Transnational collaborations for art and impact in new documentary cinema


Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller is Associate Professor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He teaches documentary film history (both survey courses and specialty courses in documentaries and war, and human rights, and civil rights) to Journalism and Cinema Studies majors and Honors College students. He also teaches documentary production classes: his students have won almost 50 Northwest Emmy awards for long form documentaries. He is a filmmaker myself, and has directed films about human rights and conflict (on Kent State and Jackson State, on Japanese internment, on Howard Hughes.) For a book he is writing, Documenting War, he has searched film archives in this country and in many European countries. He reports that he has attended and covered a number of documentary festivals,

“where I have seen amazing films such as the ones in this article, filmed interviews of the filmmakers, and attended many sessions, pitches, distribution discussions, and especially found a sense of an international documentary filmmakers' community gathering around the themes of human rights and conflict. Already, the impact of teaching these films to my documentary film history and production students has been profound.”

This paper has developed from the interviews with the filmmakers, recorded in person or via Skype; from analysis of the films, and from research on the films and their subjects. It views these films as representative of over 220 documentaries screened—from over 2000 submitted— at IDFA 2010. It suggests through this analysis some implications for the impact of new worldwide documentary films on the future of media education and practice.