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Unit information: Documentary Histories and Practices in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Documentary Histories and Practices
Unit code FATV20009
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Piccini
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

FATV10002 Close-up on Film

or

FATV10001 Filmmaking Fundamentals

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

The unit will consider key moments and texts in the history of documentary film and television production, and explore the ethical, social and aesthetic questions they raise. Specifically, the unit will explore the problems of history, actuality, indexicality and evidence that documentary poses makers and audiences. The unit will focus on considering modes, styles and contexts for documentary making, leading to the production of a documentary work.

The unit aims to:

  • develop knowledge and critical understanding of histories of documentary film, television and interactive media, through considering key movements in screen documentary and the technical, cultural and philosophical contexts informing them;
  • develop an in-depth understanding of theoretical contexts of documentary forms and practices;
  • develop the ability to analyse and evaluate competing perceptions of documentary film, television and interactive media;
  • develop the ability to describe, evaluate, analyse and critique documentary film, television and interactive media.

The unit is Open, by approval of unit convenor (based on evidence of appropriate practical skills).

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

(1) demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of histories of documentary film, television and interactive media;

(2) engage in a detailed and informed fashion with the theoretical contexts of documentary forms and practices;

(3) analyse and evaluate competing perceptions of documentary film, television and interactive media;

(4) work constructively and creatively in a group-based workshop and engage in peer critique;

(5) work independently and reach individual/personal judgements within a collaborative context;

(6) work within the disciplines of production and project processes, working to deadlines and within production budgets;

(7) articulate an understanding of the aesthetics of a project as a whole and translate this into practice.

Teaching details

Weekly 2-hour seminar/workshop + weekly 3-hour screening/workshop, production tutorials (within workshop sessions) and practical work (both independent and partially supervised).

Assessment Details

4-8 minute documentary film or related documentary work (50%) ILO 1, 4-7

2500 word reflexive account of practical work (50%) ILO 1-3, 6-7

Films can be made either individually or in groups, at the unit convenor’s discretion and within a defined range (i.e. individual projects and small groups, or larger groups and no individual projects). The required length of the film will vary, depending on the number of students involved and the specific nature of the project. Films made in groups will be awarded a single grade.

Reading and References

  • Bruzzi, S. (2000). New Documentary: A Critical Introduction, London: Routledge.
  • Chanan, M. (2007) The Politics of Documentary, London: BFI.
  • Cousins, M. and Macdonald, K. (1998) Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary, London: Faber and Faber.
  • Nichols, B. (2001). Introduction to Documentary, Indiana: Indiana University Press.
  • Renov, M. (2004) The Subject of Documentary, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Winston, B. (1995) Claiming the Real: The Documentary Film Revisited, London: BFI.

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