It's a shame that the speaker I found most inspiring, Michael Orion Scott, is also one of the only documentarians I DIDN'T get to see at SXSW 2009 due to work-related conflicts. However, what I did manage to see of "Over the Hills and Far Away" had a lasting impact on me, and it's worth noting that only bits and snippets of final product snagged him the "most inspiring title" from me...hey, that's worth a lot!
I'm a firm believer in...not necessarily objective documentary-filmmaking...that word has certain connotations and since nobody sinks the time and money necessary for a feature-length documentary into a topic they aren't INCREDIBLY passionate about, pretending to be dispassionate only leaves the viewer with a cold, dishonest, movie. But there's something to be said for being balanced, restrained, and fair.
With a film like "Over the Hills", it would be very easy to fall into the trap of a pandering, overly persuasive, heart-strings piece. And sure, the clips that I saw were full of emotion, parental bonding, and the like, but I never felt like Scott was trying to use his camera as a soapbox: "this is how autism should be treated", "these parents are saints", et cetera.
On a personal level, I'm also incredibly envious of Scott for combining two of my passions, filmmaking and world travel, into one creative product. I've been extremely fortunate to travel all over the world in my short life, but I haven't yet been in a situation where I could document my travels on horseback in a country as remote as Mongolia (my dad's HD verite footage from Vietnam will have to do for now).