David MacDougall
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Structuring nonfiction films
in The art of the observer
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Noting the shift from didactic films to new documentary forms in the 1960s, the author looks at the various strategies that filmmakers have devised to structure the new material that these forms produce. Although filmmakers generally consider the structure of their films while shooting them, the prospect of editing a large body of material can still seem daunting. Unlike fiction films, the contents of documentaries often emerge only during the filming, and their construction can take many forms, often without a strict chronology. This chapter examines a wide range of structural styles and modes of organisation, and goes on to describe the strategies the author employed in making a series of five films at a boarding school in India.

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The art of the observer

A personal view of documentary


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