Full Title:Documentary Production: Theory and Practice
Language of Instruction:English
Module Code:MEDA I7006
Credits: 5
Valid From:Semester 1 - 2014/15 ( September 2014 )
Module Delivered in 2 programme(s)
Module Description:This module blends documentary theory with hands-on practice and explores the past, present and future of the documentary film as a system of representation. Students will also work in groups to create their own short documentary film.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to
  1. demonstrate a thorough understanding of the history of the documentary film;
  2. critically analyse the work of leading documentary filmmakers, both past and present;
  3. demonstrate a high level of knowledge of the tools and techniques involved in documentary production;
  4. conceive, develop & pitch an idea for a short documentary film;
  5. work in a group to produce their short own documentary film;

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
The beginnings of factual filmmaking:
Lumiere Brothers; John Grierson: the Father of Documentary; Robert Flaherty and the documentary film
Defying Hollywood: Documentaries in the cineplexes
The conspiracy theories of Nick Broomfield; Documentary as indignation: Michael Moore and the USA; Television entertainment and the growth of Reality TV
Documentary approaches: The social and political context
1920s & 1930s: Soviet Cinema & Vertov; 1930s: The Triumph of the Will & Olympia: Leni Riefenstahl & the Third Reich; 1950s: British Free Cinema (Lindsay Anderson et. al); 1960s: US documentary-making (D.A. Pennebaker)
Ireland and the documentary:
Public Service Broadcasting & the Documentary in RTE/TG4; Gael Force: Radharc, Gael-Linn & TG4;
Documentary from pre-production to broadcast
Developing a pitch; Narrative approach & visual techniques; Research skills for non-fiction programming; interviewing; scripting;
Documentary in the future
Emerging & merging platforms Interactive documentary
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work100.00%

Full Time

Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Presentation Documentary concept & pitch 4 20.00 0 0 n/a 0
Essay Critical analysis of work of selected documentary filmmakers, both historical & contemporary. 1,2,3 30.00 0 0 n/a 0
Group Project Short documentary film & production folder (paperwork) 3,4 50.00 0 0 n/a 0
No Project
No Practical
No End of Module Formal Examination
Reassessment Requirement
No repeat examination
Reassessment of this module will be offered solely on the basis of coursework and a repeat examination will not be offered.
Reassessment Description
100% repeat Continuous Assessment with written and practical elements.

DKIT reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload & Resources

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture n/a 2.00 Every Week 2.00
Independent Study n/a 2.00 Every Week 2.00
Directed Reading n/a 3.00 Every Week 3.00
Tutorial n/a 1.00 Every Week 1.00
Total Weekly Learner Workload 8.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 3.00
This course has no Part Time workload.
Recommended Book Resources
  • Barnouw, E., Documentary: A history of the non-fiction film (2nd Ed.), Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN: 0195078985
  • O'Brien, H, The Real Ireland: The evolution of Ireland in documentary film, Manchester University Press, 2004, ISBN: 0719069076
  • Rabiger, M 2009, Directing the Documentary, 5th Ed., Focal Press [ISBN: 0240810899]
  • Cunningham, Megan 2005, The art of the documentary: ten conversations with leading directors, cinematographers, editors, and producers, New Riders [ISBN: 0321316231]
  • Winston, Brian 2008, Claiming the Real: Documentary: Grierson and Beyond, British Film Institute [ISBN: 1844572714]
  • Jolliffe, G & Zinnes, A 2012, The Documentary Filmmakers Handbook, 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Documentary Filmmaking, 2nd Ed. [ISBN: 1441183671]
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Bruzzi, S, New Documentary: a critical introduction, Routledge, 2000, ISBN: 0415182964
  • Corner, J, The Art of Record: a critical introduction to documentary, Manchester University Press, 1996, ISBN: 0719046866
  • Curran Bernard, S., Documentary Storytelling for Video and Filmmakers, Focal Press, 2003, ISBN: 0240805399
  • Nichols, B., Introduction to Documentary, Indiana University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0253214696
  • Rosenthal, A, Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Videos, 4th Ed. [ISBN: 0809327422]
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources
  • n/a: Bord Scannán na hÉireann: www.filmboard.ie
  • n/a: The Film Institute of Ireland website: www.fii.ie
  • n/a: The British Film Institute website: www.bfi.org.uk
  • n/a: RTE website: www.rte.ie
  • n/a: BBC website: www.bbc.co.uk
  • n/a: Film resource centre: www.filmbase.ie
  • n/a: Digital film-making website: www.dvmoviemaking.com/
  • n/a: Man of Aran (Flaherty, 1934)
  • n/a: Nanook of the North (Flaherty, 1922)
  • n/a: Nightmail (Wright, Watt & Grierson, 1936)
  • n/a: Triumph of the Will (Riefenstahl, 1934)
  • n/a: Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back (Pennebaker, 1967)
  • n/a: Dark Days (Singer, 2000)
  • n/a: Kurt and Courtney (Broomfield,1998)
  • n/a: Bowling for Columbine (Moore, 2002)
  • n/a: Fahrenheit 9/11 (Moore, 2003)
  • n/a: Basque Ball (Medem, 2003)
  • Journal: Sight & Sound
  • Journal: DOX (magazine of the European Documentary Network)
  • Journal: Film Ireland

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
DK_MFILM_8 Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Film and Television Production 4 Mandatory
DK_IMMAT_7 Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts and Technologies 6 Elective