Another News Story review: Director Orban Wallace’s documentary asks the question; What happens when the news cameras turn off?
Another News Story review by Awais Irfan.
“It’s been quite a day here at London Fashion Week” and “We’ve got some breaking news out of Miami, Justin Bieber has been arrested on a number of charges” are just a couple of the “breaking news” headlines that seem to be taking priority over anything about refugees. Big stories, yes. But one might think that’s all that is happening in the world, giving the urgency the media devotes to such seemingly trivial news in the larger scheme of things. Director Orban Wallace’s hard-hitting documentary is one that tries to put some important news in the light: the refugee crisis. And it meets refugees along the way, as well as the journalists trying to fight the good fight and keep it in the headlines.
The film opens in the Serbian-Hungarian border, in the Roszke refugee camp. Here we meet NBC journalists Johnny and Bruno, who are closing our an intro piece for a bigger report on the refugee situation. The film then heads to the island of Lesbos, where reporters try to capture what they can on the thousands of refugees being smuggled from Turkey into Greece. They are lifeless, talking about such sensitive news as if it is nothing – merely there for a scoop. The film cuts back and forth between these places, amongst a slew of others; it jumps around time and to different threads it establishes. This is where Another News Story falters; it’s frantic in its nature and quickly becomes too convoluted – there’s a lot to cover here, and the film tries to cram a lot into its very short runtime, but it can feel a little too frenetic and overstuffed for its good. However, the story is told through a combination of live interviews and TV reports but it’s the individual refugee stories in which the film really hits the most. They give the film individuality and personality; sadly, they are too few and far between and messily placed in amongst the rest of the unorganised footage/narrative.
For the most part, Another News Story is effective in what it’s conveying. It sheds light on the refugee crisis in a way that feels passionate. Wallace’s obligation to document this crisis shines through and it can make for quite the deeply stirring and hard-hitting watch at times. Director of photography Josh Allott does a superb job in keeping the documentary alive through some slick visuals and cinematography too. It’s a film that has some important thematics and there’s some strong stuff on show here; however, ultimately, the film feels a little too convoluted for its own good. And the line between genuine reflection and reporting and propaganda against the media begins to blur – as tends to be the case with most documentaries (one second, we’re tooting the horns of the good journalists and the next, every report is a target). Another News Story ends up becoming just that: another documentary that will just fall into the noise of the genre and become… well… another news story.
Another News Story review by Awais Irfan, March 2018.
Another News Story is awaiting a UK release.