Course No. AMI 205 / DOCST 270 / POLSCI 276 / VMS 264 / PUBPOL 374
Curriculum Codes: ALP, CCI, STS
Instructor: Tom Rankin
Contemporary Documentary Films introduces students to documentary film history, theory, and criticism as well as with the richness of offerings at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in April. Featuring films from the 1960s to the present, the course draws much of the content from films that have been featured at Full Frame over the past decade and a half. Visiting documentary filmmakers will attend class, screen their work, discuss their motivations and methods, and engage with students around both the content and the form of their work. With a goal of exploring the art form, style, and technology of contemporary documentary films and issues of autonomy and power, politics, and public policies, the course advances a very interdisciplinary approach to documentary. A central premium of the course is student attendance to select screenings at Full Frame in downtown Durham with support for tickets through the Signature Course designation. Throughout the semester we will analyze the form, technique, and impact of documentary filmmaking.
it as Duke University I'm Tom Rankin and I'm teaching a course at Duke University contemporary documentary film film makers in the full-frame film festival I've been at Duke 18 years 15 of that is director of the center for documentary studies and now direct the Master of Fine Arts in experimental and documentary arts I'm a filmmaker and photographer and write about film and photography and like to think about it in in the context of contemporary life it's a course that looks at the arc of documentary film from about 1960 to the present and does that by looking at whole entire films comparing the themes the techniques the methods the politics the size of the crew the sense of audience and the intended audience and what we write about films we have for visiting filmmakers come into class and then in April the class attends at least two films two screenings at the full-frame documentary film festival in downtown Durham that film festival one of the premiere film festivals in the country gives an idea gives students an idea gives all of us an idea of the kind of life of the documentary film films that have just come out as well as those screened at that Film Festival that looked back across the tradition when I use the word contemporary it's really to talk about our focus on the last 20 years but to do that we we begin in about 1960 the late 50s early 60s and the advent of direct cinema the sort of power of direct cinema and that allows us to to begin to think about film as a as a construction so many people think of documentary is something that that's rooted in objectivity and and this class really tries to interrogate that idea and look at it as storytelling as storytelling with a lot of power with a lot of presence and with a lot of contemporary issues I think one of the great features of it is the visiting filmmakers being able to talk to people about why they made what they made what they plan to do with it how they get it out in the world what the intended audience is and what they want to do with their careers as filmmakers it's a class that that it really does can open your eyes to to the power of this medium you