World Documentary Today
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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: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Media Studies
Documentary has never been more popular or controversial than it is today. The availability of low-cost, accessible digital media technology has helped foster a renaissance in documentary practice. And as new tools like cell phones, go-pro cameras, and high-end HD equipment expand the technical boundaries of an art form, pressing issues and artistic possibilities command the attention of media makers around the globe. Works selected for screening and discussion will address a broad range of topics—from political revolution to personal exploration—and offer an equally broad array of formal approaches. Screenings and discussions will focus on work made in the last five years. We will explore the documentary in some of its many guises: such as essay, social advocacy, investigative journalism, (auto)biography, propaganda, (vérité) narrative, and creative experiment. The course examines ongoing debates over documentary ethics and aesthetics, considering such problems as the use of archival footage, fair use standards, staging and reenactments, self-reflexivity, and hybrid forms that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction. Drawing on the legacy of documentary pioneers and the inspiration of today’s innovators and iconoclasts, this course will explore many of the issues and ideas driving the documentary film today. Invited guests may feature filmmakers, programmers and critics. Past guests have included: Wu Wenguang (China), Jill Godmilow (USA), Bill Viola (USA), Yonghi Yang (Japan/Korea), Nathaniel Dorsky (USA), Agnès Varda (France), Janus Metz (Denmark), Ido Haar (Israel), and Akram Zaatari (Lebanon), among others.
Course Open to: Degree Students


Open to Graduate students.