New Directions in Documentary
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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Media Studies
Course Number: NMDS 5205
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Documentary Filmmaking
  • Media Studies
The first films ever made were actualities, and for over one hundred years the documentary has proven a hardy, dynamic, and evolving genre. Contemporary documentary producers borrow from that rich past while forging new styles informed by today's social, political, technological, and aesthetic concerns. This course explores innovative and often controversial documentary work-in film, video, audio and on the web-produced around the world in the last ten years. Screenings and discussions explore the documentary as personal essay, autobiography, diary, investigative journalism, political propaganda, vrit narrative, interactive experiment, and social advocacy. The course examines ongoing debates over the uses of archival footage, ethical responsibility, staging and reenactments, narration versus non-narration, self-reflexivity, experimental forms, the revival of cinema vrit, and the much contested terrain of truth and reality in the documentary. It also examines the legacy of pioneers such as Vertov, Flaherty, and Grierson along with innovators and iconoclasts such Errol Morris and Michael Moore. Guest appearances by critics and documentary producers are featured.
Course Open to: Degree Students


Open to Graduate students.