This modern and innovative course draws on a dense network of organisations and individuals working in documentary today. The MA provides you with the space to creatively, practically and critically engage with the documentary from a variety of traditions, and is structured to provide you with training and professional expertise in dominant/mainstream documentary production techniques, procedures and alternative traditions. The dual focus of the course, allied with its non-prescriptive approach, makes it a unique place to develop your knowledge about the documentary. While the course is primarily oriented towards practice (approximately 70% practical, 30% theoretical) we believe that effective practice in whatever documentary traditions you choose to draw on and work with requires critical engagement, reflection and historical knowledge, if you are to fulfil your own potential, as well that of the documentary genre.
Module Content (all core)
Theory and History of Documentary Practices
This introduces students to the key theorists and practitioners of documentary, explores its different institutional contexts in film and television, and offers comparative analysis of the development of documentary in the UK and, by way of contrast, Latin America.
Documentary Practices I
This is a double unit running over two terms. Students will learn the practical methods for mainstream documentary production procedures such as writing the proposal, researching the idea, interviewing techniques and shooting strategies.
This is specifically devoted to instructing students on the University's Avid digital editing suites and developing competence in different editing strategies.
This module mixes theory and practical elements. It explores documentary traditions that in some way lie outside and/or challenge the more mainstream documentary or television documentary practices. Much contemporary documentary provides perspectives on current events and issues marginalised by mainstream news and current affairs provision. We also look at the interface between documentary and more avant-garde, experimental practices. You will also be taught web design and construction. The internet has become a crucial means for independent documentary filmmakers to publicise their work, disseminate it and build support networks.
Documentary Practices II
Continues the practical exploration of mainstream documentary procedures and practices, including such topics as the creative use of sounds, writing documentary commentary, production management planning, and questions of funding and distribution.
Short Video Project
This offers the opportunity to produce a short video in preparation for the longer video project in the third term.
In the third term you take the final video project which involves bringing your practical, historical and theoretical knowledge to bear on a substantive documentary on a subject and in a style (or styles) of your own choosing. You will have tutorial guidance but will need to demonstrate considerable independence of thought, creativity and initiative.
Recent examples of documentaries by students taking this course include:
* US military bases on Greek islands
* The potential impact of the Olympics on the East End
* Life in Beirut
* The Armenian genocide
* The Vietnamese Boat People
* Loss of a twin sibling.
* Indigenous struggles in Chiapas, Mexico.
* A women’s only village in Kenya.
Brunel Final Projects 2007
Festival Screenings, Awards, and Exhibitions:
* Pain in My Heart by Hopewell Chin’ono won Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship award for outstanding documentary, 2008
* The Unprotected Museum, Ioannis Malovakis - 10th Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival
* The Perfect Man, Maria Akesson, Lesbian, Gay - Transgender film festivals worldwide (Toronto, Montreal, Melbourne and London)
* Mesopotamian Marshes, Stijn Verhoeff - Exhibition in Photography Museum in Amsterdam