The Power of True Stories to Drive Change
This week on On Story we’ll look at how true stories are told on the screen. From narrative films adapted from true events to documentaries that explore real individuals and incidents. We’ll talk with filmmakers and writers about the challenges behind balancing fact and fiction while staying true to the heart of the subject’s story. Kieran Fitzgerald is a writer behind several projects based on true stories. He wrote the screenplay for 2016’s Snowden which depicted the events of American whistleblower Edward Snowden and co-wrote the miniseries Wormwood which examined the mysterious death of scientist and CIA employee Frank Olson in 1953. In 2007, Fitzgerald wrote and directed the documentary The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez. The film, which is narrated by Tommy Lee Jones, investigates the killing of Esequiel Hernandez Jr. who was shot and killed by an active United States Marine near the US-Mexico border. The 1997 incident marked the first time an American civilian had been killed by an on duty military personal since the 1970 Kent State shootings. I recently spoke to Fitzgerald about the research required behind bringing true stories to the screen and films ability to highlight the emotional truths behind real events. Next up, screenwriters behind biopics and true-life narratives discuss the power that films have to drive change. David Rabinowitz, who won an Academy Award for co-writing BlacKkKlansman, Barbara Stepansky writer of Flint, and Doug Atchison writer of Brian Banks spoke with moderator Matt Dy at Austin Film Festival in a panel co-presented by Screen Craft and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.