THE documentary cinema
A creative documentary film involves an artistic approach that simultaneously questions and documents reality. Unlike news reports, it commits the filmmaker to affirming a point of view, to thinking about the writing and the dramaturgy of the film, to elaborating the issues of directing and staging and the stylistic choices that make documentary a cinematographic genre in itself.
Throughout its various programmes, Docmonde considers the issues around the production of contemporary documentary film. These are issues of comprehension, symbolism and transmission of history in motion, as Frederick Wiseman stated, "documentaries, like theatre pieces, novels or poems, are forms of fiction whose social value is beyond measure.”
The Docmonde documentary script writing workshops are free of charge and do not require any academic prerequisites, the selection is purely based on the submission of a film project.
The two-week workshops are led by established filmmakers and are held in the partner countries for resident filmmakers. This period enables in-depth work on the film’s intentions, its possible forms, writing and compiling the film dossier and preparing its presentation for the co-production forums organised by Docmonde or for other pitching events and festivals.
These Docmonde workshops are organised annually and take a long-term approach, creating and strengthening professional networks, involving local skills and know-how and training up future tutors.
How does a workshop take place?
Each tutor accompanies a maximum of 6 filmmakers to insure high quality personalised support.
- daily group meetings to discuss the elaboration of a film project, tackle theoretical questions around documentary and cinema, deepen understanding of the production and distribution of creative documentary films and to get up to speed with the numerous issues in this field.
- frequent one-on-one meetings where the tutor guides the participants in the development and the writing of their film project. Between each meeting, the filmmakers work on improving and developing their film script, at times returning to see the people in their film and in general strengthening and perfecting their project under the tutor’s compassionate supervision.
- Daily documentary film screenings followed by in-depth group discussions about the film’s structure, its construction, how the characters are approached, the staging and direction, the narrative forms… the films are chosen to resonate with the participants’ projects, be it through the issues they address or their cinematographic approach. They can be heritage films, films from the opulent video library, La Maison du Documentaire (Ardèche Images) in Lussas, or films developed through Docmonde workshops
- practical exercises in filming and directing followed by group discussions about the form of the films made during these exercises.
- pitching in front of the other workshop participants as well as external guests.
- putting together a future writing plan.
Depending on the preferred method, the tutors often continue coaching remotely. The time lapse between the writing workshop and the international co-production forum ranges from a few weeks to a few months. The filmmakers use this time to rework their film dossier. About two thirds of the projects are selected for the co-production forum. The projects that will potentially lead to international co-productions are presented to a panel of producers, distributors and broadcasters, both local and European.