“Guide for Documentary Film-makers” now online

It’s now some 16 months since we spent those intensive few days in Cardiff, and I am delighted to report that the “Guide for Documentary Film-makers” project that Prof. Grażyna Kędzielawska and her team presented in Cardiff is not only complete but is in fact available online, in English, with hyperlinks to various video exercises.


Based on her many years teaching documentary filmmaking to generations of film students, Grazyna has compiled a veritable Bible of Best Kept Secrets which all of us can learn from, borrow and adapt for our own classrooms. It’s free to access online, but  if you wish you can also order a print edition directly from Lodz by emailing the school directly

It’s a great pleasure to be able bring this work to your attention and I exhort you to pass the link on to all your colleagues working in this field.


Prof. Grażyna Kędzielawska, Polish Film School, Lodz

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Thanks for coming – and let’s do this more often

Over 80 delegates from 27 countries spent two and a half days eating, drinking, talking and sharing ideas: GEECT "Teaching Documentary Symposium, Cardiff November 5-7th 2014

Over 80 delegates from 27 countries spent two and a half days eating, drinking, talking and sharing ideas: GEECT “Teaching Documentary” Symposium, Cardiff November 5-7th 2014

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Mandy Rose: What do we talk about when we talk about documentary?

Digital has brought disruption to documentary. Radically new forms are emerging requiring new teams and skills. The market is changing. The audience is changing. But documentary has been a fluid form – reinvented by generations of producers taking advantage of new technologies and possibilities. So what’s distinctive now? Outlining key features of this moment of transformation, Mandy Rose will suggest that, if we want to know what we should teach now, we need to think less about documentary production, more about the life of a documentary today.”

Mandy Rose is Director of the University of the West of England’s Digital Cultures Research Centre and Co-Director of i-Docs. Her research looks at the intersection between documentary and networked culture. Mandy has made work on diverse themes – from the women of the Raj – Hilda at Darjeeling (C4 1989) to 20th Britain in postcards and their messages – Pictures in the Post (BBC 1999), from Pop Art to housework. During twenty years at the BBC she led innovative participatory and interactive projects including the “mass observation” camcorder project – Video Nation (94-2000), the pioneering digital storytelling project in the UK – Capture Wales (2001-2007), and the transmedia exploration of language, accent and dialect across the UK – Voices (2004) (Webby nominated).

Mandy’s The Are you happy? Project (2014) revisits Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s seminal documentary Chronique d’un Ete (1960) in the context of global collaboration and the web, and explores the potential of HTML5 for the “creative treatment of actuality” (Grierson’s 1926 definition of documentary).

Her recent writing appears in The Journal of Documentary Studies (Intellect Books 1013), The Documentary Film Book (Palgrave 2013) and DIY Citizens; Critical Making and Social Media (MIT Press 2014.) @CollabDocs @i_docs

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Even if we started on Steenbecks…. #teachingdocs #cilect

…we are of the modern age

I tweet // You tweet // He, she, it tweets



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48 Hours to go – final programme details

During registration you will receive an information pack with delegate biographies and contact details. We’ve made a couple of minor tweaks to the programme – here to download as a PDF:

 Symposium Programme

Kim Longinotto’s Masterclass for students takes place between 2-5pm on Wednesday in the Zen Room at the Atrium Campus (Room CB403). Please be advised that although delegates are also welcome to attend, spaces are limited and cannot be reserved in advance.

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Kim Longinotto Masterclass for students to kick off Symposium

Longinotto_KWe’re delighted that multi-award winning documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto will be joining us at the very beginning of the Symposium to give a Masterclass for students.

Kim, pictured here on location in India for her recent film Salma will be sharing her advice on filmmaking in the Zen Room at the Atrium (CB403) between 2-5pm on Wednesday 5th November. Seating is limited, so make sure you turn up on time!

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Remembering Henry Breitrose 1936 – 2014


Barely a week before we kick off with the Symposium, let’s mention the highly influential  and sadly missed founder of the Stanford Documentary Programme, Henry Breitrose who passed away at the beginning of October. A long standing member of CILECT, his reputation as an inspirational teacher, scholar and lover of all things documentary left a really strong impression on several generations of students. Alan Rosenthal – himself a respected filmmaker and scholar – wrote the following about his experiences  as his student in the sixties: “Henry […] was a superb teacher, and was clearly the brightest spark in  department. He was funny, learned, witty and inspiring. And he pointed me towards the path of documentary, with the idea that it could change the world.”

Although I never met him in person, I did occasionally correspond with Henry down the years. I’m sure he would have loved to have been with us in Cardiff!

John Burgan

Full obituary by Kathleen J Sullivan on the Stanford website.

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