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MFCO223 Documentary and Reality Media

The politics and aesthetics of representing reality through documentary, reality television and social media.

This paper is a historical analysis of documentary film in conjunction with contemporary reality media, including television and the internet. It will trace the technical and social transformations of documentary and reality media practice from the development of hand-held cameras and synchronous sound to digital imaging, remediation and transmedia participation. The paper will also explore the ethical, ideological and philosophical implications of different approaches to documenting reality. Assessments will involve both critical and creative projects with documentary practices.

Paper title Documentary and Reality Media
Paper code MFCO223
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2018
Domestic Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for 2018 have not yet been set
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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54 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
Teaching staff
Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Kevin Fisher and Dr Rosemary Overell
Course readings on Blackboard
Learning Outcomes
  • Communicate effectively in written, visual and verbal form regarding documentary theory and practice.
  • Critically evaluate arguments and positions regarding the functions and effects of documentary and reality media.
  • Demonstrate a cultural understanding of the expression of identity and difference (ethnic, racial, gender, sexual orientation) through documentary and reality media, with an emphasis on the bicultural context of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
  • Grasp the ethical issues embedded in the various modes of documentary and reality media practice.
  • Demonstrate environmental and general information literacy regarding claims around the presentation of factual data on issues such as climate change and social justice within documentary and reality media.
Paper Structure
Topics include:
  • Definitions and modalities of documentary
  • Documentary movements
  • Televised documentary and the rise of reality media
  • Reality media and the internet
  • Concept test: 20%
  • Critical essay: 30%
  • Creative project: 20%
  • Final exam: 30%
A basic understanding of film and media analysis
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

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Not offered in 2018

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system