The Crime Victim's Perspective

For a filmmaker, it's all about the story.  For crime victims, itís about their pain and loss. And when they try to collaborate it's often like the blind leading the blind.

Filmmakers explore victims’ personal tragedies in film and television production with no idea of their needs and concerns and little sense of how the final products may impact the victim and surviving families. Crime victims enter into agreements with production companies to make films and programs about their personal tragedies without understanding the process. As a result, the final product may be upsetting, infuriating or traumatizing. Knowing the right set of questions to ask is critical for crime victims if they want to understand the process, know what to expect, and come to terms with the degree of control they can (or cannot) have over the program about their victimization.

This section of the Filmmakers’ Forum website includes feedback from victims who have experience working with filmmakers. The Q & A section looks at questions that the victims we interviewed wished they had asked before they participated in the filmmaking process. We also provide a simple roadmap through the website’s legal section so that victims can find resources that address the rights they may have with regard to their personal stories. Examples of standard release forms and a short life story option are included.

Melissa Hook, Director of the Office of Victim Services, Office of the Mayor, District of Columbia.


The Roadmap: Know Your Rights

Victim Feedback

Q&A: Interviews with Crime Victims

Some Thoughts From a Survivor of a Homicide Victim

Broken Promises

On Film Options and Docudramas





Other Resources
Example Release Forms
  Appearance Release Form
[PDF Format]
  Materials Release Form
[PDF Format]
  Rights Option Agreement
[PDF Format]