Five books to add to your reading list: three explicitly on the subject of teaching documentary, and one – the most recent – on the history of the film school. The two oldest titles are out of print, but you may still find them second hand.
Educating Filmmakers by Duncan Petrie & Rod Stoneman (2014).
A book in two halves: in the first Duncan Petrie offers a well-researched but selective history of the film school in the US and Europe, focusing on the main institutions and their relationships to the industry. The second half, a conceptual polemic by a former commissioning editor at Channel 4 and the Irish Film Board, asks pertinent questions where the modern film school is heading.
Dokumentarfilm: Schulen, Projekte, Konzepte Ed: Edmund Ballhaus (in German, 2013).
This title represents an overview of the various approaches of all the major German-speaking film schools in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The Education of the Filmmaker in Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas Ed: Mette Hjort (2013).
Looking at filmmaking in countries such as Nigeria, Qatar, the United States, the West Indies, this title investigates the nature of practice-based film education in well-established film schools as well as studios, clubs, film festivals, NGOs and peripatetic workshops.
Teaching Documentary in Europe Eds: Klaus Stanjek & Renate Gompper (German & English Edition, 1994).
A reader created after the first VISIONS model project – a cycle of theoretical and practical seminars held at HFF “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam Babelsberg in 1994. Contains a useful list of exercises and practical examples.
Confronting Reality (CILECT Review Vol. 2 No. 1, November 1986).
Starting with a series of “Personal Perspectives” by familiar names such as Ricky Leacock, Dai Vaughan and Jean Rouch, the second part of this journal explores “Formal, Ethical and Other Considerations” in a selection of pieces on film teaching in individual schools by filmmaker/teachers such as David MacDougall (Canberra) and Kazimierz Karabasz (Lodz).
The appendix “A Provocation” by Colin Young, founder of the NFTS and former President of CILECT, starts thus:
The word documentary has different meanings in different parts of the world. In what follows, we begin by proposing two distinctions.
- Documentary and fiction are not the same thing (although they overlap and have much in common)
- Documentary and film or television journalism are not the same thing (although they both are aspects of non-fiction).
Food for thought…discuss!