Meet Eric Daniel Metzgar director of THE REPORTER

Meet Eric Daniel Metzgar director of THE REPORTER, an official selection in the Documentary Competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Eric Daniel Metzgar
U.S.A., 2008, 90 min., color

As focused as this superbly conceived examination of The New York Times reporter Nicholas D. Kristof is on its subject, filmmaker Eric Daniel Metzgar has a much greater arena in mind in this multilayered exploration of journalism than just the work and impact of the Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist. That journalism, at least as we have known it, is undergoing a massive transformation is certainly no secret, but Metzgar amplifies this limited insight with a fully fleshed-out portrait of the importance of real news gathering in enabling democratic nations to function and illuminating a world in chaos. Tracking Kristof as he traveled during the summer of 2007 to the Congo to report on the conflict and desperate poverty besieging that African republic in an attempt to put this crisis on the international radar, as he did with his articles on Darfur, the film immerses us in a discussion of the ways this kind of reportage reaches the public, effects change, and creates a humanitarian response.

It is far too simple minded to see virulently opinionated blogging and brainless infotainment overtaking and defining the future of knowledge and understanding, but the crisis in journalism is real, and this sophisticated, analytical, and lyrically heartbreaking account should become required viewing for anyone who cares about the future of ideas.