Short paper assignments

1. Due Sunday April 4, 5 pm.  A short (500 word) report on a radio/audio documentary or an outside (off-campus) screening (undergrads must clear their choice with Shannon Gore beforehand).  You can find various episodes of This American Life on their website; other choices can be found by the Third Coast Festival website.  WBEZ’s home page  can direct you to Chicago Matters programs on the web.  Off campus screenings can include the Gene Siskel Film Center (downtown Chicago), Chicago Filmmakers (northside), the Chicago International Documentary Festival (various locations), IMAX theatres (Navy Pier, Museum of Science and Industry), etc.

2. due Saturday April 10, 5 pm.  A short (500 word) discussion of some aspect of Bowling for Columbine.

People who participate in the Monday April 12 student panel on Michael Moore will have that count for two (2) short paper assignments.

3.  due Tuesday April 27, 5 pm.  A short discussion of documentary ethics, reflecting on Good Woman of Bancock and Saddle SoresOr  an outside screening.

4.  due Sunday  May 9, 5 p.m.  A short discussion of documentary ethics, reflecting on Capturing the FriedmansOr an outside screening.

5.  due Sunday May 24, 5 pm.  A discussion of documentary and activism.

Final paper information

There will be no late papers/projects.  A final exam will be given during exam week to catch any stragglers; the highest grade that anyone taking the final in-class exam can get is a B (and that would be only if all other work in the course was an A).  In other words, it’s a good idea to get your final paper/project in on time and not use the default exam.

Thursday June 10, 9 am.

all final papers and projects due...no incompletes, no extensions.  If you do not have your paper ready at 9 am, you MUST take the final exam: 9 am Louis 119.

Some folks have not contacted the instructors about their final paper.  You need to check in with us soon.

If you are looking for some interesting contemporary documentaries, these might work:

Spellbound (on spelling bees)
Berkeley in the 60s (history of the student movement in San Francisco Bay area.)
Regret to Inform (a widow of a Vietnam Vet visits Vietnam)
Dogtown and the Z-Boys (story of a pioneering skateboard group that advanced it as a sport and competition form; many home movies)
Waco: The Rules of Engagement (very critical view of the FBI assault on the Waco compound of David Koresh and his followers)
Divine Trash (bio of the drag queen star of several John Waters films)
Crumb (the underground cartoonist)

There are a number of recent sex-oriented bio films involving various stars (these are not X-rated, hardcore)
Sex: The Annabelle Chong Story
there’s another on Ron Jeremy

Nick Broomfield is a British documentary maker who does controversial biography films about US celebrities. 
Kurt and Courtney (Cobein and Love; paints a very negative picture of her)
Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (the title says it)
The Aline Wonorous Story (doc’y of the woman whose story was fictionalized in the recent MONSTER)

Some of these films also lend themselves to comparisons of the documentary and the docudrama fictional film--such as the Brandon Teena story.

American Splendor mixes documentary and dramatic film in telling the story of Harvey Pekar, an anti-hero made famous by having his rather undramatic life story made into cartoons by Crumb and others, and then finally made into a film.

If you liked Winged Migration, you might compare it to Microcosmos, the same director’s earlier film about insect life in a meadow and pond.  Winged Migration could also be compared with Godfrey Reggio’s epic scale work, esp. Powaqqatsi. (he has an elaborate website as well)

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