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Unit (2019)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2019 academic year.

Documentary (MCC333)

Organisational Unit Creative Media, Arts and Design
Credit Points 4
Description This unit introduces students to the main issues and debates in the study of documentary film from the perspective of history, genre, theory and ethics, as well as its social and cultural functions. The unit shows how documentary techniques influence the way we organise knowledge about the world, and the way we represent ourselves and others. The unit will also have a production component where students will have the option to make a 10-minute documentary from 'found' material.
Unit Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the unit you should be able to:
1. Display a sound knowledge of the principles and development of documentary;
2. Critically communicate their views on the genre & modes of documentary, the documentary film institutions, and documentary film text;
3. Engage effectively and appropriately with information and communication technologies;
4. Understand other cultures and times and an appreciation of cultural diversity;
5. Apply critical skills to other disciplines and to culture at large; and
6. Be ready to turn the theoretical tools and critical insights of the unit to practical use in documentary filmmaking.
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 1 hour per week; screenings: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1.5 hours per week.
Note: Lectures and tutorials for this unit commence in Week 1 of the semester.
Unit Learning Experiences This unit has four modules. The first module covers an overview of documentary film: its evolution, genre, as well as philosophical and theoretical issues surrounding documentary film. The second module deals with the usage of documentary film: how we use documentary as a tool to organise and present our knowledge, and to persuade others in other words: Storytelling. This module also deals with documentary ethics, the balance between our right to know and our duty of care, between social morality and professional success. The third module focuses on audiences with emphasis on 'institutional' documentaries; we look at how the system of documentary production and what national documentary films reveal about their cultures. The fourth is production component utilizing pre-existing 'found footage'.
As this unit encourages learning as a reflective and re-constructive creation of knowledge, our tutorials are designed to aim at an interactive learning process. The tutorial discussions fall into two general categories: issue-based and cinema-based topics. We will explore each week's film within the theoretical framework introduced in the lectures, by investigating documentary forms, cinematic styles and themes. Tutorial groups will accommodate up to 20 students.
Assessment utorial Presentation:
A 20 minute presentation (plus Q&A) with a one page point-form summary of the presentation

Film Critique & Essay:
Review the film with emphasis on the methods used in capturing the real. Discuss the cinematic language and the representation of truth and reality.

Production Exercise:
10 minute edit of given material. Students will present their finished documentaries for assessment. They shall be presented during the lecture. Students will work in pairs (or) groups.
Prerequisites Nil.
Exclusions Students who have successfully completed MED333 Documentary may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


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