General information

Subject type: Optional

Coordinator: Maddalena Fedele

Trimester: First and second quarters

Credits: 12

Teaching staff: 

Carlota Frisón Fernández 


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 strong reflection on real cinema with an intense practice of this audiovisual modality through the creation of short camera montage pieces, 20-minute long pieces and film critiques of reflection on 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.
- To have acquired the capacity of analysis of the documentary pieces from the aesthetic, authorial, productive perspective,
historical and technical.
- 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 collective elaboration of the analytical discourse of the documentaries studied in class; in addition to the teacher's aesthetic-historical introduction, the implications of the piece from a social, aesthetic, technical and even epistemological point of view will be analyzed with the participation of the whole class.

In relation to the practices, they will be understood as a workshop in which the advances in the production phases of each documentary will be discussed: those images, montages or ideas that each group develops will work with the whole class to facilitate the good development. of the piece.

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



A1. Introduction to the creative documentary

1.1. A conceptual approach to creative documentary. The documentary universes.
1.2. Origins of the film documentary.
1.3. The question of realism, plausibility and authorial commitment.
1.4. Classification and categories of documentary: Nichols vs Bruzzi.

A2. Origins of the documentary: realism, thought, avant-garde and social use.

2.1. The classic documentary. Robert Flaherty.
2.2. The documentary and the avant-garde of the 20s and 30s: Dziga Vértov, Walther Ruttmann, Jean Vigo.
2.3. Institutionalization of social cinema. Political and confrontational documentary. John Grierson, Henri Storck, Joris Ivens.

A3. The documentary at war

3.1. Transformations of the documentary in World War II
3.2. Germany, Italy and the USA: Frank Capra, Leni Riefenstahl
3.3. The lyricism of the documentary filmmaker John Ford
3.4. Image and rhetoric after the Holocaust

A4. Documentary and Modern Cinema: the limits of objectivity

4.1. Free Cinema and American Direct Cinema. The observer documentary.
4.2. The truth cinema. The documentary filmmaker as a catalyst.
4.3. The mockumentary.
4.4. The performative documentary.
4.5. The autobiographical documentary: Mekas, Ross McElwee, Agnes Varda.

A5. Postcolonial Documentary: Latin America and the Third Cinema. African ethnographic documentary

5.1. "Towards a third cinema" Cuba and Chile. Patricio Guzmán and Santiago Álvarez.
5.2. Anthropology and documentary. Jean Rouch, Timothy Asch.
5.3. Postcolonial documentary today.

A6. Intermediality, authorship and archival material: new ways

6.1. Rediscovery of the archives and the role of the author: Losnitza and Forgács
6.2. Television and quality documentary: INPUT
6.3. New ways and supports: collective authorship and the digital world
6.4. Cinema of photographers: Moholy-Nagy, William Klein, Raymond Depardon

A7. Iberian documentary cinemas

7.1. Republic, Francoism and Resistance: a guerrilla aesthetic.
7.2. The Transition and documentary cinema. Basilio Martín Patino, Jaime Camino, Llorenç Soler.
7.3. The memory of pain in Portuguese documentary cinema
7.4. The rebirth of the documentary: Catalonia 1990-2014. José Luis Guerín, Joaquím Jordà and Isaki Lacuesta
7.5. Novo Cinema Galego: Of arraianos and minority languages.
7.6. Aesthetics and territory: from Andalusia to the Basque Country


B8. The idea

8.1. Idea, history, synopsis
8.2. Types, moles and search
8.3. Documentation and sources

B9. The documentary script

9.1. Characteristics of the documentary script
9.2. Shooting script
9.3. Script in the assembly

B10. The characters

10.1. Election and previous work
10.2. Visual and sound treatment
10.3. Ethical issues in working with the characters

B11. Structures, narrative resources and staging.

11.1. Narrative organization of documentary material
11.2. Observe or provoke
11.3. Sequence, duration and prey
11.4. Global treatment and conception
11.5. Sound, word and music
11.6. Narrator, interview, dialogue.

B12. Realization, look and documentary powder

12.1. Filming models
12.2. Point of view
12.3. Material conditioners

B13. Archive and document: visual and sound material

13.1. Heterogeneous traces of the real
13.2. Integration of materials and style
13.3. Dynamization, post-production, animation

B14. Documentary editing

14.1. Script and editing
14.2. Paper assembly
14.3. Rhythm and structure
14.4. The Assembly of the word
14.5. Assembly and speech

B15. Production, distribution and exhibition: the documentary and the industry

15.1. Design of the financing and marketing strategy
15.2. New television formats
15.3. Production and distribution circuits: documentary film festivals
15.4. Documentary platforms and interactive documentary
15.5. Trends in production and exhibition

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 will be related to the work. 

[competencies: G2, G5, E14, E5]

20-minute creative documentary
Elaboration of a 20-minute creative documentary.
Activity in teams of 5 people with defined functions (responsible but collaborative)
The pre-production, script, production, editing, post-production and marketing design 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 0-point rating in the entire film criticism section, which means you will lose 15% of the final grade.

Topic 1 - To choose between

Requiem for Billy the Boy (Anne Feinsilber, 2006)

5 Broken Cameras (Emad Burnat & Guy David, 2011)

The Punk Syndrome (Jukka Kärkkäinen & Jani-Petteri Passi, 2012)

T (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)

20.000 days on Earth (Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, 2014)

Topic 2 - To choose between

The camera man (Dziga Vertov, 1929)

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

Topic 3

Night and Fog (Alain Resnais, 1955)

Topic 4 - To choose between

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

Titicut follies (Frederick Wiseman, 1967)

Topic 5 - To choose between

The crazy masters (Jean Rouch, 1955)

The battle of Chile (Patricio Guzmán, 1975)

Hanoi Tuesday 13 (Santiago Alvarez, 1967)

Topic 6 - To choose between

war game (Peter Watkins, 1965)

Barcelona before time erases it (Mireia Ros, 2010)

Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi, 2007)

Topic 7 - To choose between

Dear executioners (Basilio Martin Patino, 1973)

52 Sundays (Llorenç Soler, 1966)

Dew (Fernando Ruiz Vergara, 1981)

In Vanda's room (Pedro Costa, 2000)

Topic 8 - To choose between (2015) Maria Court, Rosemarie Lerner (2015) Kika Serra, Paty Godoy  (2013) Thomas Kaan (2013) Lukas Jaramillo (2012) David Moya

Extra criticism
There is the possibility of improving the grade or increasing the average if a critique of the is voluntarily made Author Film Festival, the IN-EDIT, full Donas International Film Festival or of Documentary of the Month.

[competencies: G2, G3, G5, E14]

MINIPUT: Quality Television Show.
CCCB, Barcelona. 10:00 a.m. to 22:00 p.m.

Students must attend the Mostra and from the new formats of the real viewing make a selection of programming for Catalan television. One of the formats on display must be chosen, explaining what changes and for which channel, time slot, etc. would be chosen, in addition to justifying the decision and explaining the transformations that would be employed in its adaptation.
Group work. Mandatory.

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

Evaluation system

a) Final Examination (35%)

b) Individual Work (25%)

    b1.Camera mounting piece (10%)

    b2.Film reviews (15%)

c) Documentary of 20 min. (40%)

d) Compulsory face-to-face activities: Selection of MINIPUT and Documentary programming of the month


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.


Compulsory viewing, therefore, this filmography is an examination subject.

Nanook the Eskimo (Flaherty, 1922)

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

The camera man (Vertov, 1929)

Land without bread (Buñuel, 1933)

Misery in the Borinage (Ivens, Storck, 1934)

Housing Problems (Elton and Anstey, 1935)

Night mail (Watt, Wright, 1936)

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

The River (Lorentz, 1950).

The crazy masters (Rouch, 1955).

Night and fog (Resnais, 1955).

The mystery of Picasso (Clouzot, 1956).

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

The war game (Watkins, 1965)

52 Sundays (Llorenç Soler, 1966)

Titicut Follies (Wiseman, 1967)

salesman (Mayles, 1968)

The Disenchantment (Jaime Chávarri, 1976)

Dear executioners (Basilio Martín Patino, 1977).

The old memory (Jaime Camino, 1979)

Dew (Fernando Ruiz Vergara, 1981)

Sans Soliel (Markers, 1983)

Zelig (Allen, 1983).

This is Spinal Tap (Reiner, 1984)

Shoah (Lanzmann, 1985)

The hunter's order (Jordan, 1990)

London (Patrick Keiller, 1994)

Old Houses (Martin Patino, 1996)

Monkeys like Becky (Jordan, 1999)

Buena Vista Social Club (Wenders, 1999)

The gleaners and the gleaner (Varda, 2000).

Under construction (Guerín, 2001)

Capturing the Friedmans (Jarecki, 2003).

Grizzly Man (Herzog, 2005)

Requiem by Billy the Child (Anne Feinsilber, 2006).

Blocked (Losnitza, 2006).

Can Tunis (Paco Toledo & José González Morandi, 2006)

5 Broken Cameras (Emad Burnat & Guy David, 2011)

Bring the lights (Sandra Sánchez, 2011)

The Punk Syndrome (Jukka Kärkkäinen & Jani-Petteri Passi, 2012)

Searching for the Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul, 2012)

The act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012)

20 steps from fame (Morgan Neville, 2013)

The special need (Carlo Zoratti, 2013)

20.000 days on earth (Iain Forsyth, 2014)

Game over  (Alba Sotorra, 2015)

The Swedish theory of the masterr (Erik Gandini, 2016)




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