From: Christopher Harris (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jul 20 2010 - 09:34:54 PDT
Thanks to everyone
for so many excellent and thought provoking recommendations. Some of them
were already on my radar but many others had either slipped my mind or were
completely unknown to me.
particular to Amanda, Dan, Robert, Dinorah, Jeanne, Ken, Matt, Mike, Jason,
Carl, Sonali, David, Ted, Elizabeth, Mads, Greg, James, Shane, Jeff, Beverly,
Manuele, Rory and Rob (whew!).
Special thanks to
Marilyn, Jason and Rory for prodding me to focus my thoughts a bit more as I
begin to shape the syllabus for the course.
In response to
their comments a little context is probably in order:
The class I will be
teaching this fall is called Film Documentary. Based on past experience
with the student body I suspect that the vast majority of my students have an
idea of documentary that does not go very far beyond Ken Burns and Michael
Moore. Its within this context that I decided that I would teach an
"experimental documentary" course in order to challenge these sorts
of preconceptions. In any case when I posted my initial query to
Frameworks I deliberately left the terminology undefined so as to cast as wide
a net as possible in the hopes that I would get a range of responses (it seemed
to have worked). I assumed correctly that many responses would point me in
directions that I might not have anticipated. At the same time I included
the names of certain film and video makers in order to provide some sense of
what I meant by "experimental." The point was to provide some context
without closing off potential avenues.
about the purpose of the course. One of the major areas of focus for this
class will be, as Marilyn put it, on "self-reflexive documentaries that
are honest, also, about their subjectivity.” Rather than a history of such films I intend to design the
course as an introduction to these kinds of films (and videos) with no attempt
to be exhaustive or definitive. In
this spirit, the discussions around terminology (“experimental” and
“documentary”) will be integrated into the course with as little doctrinaire
fanfare as possible.
wholeheartedly agree that there are no clear boundaries between Narrative,
Documentary and Experimental film.
I intend to design the course in such way that the content and spirit of
the course convey this lack of definitive boundaries.
Film is a theory course however I have recently begun to fold optional
production assignments into my theory courses and I intend to do the same with
my “experimental” version of the this class. How exactly I will do this has yet to be determined. I am not sure how much experience with
hands on processes. Certainly the
discussion around terminology and processes will have to be placed within an
Again, thanks to
all the very helpful feedback.
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