General information

Subject type: Optional

Coordinator: Rafael Suarez Gómez

Trimester: Second and third quarters

Credits: 12

Teaching staff: 

Maria Fernanda Luna Rassa
Carlota Frisón Fernández 
Gina Plana Espinet 

Teaching languages

The course will be taught during the first and second term.


Specific skills
  • E5_Design and make an audiovisual product (consisting of still or moving images), taking into account both its technical and artistic aspects, in all its components

  • E14_Acquire knowledge of the history, aesthetics, evolution and dynamics of cinema, television, radio, press, Internet and video games, how to recognize aesthetics through viewing and analysis

Transversal competences
  • T2_That students have the ability to work as members of an interdisciplinary team either as one more member, or performing management tasks in order to contribute to developing projects with pragmatism and a sense of responsibility, making commitments taking into account the available resources


Creation documentary: script and production is a subject in which you will learn what the creative treatment of reality is, how it has evolved throughout the history of cinema and why. It is a subject that combines a deep reflection on the cinema of the real one with an intense practice of this audiovisual modality by means of the creation of short pieces of montage in camera, sonorous piece, extensive pieces of 20 minutes and filmic critics of reflection on the documentary production . It is a subject that combines theory, reflection and practice in an organic way, understanding that students have already developed a significant knowledge of the audiovisual over the previous three years of GMA studies.


Learning outcomes

- To know the main movements, their most relevant authors and the historical evolution of the documentary genre.
- Have acquired the ability to analyze documentary pieces from an aesthetic, authorial, productive, historical and technical perspective.
- Know how to pre-produce, make and market a documentary effectively and adapted to the type of medium where it will be broadcast.
- Work as a team and autonomously in the development of an audiovisual product assuming the roles of an audiovisual production team.
- Develop a complex thinking about the documentary image, its narrative, the techniques of filming images and differential editing in relation to fiction.

Working methodology

The teaching methodology is based on the presentation and analysis of the documentaries studied in class; in addition to the teacher's aesthetic-historical introduction, the implications of the documentary piece will be analyzed with the participation of the whole class from a social, aesthetic, technical and even epistemological point of view. Students will independently view a group of films (see filmography) that will allow them to have a complete overview of the evolution of the documentary.

The practices will be understood as a workshop in which the progress in the production phases of each documentary produced by the students will be discussed: those images, montages or ideas that each group develops will be worked on with the whole class to facilitate the smooth development of the documentary. There will be practical exercises for the editing of other pieces (trailer and teaser) for the distribution of the documentary and its sending to film festivals.

Each documentary produced by the students: those images, montages or ideas that each group develops will work with the whole class to facilitate the good development of the piece. There will be practical exercises for editing other pieces (trailer and teaser) for the distribution of the documentary.

That is, the methodologies are: exhibition sessions (35%), seminars (15%), conferences (2%), semi-directed activities (20%), debates, case studies (8%), presentations and internships. (20%).

Sessions related to festivals, screenings and museum visits will be subject to changes in their programming.



A1. Introduction to the creative documentary

1.1. A conceptual approach to creative documentary. The documentary universes
1.2.The question of realism, plausibility and authorial commitment
1.3. Classification and categories of documentary
1.4. Principles of documentary creation: Rabiger, Segarra

A2. The Documentary and postmodernity

2.1. Turns in the documentary
2.2. The performative documentary
2.3.The false documentary (mockumentary)
2.4 The autobiographical documentary / subjective twist: Jonas Mekas, Ross Mc.Elwee, Andrés Di Tella, Jonathan Caouette, Alan Berliner, Joaquim Jordà, Chantal Akerman

A3. Documentary and Modern Cinema: the limits of objectivity

3.1. Free Cinema: Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson 
3.2. American direct cinema: Robert Drew, Albert and David Maysles, DA Pennebaker
3.3. The Canadian Candid Eye: Michael Brault
3.4. True cinema and live questioning. The documentary filmmaker as a catalyst. Jean Rouch and Frederick Wiseman.

A4. Origins of the documentary: realism, thought, avant-garde and social use

4.1. The classic documentary. Francis and Robert Flaherty, Margaret Mead
4.2. The documentary and the avant-garde of the 20s and 30s: Dziga Vértov, Walter Ruttmann, Jean Vigo
4.3.  Institutionalization of social cinema. Political and confrontational documentary. John Grierson, Joris Ivens
4.4. National Film Board, BBC and the role of the media in documentary production

A5. The documentary in war and post / conflict contexts

5.1. Transformations of the documentary in World War II
5.2. Germany, Italy and the USA: Frank Capra, Leni Riefenstahl
5.3. Image and rhetoric after the Holocaust: Lanzmann, Resnais, Perlov 
5.4. Documentary cartographies, refuges, migrations and contemporary post / conflicts, rural heterotopias

A6. Postcolonial Documentary. Images of Africa and Latin America

6.1. "Towards a third Latin American cinema": Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile
6.2. Anthropology and documentary. The limits of ethnography Jean Rouch
6.3. Postcolonial documentary and cinema on the margins: Trinh T. Minha
6.4. Counter-archives and new documentary ethnographies

A7. New reflections through the documentary: archival material

7.1. Rediscovery of files and the role of memory
7.2. Foundfootage, techniques and scans of the digital archive
7.3. Other geographies of the autobiographical documentary: Albertina Carri, Noami Kawase, Paz Encina
7.4. Collage in documentary cinema. Maria Luisa Ortega

A8. Transitions
8.1. Documentary essay / reflective twist: essay forms and ways. Chris Marker, Agnés Varda, Ross Mc.Elwee, Alan Cavalier, Andrés Duque
8.2. Dictatorship and transition in Spain: memory and oblivion. Val de l'Omar, Martín Patino, Jaime Chávarri, Llorenç Soler, Jaime Camino
8.3. Becoming Feminism 

8.4 Mutation territories: Ujica, Keiller, Wilkerson, Glavonic, Mograbi, Heise

A9. New documentary images. Expanded and immersive documentary
9.1. Immersive experiences: the interface image
9.2. Virtual Reality: immersion, empathy and interactivity 
9.3. Web documentary 
9.4. Animated documentary
9.5. New circulations in the documentary. festivals



B1. The idea

b1.1. Idea, history, synopsis
b1.2. Types, moles and re / search
b1.3. Documentation and sources

B2. The documentary script

b.2.1 Characteristics of the documentary script
b.2.2. Shooting script
b.2.3. Script in the assembly

B3. The characters

b.3.1. Selection and previous work
b.3.2. Visual and sound treatment
b.3.3. Ethical issues in working with the characters

B4. Structures, narrative resources and staging

b.4.1. Narrative organization of documentary material
b.4.2. Observe or provoke
b.4.3. Sequence, duration and prey
b.4.4. Global treatment and conception
b.4.5. Sound, word and music
b.4.6. Narrator, interview, dialogue

B5. Realization, look and documentary powder

b.5.1. Filming models
b.5.2. Point of view
b.5.3. Material conditioners

B6. Archive and document: visual and sound material

b.6.1. Heterogeneous traces of the real
b.6.2. Integration of materials and style
b.6.3. Dynamization, post-production, animation

B7. Documentary editing

b.7.1. Script and editing
b.7.2. Rhythm and structure
b.7.3. The assembly of the word
b.7.4. Assembly and speech

B8. Production, distribution and exhibition: the documentary, the industry, film festivals.

b.8.1. Design of the financing and marketing strategy
b.8.2. Production and exhibition circuits: documentary film festivals 
b.8.3. Documentary platforms and interactive documentary
b.8.4. Trends in documentary production and distribution.

Block A and Block B will be worked on simultaneously, they will not be consecutive

Learning activities

Final Exam (one per term)

You can choose to take one exam per term or a single final exam.

The student must obtain a minimum grade of 5 in order for the other assessment activities to be taken into account in calculating the grade.

[competencies: G2, G3, G5, E14]

Camera mounting piece

Ideation, planning and recording of a 5-minute piece for camera assembly.
Individual activity. Each student must choose a time slot from among the 24 hours of the day in which they will perform their piece; the time must be reflected at some point in the video.
The topic and format will be discussed in class. 

[competencies: G2, G5, E14, E5]

Creation documentary of 15 to 20 minutes
Elaboration of a 15 to 20 minute creation documentary.
Activity in teams of 3-5 people with defined functions (responsible but collaborative)
The pre-production, script, production, editing, post-production and marketing design / dissemination plan phases will be covered.

[competencies: G2, G3, G5, E14, E5, T2]

Film reviews

Specialized film criticism: aesthetics, structure, significance in the history of the documentary, materials, narrative structure, etc.
They must be handed in the following Tuesday at the end of the explanation of the topic with which they are related.
Delivery must be on paper and by Turnitin
Two pages maximum, footnotes at the end and unlimited. The bibliography used must be specialized.
Spelling check (-0'25 points for foul)
Plagiarism will equate to a score of 0 points in the entire film criticism section, which means that 15% of the final grade will be lost.

Sound piece

Creation of a sound cartography. On 5 minutes of already recorded images from the Documentary of creation of 20 minutes a new sound field will be made through recordings of new audios. Implications: active and reflective listening. 
Group activity, formed by the teams already constituted for the elaboration of Documentary of creation.

[competencies: G2, G3, G5, E14]

Visits to video-installation documentary spaces (subject to availability)

Evaluation system


a) Final Examination (25%)

b) Individual Work (25%)

    b1.Camera mounting piece (10%)

    b2. Film reviews (15%)

c) Collective work (50%)

    c.1 Documentary of 15 to 20 min. (30%) 

    c.2 Sound noise (10%)

    c.3 Teaser (5%)

    c.4 Trailer (5%)


d) Compulsory face-to-face activities:

Visits to video installations, Documentary selection of the month and film and documentary festivals (subject to programming)



The student must obtain a minimum grade of 5 in the final exam in order for the other assessment activities to be taken into account to calculate the grade.



Only the theoretical exam is retrievable. In the event that they have taken two partials, the average of which is suspended, the students will have to take a single exam to recover the whole subject.


FILMOGRAPHY (This filmography is compulsory, therefore it is a matter of evaluation).

Nanook the Eskimo (Francis and Robert Flaherty, 1922)

Berlin, symphony of a great city (Walter Ruttmann, 1928)

The camera man (Dziga Vertov, 1929)

Rain (Joris Ivens, 1929)

Land without bread 'Las Hurdes' (Luis Buñuel, 1933)

Night mail (Harry Watt, Basil Wright, 1936)

The triumph of the will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1936-37)

The crazy masters (Jean Rouch, 1955)

Night and fog (Alain Resnais, 1955)

Letters from Siberia (Chris Marker, 1957)

Me, a black (Jean Rouch, 1958)

Primary (Robert Drew, 1960)

Chronicle of a summer (Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin, 1961)

The war game (Peter Watkins, 1965)

52 Sundays (Llorenç Soler, 1966)

Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman, 1967)

salesman (Brothers Albert and David Maysles, 1968)

The disenchantment (Jaime Chávarri, 1976)

Grabbing people (Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo, 1977)

Dear executioners (Basilio Martin Patino, 1977)

Our voice of earth, memory and future (Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva, 1982)

Reassembling (Trin T. Min-ha, 1982)

Sans Soleil (Chris Marker, 1983)

Tokyo Ga (Wim Wenders, 1985)

The thin blue line (Errol Morris, 1988)

Be and have (Nicolas Philibert, 1992)

London (Patrick Keiller, 1994)

Old Houses (Basilio Martin Patino, 1996)

Monkeys like Becky (Joaquim Jordan, 1999)

Shadow train (Jose Luis Guerín, 1999)

The gleaners and the gleaner (Agnès Varda, 2000)

Bright Leaves (Ross McElwee, 2002)

The blondes (Albertina Carri, 2003)

tarnation (Jonathan Caouette, 2003)

Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)

No man movie (Chantal Akerman, 2005)

Santiago (Joao Moreira-Salles, 2006)

wide awake (Alan Berliner, 2006)

Stage gamein (Eduardo Coutinho, 2007)

Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)

48 (Susana De Sousa Dias, 2009)

Nostalgia for light (Patricio Guzmán, 2010)

Wood knife (Renate Costa, 2010)

5 Broken Cameras (Emai Burnat and Guy Davidi, 2011)

Resistance in the black line (Amado Villafaña, Saúl Gil and Rafael Mojica, Silvestre Gil Zarabata, 2011)

Bring the lights (Sandra Sánchez, 2011)

Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul, 2012)

Machine gun or Typewriter? (Travis Wilkerson, 2015)

New cinema (Eryk Rocha, 2016)

I am not your black (Raul Peck, 2016)

Final essay for utopia (Andrés Duque, 2016)

Many children, a monkey and a castle (Gustavo Salmerón, 2017)




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Catalan, Josep María. (2010), The necessary impurity of the documentary. Líbero, Journal of the Postgraduate Program of the Cásper Faculty, Sao Paulo, 13 (25), 45-56.

Luna, Maria. (2018). Mapping heterotopias in Colombian documentary films. In Iván Villarmea and Filippa Rosario (Eds.). New approaches to cinematic spaces. Routledge. pp. 166-178

Gómez Segarra, Manolo (2016). I want to make a documentary (2nd ed.). Rialp Editions.

Minguez, Noberto (ed.). (2019). Itineraries and forms of the audiovisual essay. Gedisa.

Sucari, Jacobo (2017) From Public Space, To The City As Organic Hypertext. Kult-Ur 4 (7), 199-214. 

Barreiro, Maria Soliña (2013). Of wood and fog: Critical outline of the Spanish documentary cinema. Iconic 6, 20-25.ítico_del_cine_documental_español_Icónica_no_6_otoño_2013_Cineteca_Mexicana

Carrero, Pilar, Talens, Jenaro (2018). The documentary story (2nd ed.). Chair.

Cuevas Efrén (2012) “Autobiographical cinema in Spain: an overview”, RILCE 28 (1), 106-125.

Luna, Maria, Mora, Pablo and Samper, Daniela (Eds.) (2021). Territory and memory without borders. New strategies for thinking the real thing. Alados, Editorial PUJ, Uniminuto.

Barnow, Erik (1998). The documentary. History and style. Gedisa.

Nichols, Bill (2013). Introduction to the documentary. Autonomous University of Mexico.

Rouch, Jean (2003). Ciné Ethnography. University of Minnesota Press.

Weinrichter, Antonio (2005). Non-fiction cinema: deviations from the real. T&B Publishers.

Stara, Daniela. (2016). For a critical reconstruction of Glauber Rocha. Revista Cinemas d'Amerique Latine. 24, 40-53.

Efrén Caves (2008). From domestic cinema to the autobiographical: way back and forth. In Martín, Gregorio (ed.), Filmmakers in front of the mirror (pp. 101-120). T&B Publishers.

Català, Josep María y Cerdán, Josetxo (2008). After the real thing. Think about the forms of the documentary, today. Archives of the Valencian Film Library, vol. 1 (57-58), 6-25.

García López, Sonia and Gómez Vaquero Laura. (2009). Stone, paper and scissors. Collage in documentary cinema. Eight and a half. 

Sellés, Magdalena (2008). The documentary. UOC.

Rabiger, Michael (2006). Documentary directing treatise. Omega Editions.

Breschand, Jean (2004). The documentary, the other side of cinema. "The little notebooks of Cahiers du Cinema". Paidós.


Cerdán, Josetxo, Torreiro, Casimiro (2007). On the other side of fiction. Thirteen contemporary Spanish documentalists. Chair.

Renov, Michael (1993). Theorizing Documentary. Routledge.

Torreiro, Casimiro (2010). Reality and creation in non-fiction cinema. Chair.

Ledo, Margarita (2004). From cinema to the eye to Dogma 95. A walk through the love and death of the documentary filmmaker. Paidós.

Ortega, Maria Luisa (2005). Nothing is what it seems. Fake documentaries, hybridizations and mestizajes of the documentary in Spain. Editorial 8 and ½.

Rascaroli, Laura (2008) The Essay Film: Problems, Definitions, Textual Commitments. Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, 49 (2), 24-47.

Frisón Fernández, Carlota (2021) Four steps towards the words of silence in cinema. Journal of Sound, Silence, Image and Technology, 4, p 65-81.