This module explores both the theories behind - and the production disciplines related to - the making of screen non fiction: documentaries and factual television. It seeks to engage students in conceptual issues like authorship, the limits of mediating the real world, and the blurred lines between fiction and non-fictional narratives. At the same time it explores production strategies for conceiving and making non-fiction for TV, cinema and the web.
Module will run
Autumn Term 2020-21 to Spring Term 2020-21
To introduce students to the key critical and theoretical concepts for analysing non-fiction forms of cinema and television including documentary, current affairs and reality TV
To acquaint students to some of the key examples of cinema documentary and factual television
To acquaint students to the historical development of these forms of cinema and television
To provide a more detailed understanding of the aesthetic and narrative conventions of non-fiction forms of cinema and television and how they communicate meaning to their audiences
To provide a more detailed understanding of the institutional context of these form and their significance to the wider film and television industries
To acquaint students with some of the key production issues surrounding the delivery of non-fiction film and television.
Module learning outcomes
Students will know, understand and be able to use the basic critical and theoretical concepts relevant to the analysis of non-fiction forms of film and television
Students will have knowledge of the key modes of documentary film and factual television and understand how they are constructed and function as audio-visual texts and products
Students will have a basic knowledge and understanding of the historical development of the documentary and factual forms of television
Students will understand the institutional and industrial contexts and how these impact on the production and consumption of non fiction forms of cinema and television
Students will have some knowledge and understanding of current developments in the field of documentary, factual and other forms of non-fiction film and television production
% of module mark
Essay/coursework Non Fiction Portfolio
Special assessment rules
Additional assessment information
See above - formative work is embedded into the seminar structure in terms of group production exercises and a series of short analytical written papers.
% of module mark
Essay/coursework Non Fiction Portfolio
There will be a range of formative exercises - short written papers - and group exercises across the module. These will all receive feedback. The final assessment will receive extensive feedback that will be designed to inform choices in the third year.
Aitken I. (ed.), Encyclopaedia of the Documentary Film. London: Routledge, 2006.
Austin T (2007) Watching the World: Screen Documentary and Audiences. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Beattie K. (2008) Documentary Display: Reviewing Non-Fiction Film and Television. London: Wallflower.
Beattie, K. (2003) Documentary Screens: Non-fiction film and television. Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan.
Bonner, F. (2003) Ordinary Television: Analyzing Popular TV. London: Sage.
Bruzzi S. (2006) New Documentary 2nd Ed. London: Routledge.
Dayan D. and Katz E. (1992) Media Events. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Ellis, J. (2011) Documentary: Witness and Self-revelation. New York: Routledge.
Frosh P. and Pinchevski A. (eds.) (2009) Media Witnessing: Testimony in the Age of Mass Communications. London: Palgrave MacMillian.
Grant, B. K. and Sloniowski, J.(1998) Documenting the Documentary: close readings of documentary film and video. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
Hill A (2007) Restyling Factual TV. London: Routledge.
Hill, A. (2005) Reality TV: Audiences and Popular Factual Television. London: Routledge.
Holmes, S. and Jermyn, D. (Eds.) (2004) Understanding Reality Television. London: Routledge.
Huff, R. (2006) Reality Television. Westport, Connecticut and London: Praeger.
Ian Aitken (ed.), (1998) The Documentary Film Movement: An Anthology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Kavka M (2008) Reality Television: Affect and Intimacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Kilborn, R. W. and Izod, J. (1997) An Introduction to Television Documentary. Manchester: Manchester University Press
Mark Cousins and Kevin MacDonald (1996) (eds). Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of the Documentary. London: Faber and Faber
Moran, A. and Malbon, J. (2006) Understanding the Global TV Format. Bristol: Intellect Books.
Nichols B (1991) Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
Nichols B. (2001) Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
Pagett D. (1998) No Other Way to Tell It: Dramadoc / Docudrama on Television. Manchester: Manchester University Press
Renov M. (1993) Theorising Documentary. London Routledge
Rosenthal A. and Corner J. (2005) (eds.), New Challenges for Documentary Second Ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press
Rothman W. (1997) Documentary Film Classics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Saunders, D. (2007) Direct Cinema: Observational Documentary and the Politics of the Sixties. London: Wallflower
Stubbs. L. (2002) Documentary Filmmakers Speak. New York: Allworth Press
Winston B (1995) Claiming the Real: The Documentary Film Revisited. London: BFI
Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses
The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.
Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.