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Course Code: 
RTC 410
Course Type: 
Course Language: 
Courses given by: 
Course Objectives: 
Main objective of this course is to develop a critical and analytical perspective woven with approaches and theories that deal with the document quality of the genre, and history of documentary film; to obtain the instruments of the moral, ethical, socio-political, and aesthetic implications of the relationship between filmmaker and subject in order to make documentary films. This course encourages to be mindful of thematic and stylistic choices such as camera angle, framing, shot scale, interview questions, editing etc. and to be aware of the responsibility of story telling in relation with history, society, politics and art.
Course Content: 

This course questions the privileged status of documentary in film culture; interrogates the history, the periods and movements of documentary within theoretical frameworks; establishes the basis of critical analysis of documentary films with a historical and social analytical perspective, as well as the know-how of research, technique and practice for the process of production; thus it prepares the students to produce documentaries with its content, style and methodology. Students are expected to create and propose a project personally and produce the chosen documentaries collectively.

Course Methodology: 
1: Lecture, 2: Interactive Lecture, 9: Demonstration, 15: Assignment
Course Evaluation Methods: 
C: Assignment, E: Project / Design

Vertical Tabs

Course Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Program Learning Outcomes Teaching Methods Assessment Methods
1) Questions what documentary is, and defines documentary films 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 1, 2, 9, 15 C, E
2) Knows the movements and conventions of documentary film within history; evaluates and analyze with its form and its content 1, 3, 7 1, 2, 9, 15 C, E
3) Associates the periodical influences that causes the movements, defines and differentiates the historical, technological and cultural, but also economic, politic and social dynamics 1, 3, 7, 8 1, 2, 9, 15 C, E
4) Develops the idea from the beginning and realizes to the end of a documentary project; follows the rules of work ethics during the production process; internalizes the concepts of democracy and power which need to be balanced in a collective team work 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 1, 2, 9, 15 C, E
5) Takes a critical thematic stand for the documentary filmmaking, develops her/him-self in order to produce original ideas and original storytelling within this framework 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 1, 2, 9, 15 C, E

Course Flow

Week Topics Study Materials
1 Introduction to the course  
2 Realism and Cinema / Documentary, Fiction and Reality Armes, R. (2011) p. 17-21.


3 Vertov and Kino-Eye / Direct Cinema and Cinema Verite Armes, R. (2011) p.31-39.


4 Approaches and Theories of Documentary, Myth and Propaganda Armes, R. (2011) p.40-52.


5 Identity of Documentarist, ethics, mission and importance Rosenthal, A. (1990) p.163-175.
6 Building up a Project; imagination and theme selection; intuition, impression, prejudice Rosenthal, Alan (1990) p.9-33.
7 Project design; research techniques; environment, budget, team building Rosenthal, Alan (1990) p.33-59.
8 Midterm: Documentary Proposal Assignment  
9 A Documentary or a Fiction? Docs, Society and Politics Nichols, B. (2001) p.xi-xviii.
10 Ethics and Social Responsibility Nichols, B. (2001) p.1-19.
11 Research Program, Sources of Information and Archive Footage Nichols, B. (2001) p.20-41.
12 Collective work, human-team relationships, evaluating and interpretation of the sources Rosenthal, A. (1990) p.188-199.
13 Style I: Camera, Cinematography, Frame, Mobile Frame Nichols, B. (2001) p.139-152.
14 Style II: Natural Sound and Music, Fiction and Editing in Docs Nichols, B. (2001) p.153-167.
15 Evaluation  
16 Final  

Recommended Sources

  • Nichols, Bill (2001) Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana U. P.

Rosenthal, Alan (1990) Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Videos. (3rd ed.) Southern Illinois U. P.

Additional Resources Armes, Roy (1974) Sinema ve Gerçeklik: Tarihsel bir İnceleme, İst: Doruk.
  • Nanook of the North, Robert J. Flaherty, USA/France, 1922, 79’
  • Man with the Movie Camera, Dziga Vertov, Soviet Union, 1929, 68’
  • Tahtacı Fatma, Süha Arın, Turkiye, 1979, 28’
  • The Thin Blue Line, Errol Morris, USA, 1988, 103’
  • Secrets of the Tribe - Kabilenin Sırları, Jose Padilha, Brezilya, 2010, 96′
  • Of time and the City, Terence Davies,UK, 2008

Notre Musique - FR-İsviçre  - Jean - Luc Godard, 2004

Material Sharing



Report 2 15
Proposal 1 35
Project / Essay 1 50
Total   100
Contribution of Final Examination to Overall Grade   55
Contribution of In-Term Studies to Overall Grade   45
Total   100

Course’s Contribution to Program

No Program Learning Outcomes Contribution
1 2 3 4 5
1 Defines basic concepts, theories, methods, and domains of study specific to radio, television and cinema by associating them with the findings and theories of humanities and social sciences.       X  
2 Demonstrates the responsibilities, effective participation, coordination, and planning skills essential for harmonious and efficient teamwork in the production processes relative to the radio, television and cinema fields.       X  
3 Generates media products in accordance with professional standards in various narrative forms and genres specific to the field by synthesizing up-to-date knowledge and skills for expertise acquired through applied and theoretical courses.         X
4 Manifests professional knowledge and such skills as copywriting, image management, editing, sound design, producing and directing, media management in different fields of radio, television and cinema locally and globally. X        
5 Holds responsibility in broadcasting by integrating national and international rules of law that media professionals should pursue with professional ethical principles.       X  
6 Comprehends the knowledge and skills related to institutional operation and management in the production and broadcasting processes of radio, television and cinema for the common interest.       X  
7 Evaluates radio, television and cinema fields analytically and critically from their institutional structuring to products regarding a wide range of cultural, artistic, economic, and social relations.       X  
8 Has the ability to collect visual, audio and written data, conduct research, evaluate, report and offer creative solutions in the fields of radio, television and cinema.       X  
9 Develops original projects for radio, television and cinema by following new technologies, developments, and ideas in the fields of art, culture, and media at the national and global planes.   X      


Activities Quantity Duration
Course Duration 14 4 56
Hours for off-the-classroom study (Pre-study, practice) 14 2 28
Report 2 2 4
Documentary Proposal 1 5 5
Project / Essay 1 5 5
Final examination 1 16 16
Total Work Load     114
Total Work Load / 25 (h)     4,5
ECTS Credit of the Course     5