Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hand Gestures

(photo courtesy the filmmaker's Twitter)

Il Gesto delle mani/ Hand Gestures
dir. Francesco Clerici, 2015, Italy

I do wonder if there is a documentary equivalent of the heritage film, dedicated to celebrating national aesthetic and historical traditions. Hand Gestures would probably fit the bill and is in fact produced by a century-old firm specializing in bronze sculpture, the Battaglia Artistic Foundry. On a literal level, the film could be seen as an advertisement of sorts for the Foundry and for Velasco Vitali's sculptures. But it easily transcends this as a creative documentary with both formal rigor and a clear aesthetic eye for the process of art creation.

There has been a recent cycle of documentaries about artisanal crafts, but what immediately strikes me about Hand Gestures is the adoption of certain aspects of the poetic-doc form rather than a more familiar character-driven format. It's not a slavish fit with the genre, as the film uses a faster montage,  for instance, but the lack of voiceover narration and minimal spoken word pushes the spectator to experience the pace and subtextual narrative of the sculpture process. Not only does Hand Gestures excite me to be studying contemporary documentary but it also inspires me to write about it.

The use of archival footage is both entirely legible in its historicity (unlike many "craft" documentaries, Hand Gestures suggests continuity between now and then) and related to experimental activation of archival footage in the work of Forgacs, Loznitsa, Ujica, etc. Most of all, it provides a lyrical structuring device for the documentary.

Hand Gestures is currently on the festival circuit, having won a critics prize at Berlin Film Festival. Here's hoping this film gets a broader theatrical or video distribution stateside.

Thursday, April 09, 2015


dir. Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ilisa Barbash, 2009, US
available on DVD or via iTunes

My list of shame is long, and I am a late comer to the entire Sensory Ethnography Lab work, and I have to admit some trepidation approaching Sweetgrass. After all, I have had a tendency to be underwhelmed by some of the critical favorites in recent documentary (Stories We Tell, Act of Killing, and others). Yet, I was blown away by the film, I believe because it confounded my expectations in two ways: it did not fully fit the mold of the contemporary poetic documentary, nor did it exactly play the role of slow cinema in the way I thought it might. 

The key to both is that Sweetgrass does not restrict itself to static long takes shot at a wide distance. Indeed, those shots are there, but camera movements (handheld and controlled) and close shots balance the shooting style. My understanding of Sensory Ethnography is that it balances the objective poetic-observational shots with strategies that suggest the phenomenological aspect of its subject. Watching the film, it also occurred to me that Sweetgrass fits what David Bordwell calls parametric narration, in which the stylistic system of the film develops (partly) independently of the meaning structure. This is an idea I'll have to reflect on and develop.

I was also surprised how much a traditional Griersonian spirit lay at the heart of the film. Not exactly an issue film but a objectifying eye to how ranching is declining in the contemporary American economy and Western environment. It's a theme not spelled out in detail or hit over the head, but it does sustain the film, through its portrait of the shepherds to the final titles.

Probably my experience of the film was colored by seeing it in 35mm - a transfer from video and a sonic remix from low-quality recording, apparently, but still, quite gorgeous. The low-light videography in particular is amazing, with images at times barely registering but somehow still affective. 

I definitely look forward to watching more Sensory Ethnography work.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Classical Cinema SIG for SCMS?

On Twitter, I tossed out a quick idea that maybe it's time for there to be a Scholarly Interest Group (SIG) for SCMS geared toward those of us who work on classical cinema. There is a good reasons there hasn't been one up until now: SIGs have emerged to champion emerging research areas or those historically overlooked in the fields of US- and Canadian-based cinema and media studies. Classical Hollywood in particular was the canonical and culturally dominant hegemon at the center of film studies stretching back through the history of the Society, going to the SCS days. Why carve out a interest group niche for something that was already established and widespread?

I think there are two reasons it's time to do just that. First, it's hard for me not to see SIGs gaining in importance in SCMS. There's currently not anything like the divisions at the MLA Convention, neatly organized along clear subdisciplinary lines. Maybe they'll never have that rigidity or clarity. But the conference's and society's continued growth means that there's going to be increasing pressure for sub-division, and the SIGs and Caucuses are a logical mechanism to manage this pressure. If these do become more important, than SIGs no longer need to be limited by the emerging or "minority" approaches in the discipline, but even heretofore dominant approaches may find a need for organizational representation.

Second, classical cinema studies is not as dominant as it used to be. There are still a good number of papers on classical Hollywood at the conference, but not as many as there used to be. Papers on the studio periods of other national cinemas are much sparser. I wouldn't want to put forth the case for a SIG as a rearguard action to preserve the status quo of a canon - it's great that both contemporary cinema and alternative practices are getting more of their due. But a SIG can provide a form and cohesion to what now feels scattershot. SIGs provide community and help for a collective agenda setting and in the process raise the profile for excellent work that is already being done.

These goals seem particularly vital because classical cinema studies is actually a dynamic area now, hardly dead despite the sense of many in the field that the area is too well charted and everything has already been said. Not to make an exhaustive list, I would point to a few trends worth highlighting:

  • The availability of films (via video, cable TV, etc) has radically transformed our understanding of the period, both popularly and academically.
  • An generational difference from the period compared to the flurry of scholarship in the 1970s and 80s means that scholars have a different relation to the period and are asking different questions. 
  • Scholarship has increasingly reappraised the criticism contemporary to the films themeselves, opening up a dynamic account of the history of writing on film. The scholars of "useful cinema" have impacted how we see even the history of entertainment cinema.
  • Work in other areas, such as transitional cinema, have challenged and refined canonical accounts of classical cinema. Incidentally, this is one reason I think limiting the purview to "classical Hollywood" would be a mistake.
  • There is sometimes a sense of stalled impasse after the theory/history debates of the 1990s, but I see an opportunity. Classical cinema is one key area in which scholars often work across these disciplinary traditions and combine them in innovative ways.

For these reasons and more, I would love to see a Classical Cinema SIG. I honestly don't know how much groundswell of support the idea would have, but it's worth putting the idea out there.

Monday, April 06, 2015

SCMS2015 Reflections

It's remarkable to go back and read my posts after previous SCMS conferences because some things are still the same for me, and others have changed. This year, I embraced the conference as specialized tracks rather than attempt a generalist sampling. In all, I felt much happier doing this, though I am sure I missed terrific papers that way.

Terrific online schedules. I used the Guidebook app and loved it. The Sched website version is also great. I appreciate the work of the conference organizers in providing these and getting them out in advance.

Conference is too long. I've said this before, but it bears repeating. The conference is too long. Yes, I know people can go for only part of the time, but that's actually a problem. Gone is the sense of a shared conference experience. In a 2 day conference I end up seeing more papers than in a 5 day. This is because SCMS is about more than papers, certainly, but it's also because the exhausting schedule is not as conducive to the presentation and exchange of ideas as smaller conferences.

Scheduling is too tight. Expecting 4 papers and a robust Q and A to fit into 1h45m is not realistic in most cases. My panel experienced technical difficulties that ate into presentation and question time, but beyond my experience I can say that the only active Q and A sessions I saw were for panels of 3 presenters. Which I gather SCMS discourages.

We need lunch. The conference length or overall schedule has some major constraints, but if I could change one thing, it would be to add a proper lunch break each day and prioritize common breaks in the scheduling.

Conference hotels are getting better. At least in terms of conference room size and facilities, common meeting areas. The breakfast at the Fairmont was a nice addition to the conference experience.

SIGs are growing but still underutilized. I do think that Caucuses and SIGs provide the best way forward of achieving a manageable scale within an unwieldy conference. But they still do not involve a majority of the membership or anything approaching.

Weirdly enough, each time I attend the conference I find it an ungainly conference with problems, but I always enjoy it and value the experience. I do look forward to Atlanta.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SMCS 2015

I'm heading to Montreal tomorrow for the SCMS conference. As always, I look forward to a rewarding time catching up with colleagues and getting (however partially) about the best snapshot of the field I could imagine. 

I will be contributing to the SCMS general conference twitter feed. The idea this year it to have a feed less about live-tweeting panels and more about general observations. 

My panel will be at Saturday, at 1:00pm. I'm excited to be in great company.

Film Festivals and the ‘Creative Turn’ in Documentary

Aida Vallejo (University of the Basque Country) 
“A Niche for Creativity: Defining Documentary in the Festival Circuit”
Ezra Winton (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design)
“Documentary, Film Festivals, and Distribution of the Sensible”
Maria-Paz Peirano (University of Kent)
“Expanding Boundaries: Film Festivals and the Emergence of ‘Creative’ Documentary Filmmaking in Chile”
Chris Cagle (Temple University)
“Character as Aesthetic Problem in the Festival Documentary”

Hope to see many of you there.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Workingman's Death

Workingman's Death
dir. Michael Glawogger, 2005, Austria
available on DVD or via iTunes

This film is now a decade old and therefore less contemporary than others I am watching for this project. But it's been on my list of shame for a while and moreover, I feel it's worth adding some films more readily accessible from time to time. 

Glawogger was, before his untimely death, a prominent documentary auteur and very influential for a vein of poetic documentary popular today, at least on the festival circuit. Workingman's Death resists the kind of documentary meaning we might expect out of the difficult, challenging subject matter we see. Critic Michael Atkinson writes, "Glawogger's film may be thematically loose-jointed, but Wolfgang Thaler's cinematography is the glue." However, the film does have thematic resonances, even if the spectator has to do much of the work for them. And, thematically, too, the refusal of certain explanation is itself meaningful; Glawogger seems to suggest that globalization is important for understanding labor but does not explain everything about it, either as economic fact or human condition. 

Setting aside the big picture, though, I'd like to focus on Atkinson's second assertion, which I do agree with. Take three consecutive shots in the opening Ukraine mining sequence. The first is static but not a posed shot, the second is a reactive pan as a miner appears above the hilltop, the last is a presentational pose setting up an ironic juxtaposition with a Leninist statue.

Whereas the last kind of shot is now common, even cliché, in documentary today, the first two show a real ability to balance compositions that are unusual yet harmonious without distracting from the subject. This is true, also in interviews and interior observation shots:

Looking back from the vantage of ten years now, what's striking about Workingman's Death is not only how influential Glawogger's approach is to poetic documentary but also how it doesn't fully live up to my expectations of what an aestheticized poetic doc would look like.

For instance, even the character-driven issue film Where Heaven Meets Hell (Sasha Friedlander, 2012) films the sulphur mines of Kawah Ijen with more striking beauty, both in composition and color. Some of this may reflect the developments of digital cameras and color correcting software, as well as filmmaker/audience expectations of how either can lend production values to documentary. But that's a larger story.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Autofocus (2013)

dir. Boris Poljak, 2013, Croatia
genre: observational short
not currently in distribution

Autofocus is an observational documentary but with more of a candid-camera approach. Rather than having close interaction between camera and social actor, director Poljak places fixed cameras on a landmark church (St. Nicholas at Nin) and records the tourists who come to visit the sight. The tight framing and distanciation are somewhat reminiscent of Scott Stark's Posers, but rather than comment ironically on its subjects, Autofocus gives a humanizing portrait of the various anonymous visitors.

One of my ongoing polemics is that documentary critics and especially scholars misread what observational cinema does because they filter the genre through the realism debates of post-1970s film theory. This polemic will take more work to flesh out, but for now I'll point out one way contemporary observational cinema can play with narration. There's a kind of question-answer game, wherein the film will introduce an ambiguous shot that is explained by the following shot. In this case, tourists, a father and son, do strange poses that initially do not make much sense. Only in the next shot does the film reveal the mother down the hill, taking photographs. With the telephoto, we are lacking the proper angle for framing but can retroactively read the poses against the church backdrop.

This is not an earth-shattering strategy, but it is one shared with more poetic docs (Abendland comes to mind) and suggests how observational doc is not reducible to naive realism.

Friday, March 13, 2015

MLA 2016 calls for papers

The 2016 MLA Convention will take place in Austin, Texas, January 7 to 10. The deadline for submitting through pre-constituted panels is coming up, as soon as this weekend, so I wanted to highlight a number that might be of interest to film studies scholars. In culling this list I have overlooked a lot: many panels are open to both literature and film as objects of studies and other touch on new media studies. The panels below have a majority focus on film.

Due dates are March 15, unless otherwise noted.

  • 1968 in Global Cinema [call]
  • Adaptation in World Cinema [call]
  • Austin Plays Itself [call]
  • Cinema and Cultural Memory [call]
  • Cinema and Public Spheres in Franco's Spain [call] (Mar. 18)
  • Francophone Media/na/tions [call]
  • The Ideological Space(s) of Italian Cinema and Television [call] (Mar. 20)
  • Latin American Film and Nation in the 21st Century [call]
  • Out of the Past: An Examination of Jewish Characters in Contemporary Romanian Cinema [call]
  • Trauma in Recent Cinema [call]
  • Women and Recent Francophone/Anglophone African Cinemas [call]

Anyone can propose a paper, but one must be a MLA member to present at the convention. [FAQs]

Monday, March 09, 2015

Contemporary Documentary Project: Beep

Kim Kyung-man, 2014, South Korea
genre: experimental documentary
not in general distribution

Beep is a short experimental documentary; actually, I would probably classify it as an essay film. Beep compiles South Korean anti-communist government films from the 1960s and 70s and adds a found soundtrack of a nonfiction account of a boy martyr who purportedly because he resisted North Korean soldiers. It's easy to use such material ironically, as fodder for camp, but I am impressed by how Beep is purposive with its historical material. Rather than using the found footage to signal an "then" to contrast with "now," it wants to trace a lineage of South Korean jingoism and propaganda that, I believe the film to imply, never fully went away. I'm not always a fan of Foucauldian genealogy, but this is genealogy in the best sense.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Actress (2014)

dir. Robert Greene, 2014, USA
genre: self-reflexive portrait documentary
available on iTunes or via Cinema Guild on-demand 
(DVD release presumably forthcoming)

I saw Actress only after reading director Robert Greene's manifesto about the "renaissance in documentary culture" which has seen "collapsing walls between fiction, nonfiction and art cinema." After his pronouncements and the many critical accolades (Bilge Ebiri calls it one of the best documentaries he's ever seen), I have to say I came to the film with higher expectations. Yes, I noticed the self-reflexive commentary on documentary performance in this portrait of Wire actress Brandy Burre; Burre is indeed a remarkably self-confident and camera-aware documentary subject. The value of Actress is that asks the spectator to evaluate the effect of this kind of self-consciousness on documentary, pitched somewhere between dramaturgy and Erving Goffman's performance-of-self. The tight framing of the climactic interviews additionally makes the emotion feel self-consicous. What I did not get an ontological unsettling of what documentary and fiction do (from Ebiri: "the entire film is dancing on this knife’s edge of real and make-believe"), or a sense of revolutionary documentary form. Other portrait docs create a "melodrama" out of real stories and problems, and others have moments of self-reflexivity. Perhaps that's just a matter of raised expectations or even of seeing on video rather than theatrically. Actress is a good documentary but not nearly one of the best I've ever seen.

One thing I did really appreciate in the film is Greene's eye both in filming and editing. There is one scene in which Burre's ex-partner, Tim, removes holiday lights after a Christmas party. It is a simple series of shots, but so simply captures the emotional tenor of their relationship through visual means. And while the slow-motion shots felt like filler to me, there are other, equally lovely video shots of the town and the landscape which give an emotional punctuation to Burre's story. As for the film's pace and structure, there is a wonderful sense of conflict that develops out of the mundanity of Burre's daily life. Greene does a good job of capturing just a sense of tedium which forms the status quo of the film's exposition, and it makes the identity and relationship crisis of the second half of the film that much more pronounced.

Finally, I valued in Actress what I might value in any character-driven documentary: the way Burre's story touches on bigger issues of work-life balance, of women's self-identity in a patriarchal culture, and of the sexism of theatrical and television casting. To take the issue of age-bound casting, this is something we all might have a knowledge of, but Actress shows the human toll on the women actors whose livelihood is made more difficult than men's. 

Monday, March 02, 2015

Men With Balls (2013)

Men With Balls
dir. Kristóf Kovács, 2013, Hungary
genre: character-driven documentary
currently not in distribution

I actually prefer the original title of this film, Besence Open, which captures the ironic juxtaposition of the conceit: a largely Roma and largely unemployed village in Southwest Hungary receives a grant to built a tennis court. A town with no tennis experience and a largely dispirited existence then must learn what is largely a rich person's sport. It's the kind of hook for either festival or television audiences, with its overlay of a Bad News Bears kind of sports drama on top of an issue documentary about social marginalization, economic development, and life in Hungary under the EU.

And I don't mean this in a disparaging way; even if European documentaries are on balance more tonally somber and contemplative than their US counterparts, there's still a lot of interesting work being done to embrace showmanship and experiment with the possibilities of the "new documentary." Formally, Men With Balls balances a playful tone (folk-ish scoring and plucked violin refrains) and well-composed shots of the village with more observational footage that gives a composite portrait of the social actors. Ultimately, the mayor emerges as the central character in the character-driven format.

I don't think it's spoiling too much to say that Men With Balls lacks a redemptive or even cathartic arc. Rather than intertwining the sports and issue subplots, the film actually thematizes how difficult it is do this kind of culture-driven economic development.

Something about it reminded me of The Overnighters. On the one hand that latter film has a richer and more extensive observational approach - and overall feels like a bleaker film. On the other hand, both films find a narrational solution to match the worldview of their main character, Biblical morality play in Overnighters, realist optimism in Men With Balls.

Monday, February 09, 2015

CFP: Television and Performance


Journal of Film & Video
Issue on Television & Performance

Deadline June 1, 2015

As television studies follows the ever-expanding implications of the 'small screen,' the place of the performer in television increasingly demands critical attention. How does performance impact--and how is it impacted by--the shifting landscape of television technology, production, and exhibition? What is the performer's agency (or authorship) in television production? How does the scale of television (both in terms of varying screen sizes and hours of content) intersect with acting? What are the implications of performance across televisual genres and taste formations, in places like 'quality' dramas, situation comedies, and reality TV? We invite articles that explore the television acting as practice, as business, and as discourse. We are especially interested in articles that address the following:

  • Acting across varying television genres and taste formations, from 'quality' programs to situation comedies and reality TV
  • Television performance within broadcast, cable, and online distribution and exhibition models
  • Acting as authorship, labor, agency within television production
  • Comparative studies of television and film performance, movement between television and film performance
  • Casting practices
  • Acting and identity/representation
  • Implications of television technology for performance
  • Historical and contemporary reception of television acting
  • Stardom, celebrity and television performance
  • Individual vs. Ensemble acting
  • Television performance and historiography
  • Television acting and performance studies
  • Medium/long form storytelling and acting
  • Television news, satire, and performance
  • Transnational labor flows of television acting

The Journal of Film & Video is a blind, peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Illinois Press. All submissions to the JFV should be typed and double-spaced. Articles should be approximately 12-35 typewritten pages in the MLA Style. For more information, visit our website at

Submissions for this special issue should be sent electronically to Stephen Tropiano, editor, to: jfv.speciialissue-AT-gmail-DOT-com

Your name must not appear anywhere on your essay. When submitting your essay, please include in your e-mail the title of your essay and complete contact information (full name, mailing address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address). If you have any questions, feel free to email Stephen Tropiano, editor.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

CFP: Romanian New Wave edited volume

Readings of the Romanian New Wave 
(edited anthology)

Proposal Deadline: April 30, 2015

When the Cannes Film Festival’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or, was awarded to 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days in 2007, this marked the most prominent success of the internationally acclaimed Romanian New Wave. A number of other films received recognition at international film festivals both in the first and second decade of the 2000s, among them The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu (Puiu, 2005), Police, Adjective (Porumboiu, 2009), Aurora (Puiu, 2010), Child’s Pose (Netzer, 2013), and The Japanese Dog (Jurgiu, 2013). New York City’s “Making Waves”—a five day festival devoted to new Romanian films—is slated for its tenth iteration in 2015 and has been covered at length and with copious praise by The New York Times.  For a country of 21 million, this represents a surprising degree of cinematic success, attracting both critical and scholarly attention within Romania and abroad.

We are seeking original essays for an edited collection on the Romanian New Wave from a variety of perspectives. This collection should be of interest to a broad scholarly audience interested in international cinema.  Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The memory of communism in the New Wave. Analyses of films that explicitly or implicitly deal with the communist past [e.g. The Paper Will Be Blue (2006), 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006), I’m an Old Communist Hag (2013)].
  • Post-communist transitions: how does the New Wave dramatize the social changes, relations, and institutions of the past twenty-five years?
  • Representations of age.  Many New Wave films feature children or elderly protagonists. Themes of generational changes, conflicts, or continuities as they dramatize larger social dynamics could be analyzed.
  •  Representations of gender and feminist readings of particular films.
  • Reception studies: responses to the films in Romania and/or abroad.
  • The rhetorical function of the “New Wave:” when did the term start circulating and how do directors, programmers, and/or critics resist or embrace this designation?
  • Comparative readings with other national cinemas.  Such essays could focus on contemporary ‘realist’ films from other countries or on the influence of other ‘New Waves’ on Romanian filmmaking.
  • Essays on the most prominent directors of the New Wave (e.g., Mungiu, Munteanu, Puiu, and Porumboiu).
  • Crucial individuals beyond directors: actors (e.g. Luminita Gheorghiu), prominent technicians (e.g. cinematographer Oleg Mutu), writers, and producers.
  • Film theoretical approaches to the New Wave. For example, Dudley Andrew’s What Cinema Is! reads 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days following Andre Bazin’s understanding of cinema.  This project that could be continued or the work of other film theorists such as Kracauer, Epstein, Balázs, or Deleuze could also be put in productive dialogue with Romanian cinema.
  • Generic analyses of films (contemporary neorealist drama, psychological thriller, family drama, crime films) and of generic trends in the New Wave.
  • Documentary films such as Children Underground (2001), Reconstruction (2001), The Second Game (2014), and The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2010).
  • Analyses of short films (e.g. Cristi Puiu’s Stuff and Dough [2001] regarded as the first Romanian New Wave film). 
  • Analyses of “Making Waves” and other Romanian Film Festivals.  What is the role of international film festivals in the global success of the New Wave?
  • Romanian cinema as “art film.”
  • Single-film analyses of the most recent, very successful films, such as Beyond the Hills (2012), Child’s Pose (2013), The Japanese Dog (2013), and Closer to the Moon (2013)
  • Analysis of the stylistic characteristics of the Romanian New Wave.  Such studies could be focused on the particular use of staging, cinematography, editing or other elements.
  • The importance of digital technology to the Romanian New Wave at the level of production, distribution, and/or reception. 
  • The economic sustainability of Romanian cinema: case studies of how films are financed, produced, and distributed.

A 250-350 word proposal and brief biography are due by April 30, 2015. If you already have a completed essay, we will accept drafts provided they include a 250-350 word summary at the outset.  Completed essays are due by October 1, 2015. Queries are welcomed and encouraged.  Please email Alina Haliliuc and Jesse Schlotterbeck .   

Monday, January 19, 2015

Voices in Contemporary Documentary project

I've kept up this blog with announcements and occasional methodological reflections, but now seems like a good time to revisit the film-based research blogging I’ve done with the 1947 Project and get back to writing more regularly here. I’m not abandoning the 1947 viewing but I’m taking a break from it as I transition into a new research project on documentary. 

So I’ll be starting my Voices in Contemporary Documentary project. The idea is to feature short posts, roughly a new one each week, on a different recent documentary or nonfiction work. It may be major documentary releases, but I am hoping to highlight harder-to-see work from festivals or galleries. Some of this may not be readily available, but I will try to provide video or streaming sources where possible.

In the process, this blogging project gives me an chance to see what is going on in documentary today, without starting from an overly prescriptive aesthetic (though clearly I have certain tastes) or from either popular or academic canons. 

For more on my approach to documentary criticism, read here. There is also this earlier round up of recent European docs I like. 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

CFP: Visible Evidence XXII


Visible Evidence XXII conference

August 19-23, 2015
proposals due February 7 & 15

Visible Evidence, the international conference on documentary film and media, now in its 22nd year, will convene August 19-23rd, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. Hosted by the Institute of Cinema Studies, University of Toronto; the School of Image Arts, Ryerson University and the Department of Cinema and Media Arts, York University, Visible Evidence 22 will address the history, theory, and practice of documentary and non-fiction cinema, television, video, audio recording, digital media, photography, and performance, in a wide range of panels, workshops, plenary sessions, screenings, and special events.

Proposals for pre-constituted panels, individual papers, workshops, and screenings are invited according to the following guidelines.

While proposals may address any aspect of documentary screen cultures, histories and practices, potential presenters should be aware that the conference will highlight the following themes:

1. Documenting the North.

2. Expanded Documentary and Immersive Technologies.

3. The Charge of the Real.

4. Counter-Surveillance and Citizen Journalism.

5. Archival Activism.

6. Genocide/ Trauma/ Memory Projects.

For a fuller description of these themes and instructions for online proposal submission, see the conference website.