At the Variety FYC Fest sponsored by Discovery Plus, top documentary directors discussed their processes of storytelling when it comes to portraying serious topics.

On the panel was Evgeny Afineevsky, director of “Francesco”; Rachel Fleit, director of “Introducing, Selma Blair”; and Pedro Kos, director of “Rebel Hearts.” Variety film awards editor Clayton Davis moderated the discussion.

Fleit discussed deciphering the best way of teaching the audience about the disease multiple sclerosis in her film.

“The most important thing that I learned from the process of making the film is that MS symptoms are different for everyone, so we sort of needed to make that loud and clear,” Fleit said. “But we have an adage in filmmaking, ‘show don’t tell,’ so I could show the way she was in her life.”

Kos spoke to the intricacies of the Catholic Church, in particular regarding the inequalities between men and women in its structure. Kos wanted to make it clear to his audience that this is an issue that has been going on for thousands of years.

“We still see that today, that tug and pull of tradition versus evolution,” Kos said. “What is it to live out the teachings of the Catholic Church, of being someone of conscience?”

Afineevsky talked about storytelling during the pandemic specifically, and the visuals he used to help tell his story.

“A lot of things from the pandemic are in the movie, from emptiness of the streets, just to show that we as a human race can disappear and we need drastic change,” Afineevsky said. “I think this type of call for action was important for me and also finding this hope through the change in humanity.”