From: Adam Hart (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Dec 28 2007 - 12:25:48 PST
CALL FOR PAPERS - Please Circulate
*Deadline approaching (Jan. 8)
Alternate Non-Fiction: Essay Films, Hybrids, and Experimental Documentaries,
the fifth annual cinema and media studies graduate-student conference from
the Committee on Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.
University of Chicago
Conference Date: April 5, 2008
Keynote Address: Richard Neer, University of Chicago
Deadline for Abstracts: January 8, 2008
Alternative Non-Fiction: Essay Films, Hybrids, and Experimental
Documentaries will be the fifth Graduate Cinema Conference at the University
of Chicago, a one-day event that will bring together graduate students to
deliver papers on cinematic theory and practice related to the essay film
and other forms of non-conventional documentary filmmaking. Vaguely defined
and broadly inclusive, the term "essay film" has been used in popular and
academic discourse to describe a wide variety of alternative nonfiction
films and filmmakers that defy easy categorization. The term has been
applied to practices as diverse as Chris Marker's philosophical travelogues,
Michael Moore's incisive polemics, William E. Jones's queer archaeological
ruminations, Trinh T. Minh-ha's explorations of post-colonial embodiment,
Ross McElwee's filmed diaries, and Jean-Luc Godard's meditations on art and
cinema. While certainly alternative and innovative in form, these practices
have historically been used to address social and political issues, as well
as intensely personal visions, in ways that are not often open to
With the rise of documentary in both mainstream and avant-garde film and
media practices, alternative nonfiction forms have taken on an increasingly
important place in filmmaking today. These practices have served as
supplements to and refutations of traditional modes of cinematic rhetoric
and representation—bringing to the fore issues of medium specificity,
textual hybridity, and narrative conveyance. In this spirit, the conference
aims to examine the discourses that have arisen in these alternative
non-fiction practices and their implications for the wider field of cinema
We invite graduate students to submit papers on a wide range of topics
including, but not limited to:
--Conceptual frameworks for analyzing alternative nonfiction filmmaking.
--Formal and expressive possibilities afforded by alternative nonfiction.
--Filmmakers including: Vertov, Godard, Marker, Welles, Rappaport, Farocki,
Kluge, Akerman, Friedrich, Trinh, Errol Morris, Derek Jarman, Ross McElwee,
Cheryl Dunye, William E.
--Presentations and representations of minority subjectivities, including
but not limited to racial, postcolonial, sexual, and gendered minorities.
--Figurations of alternative desires (feminist, queer, postcolonial, and
--Politics and polemics in essay films.
--The social, political, and critical constructions of the
traditional/alternative dichotomy in non-fiction filmmaking.
--Essayistic practices in narrative filmmaking.
--Cinematic essays in new media.
--First person documentaries and the diary film.
--Fiction and non-fiction hybrid films.
--The essay film and the underground/avant-garde traditions.
--Literary practices and essay filmmaking.
--And the larger issues raised by alternative nonfiction (originality,
public domain, aesthetic categories like romanticism and modernism,
cinematic ontology, indexicality in cinematic and digital images).
The keynote speaker will be Richard Neer, Department of Art History,
University of Chicago. Professor Neer has recently published an article in
Critical Inquiry titled "Godard Counts" on questions of cinematic evidence
in Godard's Histoire(s) du cinéma. Working on the relationship between style
and politics, he has published widely on classical art, historiography,
Poussin, and French cinema. A visiting filmmaker, who will present his or
her work during the conference, will be announced in January. Limited
financial assistance for travel may be available for international students.
The deadline for abstracts (300-400) words is JANUARY 8, 2008. Please submit
all abstracts to email suppressed with "Conference Abstract" in the
subject heading. For more information, contact Adam Hart:
email suppressed; or Pamelyn Woo: (address suppressed)
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.