The truth of images 

A discussion about the boundaries of documentary film

Images for documentary film only show a fragment of the truth – they are also created, constructed and elaborated. Through design techniques such as cropping, selection, sequence, they inevitably reshape reality.  But in contrast to a fictional image, the audience expects the author to depict reality – at least the subjective view of it. The filmmaker bears the responsibility for the trust of the audience – an audience that quite often wants to believe that it is witnessing an authentic depiction of reality. With the new techniques of image processing in the moving image, new narrative possibilities in documentary filmmaking emerge. But this also confronts us with ethical challenges in the interaction between makers, clients and audiences. The open source Content Authenticity Initiative has developed technical solutions to track image manipulation in press photography, from shooting on location to release.The question remains: Do we need such control possibilities for the moving image as well?  How do documentary filmmakers deal with these new possibilities?

Anton Knoblach, Product Marketing Manager @ Adobe
Prof. Beatrice Babin, University of Television and Film Munich
Santiago Lyon, Head of Advocacy and Education – Content Authenticity Initiative @ Adobe
Phie Ambo, Director – Viola Lucia Film
Fatima Abdollahyan, Commissioning Editor, BR
Birgit Gudjonsdottir, Cinematographer

Prof. Michael Leuthner, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences


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A livestream of the event is available directly on the DOK.fest München homepage. Registration is required for active participation and to ask questions.

The event will be held in English.


  • Thursday
  • 17:00
  • @home
Fatima Abdollahyan
Commissioning Editor (BR )

Fatima Abdollahyan studied political science in France and Germany and graduated from the WestminsterUniversity London with a MA in International Relations. In 2009, she graduated from the University of Television and Film Munich with her film KICK IN IRAN which premiered at Sundance and was shown at over 30 international film festivals. Her film FREEDOM BUS premiered at the Filmfest Munich in 2014 where it was awarded twice. Currently, Fatima works as commissioning editor for the documentary department of BR.

Phie Ambo
(Viola Lucia Film)

Phie Ambo (born 1973) was trained at the National Film School of Denmark, graduating as a documentary film director in 2003. Famous for her feature length documentary films true to the tradition of poetic, personal and cinematic language, Ambo deals with essential topics such as family relations, love, creative processes and artificial life. Phie Ambo has directed a number of award-winning films for the cinema, including major works such as Family (2001), Gambler (2005) Mechanical Love (2007) and Free the Mind (2012). In recent years Ambo has been especially interested in pursuing work of a more thematic nature, and this in the form of a trilogy focusing on the relation between science and human existence. Phie Ambo is a member of the Academy documentary branch.

Beatrice Babin
Professorin Lehrstuhl Montage (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München)

Editor (in Berlin and Munich) + Chair for Studies in Philosophy and cinema, at Munich (Germany), with a degree thesis about Federico Fellini: the clown as a shape at the border between life and death. She lived many years in New York and in Africa, and is an editor since 2000. She has worked with Emily Atef, Volker Koepp, Micah Magee, Wael Shawky, Michael Klette, Cordula Kablitz, Wim Wenders, Markus Imhoof, and many others, who helped her to develop her sensibility. She is member of the German Film Academy and of the BFS (German Editors Association). Since 2020 Chair: Film Editing, HFF Munich.

Birgit Gudjonsdottir
Kinematographin (Birgit GUDJONSDOTTIR)

For further information please switch to the German page. 

Anton Knoblach
Product Marketing Manager Video, Central Europe (Adobe)

I'm a Product Marketing Manager at Adobe looking after Creative Cloud's video segment in Central Europe. Before joining Adobe, I was a filmmaker myself and am very looking forward to great conversations with you.

Prof. Michael Leuthner

For further information please switch to the German page. 

Santiago Lyon
Head of Advocacy and Education (Adobe)

Santiago Lyon is the Head of Advocacy and Education for Adobe’s Content Authenticity Initiative. Previously Director of Business Development for Adobe Stock he has more than 35 years of experience in photography as an award-winning photojournalist, photo editor, media executive and educator. 2003-2016 he was a Nieman Fellow in journalism at Harvard University before being named Director of Photography at the Associated Press. Under his direction the AP won three Pulitzer Prizes for photography as well as multiple other major photojournalism awards around the world. Lyon serves on the boards of directors of the Eddie Adams Workshop, the VII Foundation, the RISC journalism safety organization and SALT NYC, an organization using photography to support underserved high school students in New York City.