Cover

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

My greatest debt of gratitude goes to the students who have studied documentary film with me over the years. Their curiosity and questions have provided the motivation for this book. I am also greatly indebted to those who have gathered at the Visible Evidence conferences since their inception in 1993 to exchange ideas and pursue ...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xviii

Organized into chapters by a series of questions, the second edition of Introduction to Documentary examines this fascinating type of film-making in detail. The questions involve issues of definition, ethics, content, form, modes, and politics. Because documentaries address the world in which we live rather than a world imagined by the filmmaker, ...

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1 How Can We Define Documentary Film?

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pp. 1-41

This introduction to the ways in which documentary engages with the world as we know it takes up the series of questions indicated by the chapter titles. These questions are the commonsense sort of questions we might ask ourselves if we want to understand documentary film. Each question takes us a bit further into the domain of documentary; ...

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2 Why Are Ethical Issues Central to Documentary Filmmaking?

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pp. 42-66

The bond between documentary and the historical world is deep and profound. Documentary adds a new dimension to popular memory and social history. Documentary engages with the world by representing it. It does so in three ways. ...

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3 What Gives Documentary Films a Voice of Their Own?

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pp. 67-93

If documentaries represent issues and aspects, qualities and problems found in the historical world, they can be said to speak about this world through both sounds and images. The question of speech raises the question of “voice,” but finding and having a voice involves more than using the spoken word. When a documentary “speaks about” some-...

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4 What Makes Documentaries Engaging and Persuasive?

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pp. 94-119

For every documentary there are at least three stories that intertwine: the filmmaker’s, the film’s, and the audience’s. These stories are all, in different ways, part of what we attend to when we ask what a given film is about. That is to say, when we watch a film we become aware ...

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5 How Did Documentary Filmmaking Get Started?

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pp. 120-141

Our discussion of documentary would not be complete without some consideration of how this form of filmmaking found its voice. The voice of documentary relates to the ways in which documentary film and video speaks about the world around us, but from a particular ...

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6 How Can We Differentiate among Documentaries? Categories, Models, and the Expository and Poetic Modes of Documentary Film

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pp. 142-171

In chapter 1 we defined documentary as a form of cinema that speaks to us about actual situations and events. It involves real people (social actors) who present themselves to us in stories that convey a plausible proposal about or perspective on the lives, situations, and events portrayed. ...

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7 How Can We Describe the Observational, Participatory, Reflexive, and Performative Modes of Documentary Film?

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pp. 172-211

Poetic and expository modes of documentary often sacrificed direct engagement with specific individuals to construct formal patterns or compelling perspectives. The filmmaker gathered the necessary raw materials and then fashioned a meditation, perspective, or proposal ...

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8 How Have Documentaries Addressed Social and Political Issues?

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pp. 212-252

When we first asked “What to do with people?” in chapter 2, our discussion fell primarily within an ethical frame. What consequences follow from different forms of response to and engagement with others? How may we represent or speak about others without reducing ...

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9 How Can We Write Effectively about Documentary?

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pp. 253-272

This chapter assumes some general familiarity with essay writing for film. All introductory film texts cover the topic and other helpful guides to essay writing also exist. This chapter gives sharper focus to writing about documentary film, but the basic principles pertain to almost any ...

Notes on Source Material

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pp. 273-288

Filmography

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pp. 289-300

List of Distributors, Internet Distribution Venues, Internet Search Engines, and International Distributors

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pp. 301-322

Index

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pp. 323-341