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Introduction to Documentary, Third Edition


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Table of Contents

1. How Can We Define Documentary Film?
2. Why Are Ethical Issues Central to Documentary Filmmaking?
3. What Gives Documentaries a Voice of Their Own?
4. What Makes Documentaries Engaging and Persuasive?
5. How Did Documentary Filmmaking Get Started?
6. How Can We Differentiate among Documentary Models and Modes? What Are the Poetic, Expository, and Reflexive Modes?
7. How Can We Describe the Observational, Participatory, and Performative Modes of Documentary Film?
8. How Have Documentaries Addressed Social and Political Issues?
9. How Can We Write Effectively about Documentary?
10. I Want to Make a Documentary. Where Do I Start?
Appendix A: Sample Film Project Proposal: Sex with Sam
Notes on Source Material

About the Author

Bill Nichols is Professor Emeritus of Cinema at San Francisco State University. He is author of Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary (IUP), Blurred Boundaries: Questions of Meaning in Contemporary Culture (IUP), and Speaking Truths with Film: Evidence, Ethics, Politics in Documentary.


"Documentary film has never been more popular - nor creatively complex - and Bill Nichols's book gives a concise over-view of the genre while tackling the important ideas, issues, and conundrums that we as filmmakers all face."

-- Mark Lewis * Filmmaker *

"This new edition of Introduction to Documentary is incisive and magisterial, a brilliantly organized and ambitious analysis of that enigmatic, open-ended, and vital are of cinema in which reality is not so much documented as transformed. Nichols addresses with ambition and humility all the key questions about what happens - ethically, aesthetically, and politically - when real people agree to play themselves, and collaborate with the filmmaker to transform their lives for the screen."

-- Joshua Oppenheimer * Director, Producer, Filmmaker *

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