ARTS 112
Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking Spring 2023
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

In a 2010 article, New York Times film critic A. O. Scott described documentary film as ‘heterogeneous to the point of anarchy.’ However, in the intervening decade, documentary has become simultaneously more commercial and formulaic. This course takes this notion of heterogeneity to heart, acquainting students with a wide array of creative approaches and key debates in documentary film. In addition to a historical, ethical and critical foundation in the field of documentary, students will acquire a basic grounding in the fundamentals of video production, including cinematography, sound and editing. Course requirements include class attendance and regular critiques, weekly film screenings and readings outside class, 2-3 minor filmmaking exercises, and major assignments in the form of 3-4 short nonfiction video projects.
The Class: Format: studio
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3552
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: timely and committed completion of assignments, attendance and participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: majors have priority
Materials/Lab Fee: $250-$350. Lab and materials fees for all studio art classes are covered by the Book Grant for all Williams financial aid recipients.
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: The practice of documentary film is centrally bound to ethics--who and how we represent onscreen. Historically, documentary has tended to gaze on marginalized communities in problematic ways; this course will make issues of power, race, class and representation central to the production of documentary media.

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