Learn the fine art of observational filmmaking, and the purity of story that the vérité style can evoke

Date:  Aug 26-Sep 1, 2018
Levels:  Intermediate, Advanced
Workshop Fee:  $1295
Class Size: 14

Additional Dates Offered:
Oct 21-27, 2018

Some of the landmark documentaries have been in the genre of cinema vérité (“truthful cinema”). Even as many contemporary documentaries are hybrids incorporating different documentary styles, cinema vérité sequences often provide some of the most compelling dimensions in these films.

What does it mean to represent reality? To film the truth?  No filmmaking is “pure.” There is always a camera person who decides where to point the camera and when to turn on and off recording. And there are the subjective choices made in editing. However, some approaches to filmmaking are more grounded in observing the world unfold with little intervention from the filmmaker. With its unique spirit of spontaneity and improvisation, cinema vérité frequently takes the filmmaker and the viewer into unexpected and powerful territory.

In this class, through screenings, case studies, lectures, and practice, students will explore the boundaries of observational filmmaking and some of the techniques that successful vérité filmmakers use. Emphasis is placed more on practice than theory. Becoming comfortable with the camera and understanding how to cover a scene will grow out of daily shooting in the field and editing.

The class will be a mixture of assigned exercises and independent short projects. Students will learn to become aware of the focus of the material as they shoot and edit.  

You are invited to bring a sample of previous work in any style to share with the class.


Image Credit: Devin Altobello

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Instructor: Allie Humenuk

Allie Humenuk is an award-winning filmmaker and Emmy nominated cinematographer whose films have been broadcast nationally and internationally. Her most recent film, The Guys Next Door (for which she was co-director, co-producer, and cinematographer), is finishing a long and successful festival run. Her previous feature documentary, Shadow of the House (which she directed, produced, and shot), about the photographer Abelardo Morell, was heralded as “one of the best films ever made about an artist and the artistic process” by Bo Smith, former curator of the film program at the MFA Boston.