LIDF 2017
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Paris in Motion


Welcome to Paris …. in Motion

The course is designed to be a mixture of theory and practice with special emphasis on urban theory, cityscapes, and new migration to Paris. We will produce 30 short films relating to these topics. We will offer a range of training, relating training to research/project needs and will work on the assumption of low-budgets. The course is divided into three sessions per term and there will be an extended post-production period available beyond the final session.

This is an experimental course. The emphasis will not be on the how to become an expert camera-handler – there are many courses that can offer very adequate practical training. Rather, the course wishes to examine how ‘thinking’ with, and ‘through’, images can produce insight with regard to certain anthropological and sociological questions. In the process deepening the medium’s analytical power and enhancing its audience reception. To this end we will examine how a range of media may be utilised to produce rich insights and creatively satisfying outcomes.

It is important to emphasise the non-didactic nature of this new course. We will be exploring together the possibilities in new and relatively cheap media, and developing together short narratives about contemporary Paris. We will work together through questions about the use of film in research, and the research work of film. Great emphasis will be placed throughout on teamwork, and critical feedback.

We very much hope that you will enjoy this course and find it stimulating and useful. A similar course was run in London in partnership with the Bartlett School of Architecture and the School of Slovakia and Eastern Europeans Studies. We will be asking some interesting questions and there will not be a single answer, but between us we are sure we can come up with varied and intriguing responses.

Participants will receive a course schedule, a recommended-film list and a reading list. The films produced will be screened in Paris and London.


Key Aspects

  • The history of documentary film examined;
  • Urban studies and cityscapes in film (documentary and non-documentary);
  • Migration studies (particularly new migration across the Mediterranean into Europe and its cities);
  • Practical filmmaking (a short film to be produced by small groups of students);
  • The relationship between research and methods

Aims and Objectives

All documentary films are to a lesser or greater extent anthropological films. This course offers an introduction to research methods, techniques and skills frequently used in documentary filmmaking and examines the relationship between those skills and anthropologically-informed research questions. Students receive hands on experience, practical training and theoretical insights.


During the course students will frequently work in small groups, dividing tasks and pooling results along the way. The organisation and self-management of these research groups will also count as a key skill to be explored and developed in this course

Theoretical issues

  • Structure and agency
  • Epistemology, reflexivity, normative and interpretive theory
  • Time, memory and narrative
  • Structure and process
  • Participatory research

Documentary Film analysis

This day will work by detailed analysis of film clips, and will examine the grammar of documentary editing across several genres, including arts documentary, constructed drama – documentaries, historical documentaries.


  • Structure and creating a narrative thread.
  • Films without interviews.
  • Films without commentary.
  • Fly on the wall.
  • Creating a story through images and sound.
  • How to create a sequence, scene and rhythm.
  • How to condense and cut a sequence.
  • How to create a seemingly naturally continuous scene.
  • Building layers of sound/ music/ voiceover.
  • Using certain types of shot to create a rhythm.
  • How to use cut-aways and reaction shots.

The tutor will use documentary material to illustrate topics addressed during the day and demonstrate editorial decisions made.


Examine the role and responsibility of filmmakers, the relationship between subject and filmmaker.

The tutor will deconstruct their working methods and consider contentious issues pivotal to directing such as questions of authorship, responsibility, ethics, risk, and the politics of interpretation.

Interviews Techniques

Good interviewing techniques are fundamental to successful documentary practice but is often a neglected craft. Students will be introduced to a range of different interview techniques and styles to explore the core skills involved in this process.

Topics include:

  • The golden rules of open questioned interviewing;
  • How to prepare an interview so that your questions will not be heard in the final product;
  • How to bring the best out of your subjects;
  • The difference between interviewing styles.


Preparing to edit your film is an overlooked area. This session focuses on how to log and organise your rushes and tapes, and effective methods of pre-selecting footage. You will also learn the advantages of undertaking a paper edit. The practical training offers advice and tips on how to work independently and with an editor, the best way to view rushes, creating and editing the script.

The grammar of documentary editing demonstrates the power of editing and how the story is fundamentally constructed in the cutting room, and not on the shoot.

Through detailed analysis of film clips, students will examine the grammar of documentary editing across several genres and editorial decisions made. There will be a principal focus on the language of observational filmmaking.  Topics also covered include: structure and creating a narrative thread; how to create a sequence, scene and rhythm; building layers of sound/ music/ voice – over; how to use cut-aways and reaction shots.




Photos from LIDF