Exploring Contemporary Documentary


You’re too busy making documentary films to watch them, right? Not so fast. The purpose of this class is to give you a valuable overview of today’s documentary landscape and its continuing evolution of form and story. By viewing clips of noted documentary films spanning the past decade, as well as reviewing and discussing interviews and insights from today’s most respected documentarians, you will be introduced to a broad range of contemporary documentaries, genres, directors, and subject matter in both long and short formats—award-winners and also-rans. This understanding may then help you infuse your own work with similar sensibilities and benchmarks against films that are getting seen, sold, and appreciated by modern audiences. No previous documentary experience is necessary. (5 hours)

Joshua Dasal is a director, producer, screenwriter, and marketing creative director. A graduate of the prestigious University of Southern California (USC) film school, he has creatively developed, written, directed, produced, and consulted for entities like the Discovery Channel, PBS, Sony Screen Gems, and director Wes Craven. His work has screened at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, and USC’s First Look Film Festival. Dasal was awarded a Mid-Atlantic Emmy and Silver Telly for his PBS work, the HDFest Best Documentary prize for The Mars Underground, and five regional awards, including “best film,” for his 48 Hour Film Project short, Cake. Dasal has been a screenwriting instructor at Missouri State University, as well as a communications manager at North Carolina State University and a freelance video marketer.


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