Directing 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 5524
Course Format: Studio
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Documentary Filmmaking
  • Film & Video Production
  • Media Studies
How documentaries are directed is one of the best-kept secrets in film and video--or so it seems to those outside the world of media production. For novice documentarians, it is the question most often asked and the one most rigorously pursued as the real work of documentary gets underway. This advanced production course aims to address the mystery by offering students a directing discipline as they each create their own single, original work in documentary--feature, news, magazine, vrit, essay, subjective, visionary in conjunction with studies in the history of documentary film scholarship. At the end of the first century of the moving image, many of our best directors are looking back to the origins of film and video as they move forward. Documentary, especially, is experiencing a resurgence as makers rediscover, for example, the power of the Lumire brothers single-image film or the excitement of vrit, unadorned by narration or laborious exposition, as first practiced by Leacock and Pennebaker. Historical problems in documentary will be discussed hand-in-hand with production technique; for instance, truthful observation alongside pictorial editing and individual shot composition. By semester's end each student will have acquired an historically informed answer to the question of contemporary documentary practice.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Prequisite: Media Practices: Time-Based or instructor permission.


Open to Graduate students.