What is documentary you may ask? After researching into this topic i have constructed what i believe documentary is for myself. In order to form an educated opinion watching “Capturing Reality; The Art of Documentary.” The film explores the creative process with 33 leading documentary filmmakers  involved to explain their take on documentary combined with interviews and extracts from over 50 different films.

Within the film it spoke to the filmmakers asking there definition of documentary. A couple of them stood out to me influencing me to form my opinion such as firstly, Jennifer Fox who is an american producer and director in films such as; An American Love Story and Flying; Confessions of a free Woman. She explained it as its about  the joy of letting something effect you and respond, weather its with your camera or yourself as a person if your the interviewer, its like relating in a space like dancing.

Her alliteration to dancing is how i found i related to her explanation. As just like when dancing you have to feel the space its like having the camera and feeling the story letting you respond through the lens.

The second filmmaker which quote stood out was Errol Morris who is an american director and is best know for he’s work on “The Thin Blue Line.”

he spoke about that the parts he likes of documentary is that it can be anything. However the parts he doesn’t like is that being constantly being told that it only has to be one thing rather than a whole multi of possible things. This point he brought up stood out to me because if you look into documentary it can be a wide variety of things from fiction to non fiction and crosses from all genres.

Moving passed from the movie the idea of documentary to be defined as something which can be created as anything and that you need to be able to feel the emotion and show the respondence.


An example of an filmmaker which shows similar views is Stephen Fry in his documentary which explores the disease of manic depression. This shows real emotions and captures the reactions of their emotion journey (Fry,2008). If you look into this filmmakers career he has worked on a wide variety of production and has an Television series called ‘Out there’ which  is an documentary about homophobia. This is completely on a different scale compared to first documentary showing how you can create it on anything.


From the book ‘Introduction to Documentary’ written by Bill Nichols  it talks about how documentary now has become ” the flagship of cinema of social engagement an distinctive vision” and now can be outputted onto various platforms on the internet to sites like youtube and Facebook (Nichols, 2010)  Along with supporting the idea of being anything it also backs up the ideas when he talks about documentary embracing new forms and tacking out fresh topics. Both these points from the book supports the central idea of what Documentary is.


Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary. (2008). Canada.

Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary. (2017). National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 14 February 2017, from

Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman. (2006). United States.

Fry, S. (2008). Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. Top Documentary Films. Retrieved 14 February 2017, from

Nichols, B. (2010). Introduction to documentary (2nd ed., pp. 3-4). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

The Thin Blue Line. (1988). United States.


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