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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Directing Documentary (DESI08134)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course comprises a series of lectures, screenings and masterclasses which will focus on international contemporary documentary practice, using examples from creative documentary films to explore radically different approaches to narrative. Delivered by the ECA Film and Television Department the course is based on analysing the creative process of highly influential contemporary authors and researching an idea as the basis for a documentary. Students will be expected to develop and present a short pitch for a film they wish to make and to write a full proposal. Original storytelling approaches are encouraged and each presentation must cite influences and be backed up with a visual treatment.
Course description This course comprises a series of lectures, screenings and masterclasses which introduce the best in contemporary documentary film through weekly screenings and analysis. Each participant will also develop a story through research and fieldwork and write a documentary proposal.
The developed story idea is also presented in a pitch with reference to a film which illuminates an approach to form.

The documentary form is going through a golden age in contemporary cinema. It has arguably become the place where the most radical work is created which often eludes classification, existing on some border between experimental film, cinema vérité, fiction, reportage and art film.

We will be looking at their approaches to:
- Research
- Filming
- Interviews
- Editing
- Sound
- Narrative voice
- Music

Through examining clips and hearing first hand from invited film makers about how they approached the question of how to film "reality" in an authentic but original way, we explore questions of ethics, responsibility, and how to represent the "other".
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is open to ALL STUDENTS and enrolments are managed on a first come first served basis until the course is full. The course will be open to enrolments from Wednesday 11th September at 11.00 am. Please sign up for the course through your own School (they will advise if this is done via your PT, SSO or Teaching Office). We do not currently keep a waiting list.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of key debates in the realm of contemporary documentary and the ability to discuss on this subject.
  2. Undertake critical analysis and evaluation of ideas with regard to the narrative structure and visual approach of documentary films.
  3. Carry out independent enquiry and investigation to develop a complex documentary proposal and visual approach.
Reading List
Curran Bernard, S. Documentary Storytelling. Creative Non-Fiction on Screen. Focal Press (2011).
Rabiger, M. Directing the Documentary. Focal Press (2014).
MacDonald, K. and Cousins. M. Imagining Reality. The Faber book of Documentary. Faber and Faber. (2006)
Quinn, J. This Much is True. 14 directors on documentary film making A&C Black Academic and Professional (2012)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Conducting Research into complex subjects
Communicating Ideas to a variety of audiences
Analyzing Audio-visual material
Considering different approaches to a subject matter
KeywordsDocumentary,Narrative structure,Ethics
Course organiserMs Tracey Fearnehough
Course secretaryMs Georgia Dodsworth
Tel: (0131 6)51 5712
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