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2015-2016 Catalog

FAMS 340 Documentary Film

This course is an examination of documentary film-its form, history, style, and impact on cinema and culture. We begin with 19th century roots of the documentary and proceed to the recent democratization of digital documentary film making, Among the topics covered will be early actualities, travelogues, propaganda, newsreels, cinema-verite, direct cinema, avant-garde, mockumentary, educational, experimental and political documentaries, and recent developments in digital documentary. Our overall goals are to become critically thoughtful of cinematic texts, to gain familiarity with significant documentary techniques, to acquire an understanding of the historical evolution of documentary film as an art form and social tool, and to learn something of the diverse state of documentary film making today. Readings will aid students in the development of a practical understanding of how doc films work, and present a range of critical and theoretical approaches to film study. Essential to this collaborative process will be learning to use video cameras and Final Cut Pro digital editing software, as well as practicing film making techniques along the way to the construction of an original documentary film. The last activity of the semester will be a student doc film festival.


FAMS 201 or permission of instructor