School of Journalism
(same as FILMS_VS 4370; cross-leveled with FILMS_VS 7370, JOURN 7370). The popularity of documentary film in the past ten years has skyrocketed, and recent award-winning documentaries such as Inside Job (2010), Blackfish (2013), and The Invisible War (2012) are simultaneously entertaining audiences and investigating serious issues like the financial collapse, killer whale captivity, and sex crimes in the military–issues that in the past might have been covered exclusively by investigative journalism. What explains the public’s growing fascination with documentary? How is documentary film reacting to recent transformations in the media landscape? Is it filling a critical need that journalism is no longer willing or able to meet? This course will explore the intersection of these two nonfiction storytelling forms – documentary film and journalism – and examine the role played by advocacy in both modes, as well as the cultural and ethical implications of the convergence between journalism and documentary film. In that it is centered on contemporary documentary film culture, the course also takes advantage of the True/ False Film Festival, and will be host to a conference during Week 6, featuring a number of major visiting filmmakers and film critics. Attendance at some sessions is required. Graded on A-F basis only.