Documentary Film and the Spectator's Activity



This class endeavors to teach students how to maximize the punch of their documentary narratives by blending elements of both mimetic and diegetic approaches to storytelling. Relying heavily on the Constructivist theory of narration, students will also come to understand film-viewing as a dynamic psychological process. This course will provide directors and aspiring directors with the bedrock of 100 years of film theory upon which to base the critical decisions related to their film’s narrative structure. Borrowing heavily from the Russian Formalists, students will learn how concepts of schemata, hypothesizing, and withholding of story information can help elevate their documentary films from a simple, literal telling of the facts to a layered, complex narrative. Course is highly recommended for students with a documentary work already in progress or at some stage of preproduction.

Keith T. Barber is a 2016 graduate of the master of fine arts program in film & video production at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His directorial debut, “Any Given Friday,” premiered at the Reynolda Film Festival on the campus of Wake Forest University in 2010 and screened at the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, NC. A seasoned journalist, Barber has received a number of accolades from both the North Carolina Press Association awards and the Associated Press. Barber annually screens his thesis film, “Ordinary Injustice,” for Duke Law School’s Innocence Project.


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