This workshop demystifies documentary practice, and will give you the confidence, knowledge and skills to enter this space and self-produce your own documentary.
Everyone has a story to tell but, too often, commercial demands and a closed movie industry appear as impenetrable barriers to making documentary films. Simon Kessler has worked in both network television and on personal projects with limited financial and technical support. Both experiences have led him to realize that a documentary storyteller is limited only by their imagination and ingenuity. Big budgets and institutional support are nice, but lacking those resources should not be a barrier to making your movie, or just getting started in the genre.
The format of the workshop will be problem-based. Each week we will address two to three problems that commonly emerge in documentary film. We will consider (1) pragmatic concerns—from camera choice to gaining site access and building rapport, (2) aesthetic concerns—from framing to exposure and shot choice, and (3) theoretical concerns—including questioning the documentary’s point of view and claims to objectivity.
These problems will be further elaborated each week through screenings of short excerpts of different kinds of documentaries. As a group, we will identify and discuss the choices filmmakers have made in order to assist each participant define and approach their own practice. There will be opportunities for feedback during the workshop. Over the course of the four weeks, you’ll be invited to produce two to five minutes of footage, implementing some of the techniques and discussions from previous weeks.