The Act of Documenting: Documentary Film in the 21st Century

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9781501309175: The Act of Documenting: Documentary Film in the 21st Century
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Documentary has never attracted such audiences, never been produced with such ease from so many corners of the globe, never embraced such variety of expression. The very distinctions between the filmed, the filmer and the spectator are being dissolved. The Act of Documenting addresses what this means for documentary's 21st century position as a genus in the “class” cinema; for its foundations as, primarily, a scientistic, eurocentric and patriarchal discourse; for its future in a world where assumptions of photographic image integrity cannot be sustained. Unpacked are distinctions between performance and performativy and between different levels of interaction, linearity and hypertextuality, engagement and impact, ethics and conditions of reception. Winston, Vanstone and Wang Chi explore and celebrate documentary's potentials in the digital age.

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About the Author:

Brian Winston is the Lincoln Professor at the University of Lincoln, UK. He has held senior academic posts at universities both in the UK and the USA and is a visiting professor at Beijing Normal University. In 1985, he won an Emmy for documentary script-writing and he is the editor of The Documentary Film Book.

Gail Vanstone is the coordinator of the Culture & Expression program at York University, Canada. She is concerned with the affordances of new technology for the documentary and women's film production. She is the author of D is for Daring, a history of Studio D the feminist film unit at Canada's National Film Board.

Wang Chi is a lecturer at the Communication University of China and a doctoral student at the University of Lincoln, UK. He has published widely on the documentary in Chinese, including the edited volumes (with Brian Winston) Documenting and Methods (2014).

Review:

The Act of Documenting is a first work of its kind (barring anthologies) that I have come across in the last five years that eclectically distills scholarship in ... [multiple] areas to effectively map and analyze the field of contemporary documentary studies.” – Rahul Mukherjee, Film Quarterly

“The Act of Documenting, by Brian Winston, Gail Vanstone, and Wang Chi, is an elegantly argued, complex investigation of the ethics of each phase of documentary media making. It is in this context that they take on the ethics of The Act of Killing. Once I found that they would implicitly challenge even the ethics of my relation to my subjects (not villains but people I admire) in my own media making, the whole book became totally engrossing.” - Julia Lesage, Professor Emerita, University of Oregon, of Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media

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