ECO-CINEMA: Documenting Modern Culture in Theory and Practice
This course engages students in both the study and production of documentary films. It surveys how filmmakers, photographers, and other artists have brought environmental and social justice issues to the public's attention in the last century and in some cases have instigated profound societal and political change. We will examine the nebulous distinctions between persuasion and propaganda, agenda and allegory, point of view and content. Students will evolve as civic viewers of the environment and as makers of documentary art, initiating their own projects to address and/or depict environmental and human rights issues.
A series of editing, shooting/framing, and research workshops and assignments will take place in the first half of the quarter. In the second half of the quarter each student will produce a documentary of his/her own. You will be expected to engage in the rigorous research (often archival in nature) necessary to interview subjects and prepare a "visual argument," and you will learn to write a short non-fiction script that will be shot and edited in a five week period. No previous filmmaking experience required, but students should be familiar with the basic terms and critical skills of film analysis (cinematography, editing, etc).