Documentary Filmmaking

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
28 March 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA PW38 Film and Creative Writing,
BA PW39 Film and Creative Writing (Including Placement Year),
BA PW88 Film and Creative Writing (Including Foundation Year),
BA PWH8 Film and Creative Writing (Including Year Abroad),
BA P303 Film Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA W620 Film Studies,
BA W623 Film Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA W628 Film Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA P500 Multimedia Journalism,
BA P501 Multimedia Journalism (Including Year Abroad),
BA P503 Multimedia Journalism (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This module specialises in documentary filmmaking and introduces the key concepts of documentary filmmaking in practice and theory. We will examine different documentary forms through the work of practitioners such as John Grierson, Molly Dineen, Nick Broomfield and Agnes Varda. Each week there are readings and screenings to inform the seminars. Documentary production skills covered include the formulation of the idea, research methods, assessing contributors, handling access, legal and consent issues, documentary camera/sound recording techniques and documentary editing.

The classes are structured around short lectures, demonstrations and practical exercises. Students work individually as well as in small groups, devising practical projects under the guidance of the tutor. The term culminates with students creating their own individual documentary film.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

1. to provide students with the necessary practical and research skills to produce short documentary films
2. to foster an understanding of production management
3. to give students the opportunity to develop their time management, creative thinking and problem solution skills
4. to develop team working skills within small production teams

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course, students should have:

1. acquired the practical skills necessary to produce short documentary films
2. acquired an understanding of production management
3. gained experience of time management, within the constraints of limited resources
4. developed skills in negotiating / working effectively with others in achieving a common goal
5. experience of documentary research and production

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

The three-hour seminars include theoretical perspectives, practical demonstrations, and practical exercises.


  • Barnouw, Erik. (1993) Documentary: a history of the non-fiction film, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Rabiger, Michael. (2014) Directing the documentary, Burlington, MA: Focal Press.
  • Nichols, Bill. (2017) Introduction to documentary, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Assignment 2: Analytical Essay (2,000 words)     35% 
Practical   Participation Marks    5% 
Practical   Assignment 1: Individual documentary (to be screened on Wednesday 11 December) SUBMISSION ON MOODLE    60% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Nic Blower, email:
Nic Blower
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Dr Mikel Koven
University of Worcester
Senior Lecturer - Film Studies
Available via Moodle
Of 112 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
112 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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