On April 30, 1999, Werner Herzog walked to center stage in the Walker Cinema and unveiled his new manifesto on truth and fact in documentary cinema. Subtitled Lessons of Darkness, the Minnesota Declaration, as he dubbed it, outlined his concerns with documentary film and, for the first time, explained his concept of “ecstatic truth.”
On the manifesto’s 18th anniversary, we invited Herzog to respond to the titular question of this series: what is truth in times of “alternative facts” and “fake news”? His response: a new, six-point addendum to the Minnesota Declaration. To complement his new thinking, we’ve also posed the same question to four figures in the cultural sphere: critic Ben Davis, filmmaker Sabaah Folayan, artist RaMell Ross, and investigative journalist Eric Schlosser.