Barnett Releases DVD about Documentary Filmmaking
Associate professor and director of elondocs Brooke Barnett has produced and released a DVD titled “Documentary Filmmaking: Tips from the Trenches,” which encases interviews with seasoned filmmakers about the technical, legal, ethical and business issues of documentary film.
Barnett says the idea originated while she was teaching her documentary course last spring, and she says she hopes the DVD will help expose students earlier in their communications courses to documentary filmmaking.
“Every year I attend the Full Frame documentary film festival in Durham, N.C., and bring a group of students from Elon University who are energized by seeing the films, but also by hearing expert advice from filmmakers,” Barnett says. “So I started thinking about the classroom and ways to recreate that energy that I¹ve seen my students get from film festivals.”
Barnett started work on the DVD a year and a half ago with Elon alumna Katrina Taylor. They shot interviews with Academy Award winners and nominees, first time filmmakers and 50-year veterans in the spring of 2007 and edited it during the summer. Assistant professor Ken Calhoun helped last summer with art direction.
Barnett says while the DVD is perfectly suited to communications courses, the topics it explores extend beyond the classroom.
“Because the DVD was created in an interactive platform, professors can use it for classes on many different levels and because the documentary is inherently interdisciplinary, this can be used in classes beyond communications, to study the social significance of film or how film is an agent for social change,” she says. “Further this DVD is an educational tool that could be used by seasoned and aspiring filmmakers as a way to foster idea sharing among professionals.”
The DVD features interviews with more than 20 filmmakers, including Richard Berge, Nick Dobb, D.A. Pennebaker and Michael Skolnik, and it’s broken up into several sections that can be watched individually or all at once. Topics cover a wide array of interests, including an introduction to documentary filmmaking, shooting and editing, legal issues and finances and distribution.
Those interested in purchasing “Documentary Filmmaking : Tips from the Trenches” can find it in Elon’s bookstore or fill out the ORDER FORM (PDF) and mail or fax it to the bookstore.