Cinematic Documentary

Learn the art of visual documentary.

If you want to shoot reality TV, sign up for a different course.  In the Cinematic Documentary we will learn about the art of the visual documentary.  We will think of documentary like a Magnum photographer and about fiction film techniques to tell non fiction stories.  We will shoot video and study minimal/natural lighting setups, framing, coverage, interview setups, portraiture, lens/camera options, and post production/color grading techniques.  Exercises are shot on digital video and critiqued in class. 

Recommended viewing for the class includes Vittorio De Sica "The Bicycle Thief", Albert Maysles "Salesman", James Longley "Iraq in Fragments", Michael Glawogger "Whores' Glory", Rhamin Bahrani "Man Push Car", Kelly Reichardt "Wendy and Lucy",  and Yung Chang "Up the Yangtze".

In September come early and attend the Camden International Film Festival, a dynamic small town festival with big films, big sponsors, and amazing good times to make it ten days of documentary bliss. To get tickets to CIFF just head on over to


Michael Palmieri

Michael Palmieri comes from an extensive background as a director of music videos, commercials, short films, and episodic television. He is perhaps best known for his music video collaborations with artists such as Beck, The Strokes, Belle and Sebastian and the New Pornographers. He is a frequent collaborator with other filmmakers as a director of photography, editor, and post supervisor. His work includes collaborations with artists as diverse as the cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the writer, journalist and cartoonist Garry Trudeau, the fine artist Tauba Auerbach, and the documentary filmmaker Rob Epstein. He is an adjunct professor of film at CCA in San Francisco and resides in Portland, Oregon. 


Joshua Weinstein

Joshua Z Weinstein is a director of photography whose work has shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, South by South West, and Tribeca Film Festival.

Recent credits include Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (IFC/Tribeca), Code of the West (SXSW / Sundance Artist Services), Give Up Tomorrow (Tribeca Audience Award / Tribeca Special Jury Prize), Morgan Spurlock's Inside Man (CNN), and The Gambling Man (PBS).

Weinstein also directed the films Driver's Wanted (AFI Silverdocs), Flying on One Engine (SXSW), and I Beat Mike Tyson (Hot Docs).

Weinstein has lectured on film at Duke, NYU, Vanderbuilt, and many others universities. He is an alumnus of Boston University’s College of Communication Film department and an alumnus of the CPB/PBS Producers Academy at WGBH.  Weinstein is based in New York City.