HRTS 3298-003/DMD 3998-003: Social Documentary in Theory and Practice

Instructor: Catherine Masud

This is a special opportunity to learn from an internationally award-winning filmmaker. 

This course aims to open students’ eyes to the tremendous power and possibility of the documentary form as a vehicle of social discourse and change. The first half of this course will examine the documentary from a historical, ethical, and aesthetic perspective, providing a theoretical grounding for students with a special interest in documentaries that address social and political themes. Some of the topics to be addressed include the evolution of the documentary genre, the modes and models of documentary, the rhetorical, narrative, and poetic documentary ‘voice’, and the question of ‘social impact’. Major milestones of the non-fiction genre will be studied along with lesser-known short form documentaries that illustrate specific aspects of technique, style, and content. The second half of the course will provide students with a practical framework for discovering their own documentary voice. Students will be guided through the process of pre-production, shooting and editing as they create their own short form documentaries on a social issue of their choice.

University Honors Laureate: This Variable Topics course will count toward the Arts & Humanities category.