teams to take their ethical responsibilities to communities and protagonists as seriously as we take ours, and we know that, because they are independent, they can deliver on them.

We Believe in Accountability

A commitment to anti-racism, economic & climate justice is embedded in and informs all we do. We are motivated to keep challenging and reshaping our field to make it as accessible and representative as audiences deserve. We have also accepted the challenge to operationalise greater accountability in our own work.

  • Set a C02 cap every year to make sure our operations and travel plans balance the damage done in the pursuit of our mission.
  • Act responsibly to the filmmakers we don’t yet work with, particularly those whose journey to this work is the hardest.
  • Not always take the credit, because it’s not about us.
  • Be grateful for our jobs and not accept disproportionate compensation.
  • Try to make critique possible so that we can learn from our mistakes.

when things go wrong

Part of an accountability culture is not pretending that everything is perfect and that we don’t make mistakes. We do. And we hope to learn from them. Some examples:

  • Films: we have more deeply understood the need to decolonise documentary. We wouldn’t fund today some of the films and projects we did in the past. Or we would, but encourage them to be made differently.
  • Projects: not all our field building projects succeeded. We learned a lot from developing our school’s programme Doc Academy and our self-distribution platform Good Screenings - ultimately we weren’t the right people to run them.
  • Team: our original startup leadership team were 100% white and we took too long to work out how to power share more widely, but we did.
  • Operations: we have been victims of a sophisticated fraud. We were unlucky but we should also have prevented it. We hope to help others avoid one.

We believe in a good time

We believe that independent filmmakers need community to thrive.

This work is hard and that’s why we have always prided ourselves on throwing the best parties in town, even on a shoestring. We like to work hard behind a bar all night and clear up afterwards whilst our filmmakers get behind the decks to DJ.