In this module you will learn a lot about the different kinds of Documentary films, specifically:Explorer or Nature Documentaries: from the early work of Robert Flaherty to today's films like 'Winged Migration' and 'March of the Penguins'Advocate and Propaganda Documentaries: these include everything from Leni Riefenstahl's film about Hitler and Frank Capra's World War 2 series, to many other documentaries that use this form to try to change the way people think about certain topicsHistorical Documentaries -- we focus particularly on the work of Ken Burns, who creates these wonderful, epic series for PBS on themes like The Civil War, Jazz, Baseball, World War 2, and many othersThe Mockumentary -- we focus on the work of Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald, who produced documentaries that have a strong bias and who often stage scenes to reinforce that biasAnd there are other kinds of documentaries as well -- biographies, music festivals, "The Making of ..." short documentaries about films that you find on the DVD releases, and many more.Paper # 3 asks you to analyze a documentary film of your choosing.
DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKINGWe are currently in what many people are calling the Golden Age of Documentary filmmaking. The proliferation of cable and satellite channels have helped create new audiences for documentaries, as well as the need for supplemental materials on DVD releases of Hollywood and other films from around the world.So what is a Documentary? Many of you saw lots of documentaries in your elementary and high school classes and may even have a predisposition to believe thatall documentaries are boring.This module will expose you to some of the different kinds of documentaries, a genre includes everything from nature and “National Geographic” style films to history docs, biographies, strongly political and social issue docs, newsmagazine shows, concert and music festival docs, and even some forms of “reality TV”.The first films ever made were a form of documentary. The Lumiere Brothers in France had a company that was the European equivalent of the Kodak company in America.Film was in essence a series of still photographs, 24 per second in fact, that give the illusion of motion when played back at that speed in front of a projection bulb. At that number of frames per second, our eyes can no longer distinguish the frame lines between the pictures and what we see appears to be actual motion. The Lumiere Brothers’ success was in large part due to their hand wound camera; Thomas Edison’s early film camera depended on electricity and thus could not operate outside of the few studios with electricity. The Lumiere camera used one minute reels of film, and the camera could be converted to a projector with a flip of an internal switch.