Documentary Filmmaking - FILM6300

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 5 30 (15) Shona Illingworth checkmark-circle


Through technical exercises and presentation of film texts, students will engage with key aspects of non-fiction filmmaking. A series of practical projects will be contextualised through lectures drawing on a number of film texts, looking at examples from the history of the non-fiction film e.g. early cinema, direct cinema, cinema verité, and the film essay. The exercises are an opportunity for students to develop their creative practice. The development of a treatment / proposal leading to the production of final film project will use theory and critical analysis to develop students understanding of documentary practice.

Students will build on existing skills of collaboration (learnt on FILM3080/90 Introduction to Filmmaking), improving competence in the planning, production and editing of practical, creative work. Students will develop an understanding of crucial aspects of non-fiction filmmaking -- in terms of both theory and practice -- and deepen their skills in the critical analysis of such texts. Students will build on existing skills of relating theory and practice, by analysing the implications (e.g. ideological, ethical) of their production decisions; the course will enhance student's ability to reflect self-critically on their own and other student's practical work.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 33
Private study: 267
Total : 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Creative Portfolio (70%)
Essay (2,000 words) (30%)

Reassessment Methods:
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Indicative reading

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The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an understanding of non-fiction filmmaking from formal aspects – such as camerawork, sound recording/design and editing – to practices such as documentary 'casting' and the explicit and implicit truth claims embedded in documentary discourse.
2 Engage with critical debates around representing reality, ethics, performance, authorship, narrative, truth.
3 Identify, critique and engage with a range of technical, formal and narrative practices through which documentary is negotiated
4 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of, and an ability to critically evaluate, relevant theoretical debates students have studied within the programme as a whole.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Understand form and its relationship to content.
2 Engage with critical ideas relating to practice and to apply these ideas to their own work in a variety of forms.
3 Work in flexible, creative and independent ways, showing self-direction and the ability to reflect on one's own practices.
4 Manage time, personnel and resources effectively, by drawing on planning and organisational skills.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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