Documentary Thrillers: a new genre

Course Dates: 10/05/21 - 26/07/21
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online
Documentaries can be every bit as entertaining and suspenseful as a Hitchcock thriller. What happens next, whose side are we on? The Insider and Dark Waters are suspense films based on shocking historical events but recent documentaries Touching the Void and Searching for Sugar Man are equally gripping thrillers. For Sama is a documentary and Capernaum a fiction film but both share the neorealism of Bicycle Thieves.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £97.00

This course has now finished

Course Code: HF013

Finished Mon, eve, 10 May - 26 Jul '21

Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

2. Documentary became the new fiction in the 1990s, later developing into a new genre. Documentaries became the new thrillers: The Fog of War, Capturing the Friedmans, Bowling for Columbine, Man on Wire, Free Solo, Touching the Void, I Am Not Your Negro. Even Marianne and Leonard keeps you on the edge of your seat - will they meet again? It has become more difficult for cinematic plot lines to keep up with jaw-dropping reality in an age of fake news and reality-twisting tweets, but we can turn to All the President’s Men for understanding or to the re-enactment of Frost/Nixon for verification. Truth is now not just stranger than fiction but more terrifying.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

We will trace the development of reality films from their origins, to John Grierson, through cinema verite and Michael Moore to the present, where we can see the development of documentary conventions. Our top twenty best documentaries will hopefully include: Man With a Movie Camera, Sans Soleil, Koyaanisqatsi, and Nanook of the North.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Identify the conventions of documentary
Describe the conventions of thrillers
Determine the crossover between the genres to form a new one: the documentary thriller.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

All levels. For those who enjoy viewing and discussing films and are interested in sharing ideas and listening to the views of others.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Introductory lecture followed by whole group and small group work, viewing film extracts. No homework.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Notepad or other device to take notes. The tutor will provide links to online materials for future research.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other courses in Film Studies under, culture and writing/film studies.

John Wischmeyer

John Wischmeyer (MA in Film Theory) set up, ran and programmed his own cinema in West London and has since taught film studies at the former Gainsborough studio, the BFI and City Lit since 1999, Hitchcock’s centenary year. John has covered a wide range film topics under the banner ‘Cinema Investigates America’ and has a particular interest in and considerable knowledge of Hitchcock, Hollywood studios, American independent cinema and film noir, film technique and style.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.