Documentary Storytelling: a Toolbox for Analyzing Non-Fiction Narratives

Documentary Storytelling: a Toolbox for Analyzing Non-Fiction Narratives


International Workshop
7,14,21,28 November 2021

in collaboration with the
Center for Media and Film Studies (CMFS)

Course Facilitator: Eduardo Rencurrell Díaz, Ph.D 

The Idea
The emergence of new platforms, the dynamics of these production processes, as well as the rise that the gaze towards the real has taken in recent times have given place to a growingly widespread phenomenology of this audiovisual genre. The widespread phenomenology has work in both ways: due to the increase of the production volume, as well as its social consumption and, as the British Scholar, Stella Bruzzi points in a shorter measure in relation to the previous aspects, an increase of theory related to the genre. The social impact of documentary film is key to understand how influential media has become nowadays in the formation and diffusion of different ideologies. The worldview of millions of people in relation with different issues answers exclusively or relatively to media they have consume, where documentary film plays a key role. Thus, documentary film is nowadays an invaluable source of knowledge and information for sociocultural researchers.

The Aim
This workshop aims to provide participants with fundamental knowledge to understand the formal architecture of the documentary film, willing to help them improving their professional practices. Our theoretical-practical approach will guide you through the de-construction of a documentary through various  exercises. The workshop hopes to educate scholars, especially those who work on history and more specifically on oral history – and other theoretical fields of study- so they gain the relevant knowledge that will allow them to create their own documentaries.  GIRES considers the craft of documentary film making to be of high significance for humanities: the preservation of memory, oral testimonies, culture, tradition and history have been crucial for the formation of national identities. Our participants will gain the freedom, through the knowledge of documentary making, to record their own projects and create useful archives for next generations and the historian of the future.

The Outcome

-Understand with a higher level of clarity documentary film narrative
-Analyzing the craft of making a documentary
Gain the basic knowledge of how to create your own documentary
Explaining fundamental issues about documentary film theory.
Analyzing documentary film by focusing in narrative elements within a documentary film structure.
Differencing the different typologies of documentary film.
-Identifying or conceptualizing the thematic background of a documentary film.
-Evaluating the communicative/expressive dimensions of a documentary film.
Developing a documentary film analysis based on a narrative approach.

The Program

Thematic 1 (Sunday-November 7, 2021)
The pertinence of documentary film analysis within the research project. The objectives of documentary film analysis. The justification of a documentary film sample. The selection of useful theoretical tools for the analysis. The creation of an observation guide. Verifying results of our personal analysis.  Duration: 3 hours  

Thematic 2 (Sunday-November 14, 2021)
Defining documentary film. Debating about objectivity and subjectivity. Differences from fiction and documentary films. The issue of representing reality. Contemporary polemics about documentary film. The relevance of documentary film for social sciences and humanities researchers. Ways of using documentary film in research. What to understand by documentary storytelling? Which ways is documentary storytelling necessary for socio-cultural researchers? Descriptive approach in documentary film analysis. Advantages and disadvantages. Duration: 3 hours  

Thematic 3 (Sunday-November 21, 2021)
Deconstructive approach to documentary film. Possible morphologies. Narrative devices and agents. Analyzing characters, conflict and progression. Identifying structural paradigms. Rhetorical strategies. The use of tropes. The narrative thread and the argumentative lines. Relating images and sounds. The communicative and expressive dimensions of documentary film. Duration: 3 hours  

Thematic 4 (Sunday-November 28, 2021)
Debating about form and content. Bill Nichols representation modalities. The forms of documentary film: direct cinema, testimonial documentary, self-referential documentary, experimental documentary, the docudrama and the reenactment into the documentary, animation documentary. Hermeneutical approach to documentary film: theme, point of view, thesis, objectives, conceptual dimensions, epistemological authority and authorial subjective intervention.  Duration: 3 hours  

The course has a blended format. In each session there will be pre-recorded videos and Live discussion with Dr. Rencurrell. The participants will have unlimited access to the videos during the course so they watch them at their own pace.

Due to the restrictions of Corona Crisis our event (for the time being) will take place virtually and it will have a blended format: synchronous and asynchronous  

  • Dates of Workshop

    GIRES Headquarters (GMT +2)
    7, 14, 21, 28 November 2021

  • Time of Workshop

    15.00 Amsterdam time (AMS)
    (UTC +2)

  • Deadline for Registration

    Early Bird:October 27
    Regular:November 5

  • Duration


  • Acceptance notification

    Day of Registration

  • Registration fee

    Early Bird=150 euros
    (register by October 27)

    Regular fee = 200 euros
    (register after October 27) 

  • Accreditation

    Official Certificate issued by GIRES

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GIRES_International Workshop:Documentary Storytelling

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