Documentary Production


The yearlong seminar on ethnographic documentary video production is the capstone of the Program in Culture and Media.

The first portion of the course is dedicated to instruction, exercises, and reading familiarizing students with fundamentals of video production and their application to a broad conception of ethnographic and documentary approaches. Assignments undertaken in the fall raise representational, methodological, and ethical issues in approaching and working through an ethnographic and documentary project. Students develop a topic and field site for their project early in the fall term, begin their shooting, and complete a short edited tape by the end of the first semester. This work should demonstrate competence in shooting and editing using HD digital video cameras, professional audio equipment, and Avid non-linear editing systems. Students devote the spring semester to intensive work on the project, continuing to shoot and edit, presenting work to the class and completing their ethnographic documentaries.

Every year the documentaries from the video production seminar are presented in a public screening at Docs On the Edge: A Documentary Showcase. Many of these works have been featured at film festivals and picked up for distribution. To view past festivals and information on the recent documentaries produced, directed, and shot by students in the yearlong seminar on ethnographic documentary video production, please visit the recent documentaries page on the Department of Anthropology website.