Ask the experts: What is a documentary?

Jane Jankovic attempts to answer a familiar brain-tickling question, what is a documentary?

A confident glance from a video camera operator engaging eye contact with her subject during filming.

Jane Jankovic, TVO’s Executive Producer for Documentaries, attempts to answer a rather difficult question, what is a documentary? It’s a wide-ranging query because docs come in all different shapes, sizes, and storytelling modes, so it can be hard to pin down what this genre truly is.

Jane’s thoughts:

  • A documentary is a true story,
  • It captures the times in which we live and can become a time capsule,
  • And documentaries also shed light on an issue that we care about.

You can also see this video where filmmakers Min Sook Lee, Charles Office, and Gordon Lewis attempt to answer the same brain-tickling question.

You can also view past entrants of the Short Doc Contest on

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