Special Topics / General Interest



Decolonizing Documentary: Race, Gender, Power


How can we disrupt colonial modes of documentary storytelling? How can we challenge extractive storytelling practices, notions of the “other,” and white-savior narratives? Can we center anti-racist and anti-oppression methods in the process of creating our work, not just the product? In this course, we will study documentary projects and discuss actionable strategies for decolonizing documentary. (6 hours/All Levels)

Ligaiya Romero
is a documentary filmmaker and visual artist working with collective memory and the decolonial imagination. She is a video producer and editor for The Argus Project, a transmedia documentary on police violence and citizen counter-surveillance. The project was supported by Tribeca New Media Fund and presented at Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes in 2016. Ligaiya has worked with the New York Times, CNN’s Great Big Story, Refinery29, Verse Media, and the New York Times’s The Daily 360. Her work has been recognized by the SXSW Interactive Awards, the Webby Awards, NPPA Best of Photojournalism, Photo District News, College Photographer of the Year, and the New York Photo Awards, among others. She was previously a documentary producer and editor at MediaStorm. She is currently a fellow at Firelight Media's Documentary Story Lab, and a member of the Queer Producers Collective. She is working on a photography book about inherited memory, hidden histories, and her family.

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ST236FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Library
Romero 9/15 - 9/15 Sa 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM $165.00 View

Documentary and the Three-Act Structure Workshop (Onsite and Online)
At heart, documentarians are storytellers. Telling stories that people want to watch means engaging audiences in your narrative, which requires an understanding of their needs and desires and of the tools developed over time to answer those needs. This class is designed to provide those tools. In this class, students will view and learn to dissect narrative films for the elements of traditional three-act structure, the most common storytelling format in the industry, and then apply those lessons to their own work. By understanding how and why this structure creates memorable and tightly paced Hollywood films, students will be able to apply it to their own nonfiction work. In melding the sensibilities and conventions of documentaries with an easily identifiable narrative structure, students will not only identify ways to adapt their subject matter to the appetite of a story-hungry contemporary documentary audience but also learn how to deliver commercially viable documentary films for today’s selective environment. (5 hours/All Levels)

Please note: This is a hybrid on-site/online class. Distance students will participate via teleconference.

Josh Dasal has taught at CDS since 2010. He is an Emmy- and Silver Telly–winning director, producer, screenwriter, and video marketer. A master’s graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, he has created projects and/or consulted for Discovery Channel, PBS, Sony Screen Gems, and director Wes Craven. He has taught filmmaking courses at UNC-Chapel Hill and Missouri State University, and his films have screened at venues like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, and USC’s First Look Film Festival. He is the owner and chief creative officer of Kaboonki Creative, a video production and marketing firm based in Raleigh.

Additional information:
To participate from off-site, a late-model computer, fast internet connection, and built-in camera are recommended, though not required. Students with less than optimal hardware or internet connections are welcome to take the course, though it may be difficult to participate fully.

There will be a one-hour break for lunch.


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VI152FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Room 201
Dasal 10/20 - 10/20 Sa 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM $145.00 View

Family: Reinterpreting the Personal Archive


The web of family has been a constant source of inspiration for artists and documentarians. Folklore, oral storytelling, and material objects are passed down from generation to generation. Language transforms as families migrate and relocate to urban, suburban, and rural settings. Much of the time, photo albums are tucked away in basements or drawers and remain untouched.

In this workshop, we'll look at examples of family documentary as new and seasoned family researchers embark on their own investigations. Informed by group discussion, students will use writing, photography, physical objects, and other media from their personal archive to create new interpretations. We will look at buried family history, disruptions in timelines, and geographies of movement, allowing for questions surrounding ethical practice, expanding notions of family, and the role of ancestral DNA. (10 hours/All Levels)

Kamal Badhey is an educator, photographer, and documentarian based in New York City. She is a member of the South Asian Women's Creative Collective and the Urban Photographers Association. She has a Masters in Photography and Urban Cultures from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Masters in Museum Education from Bank Street College. Her work has been exhibited in New York, London, Lisbon, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee. Portals and Passageways, her project about her family's South Asian diaspora, traces her jeweler ancestors from a bazaar in India. She was a 2016-2017 Lewis Hine fellow and currently teaches at the Bronx Documentary Center and Parsons School of Design.

Additional Information:
Please bring a sack lunch.

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ST235FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Library
Badhey 10/20 - 10/21 Sa Su 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM $205.00 View

Family: Reinterpreting the Personal Archive (Online)


The web of family has been a constant source of inspiration for artists and documentarians. Folklore, oral storytelling, and material objects are passed down from generation to generation. Language transforms as families migrate and relocate to urban, suburban, and rural settings. Much of the time, photo albums are tucked away in basements or drawers and remain untouched.

In this workshop, we'll look at examples of family documentary as new and seasoned family researchers embark on their own investigations. Informed by group discussion, students will use writing, photography, physical objects, and other media from their personal archive to create new interpretations. We will look at buried family history, disruptions in timelines, and geographies of movement, allowing for questions surrounding ethical practice, expanding notions of family, and the role of ancestral DNA. (10 hours/All Levels)

Please note: This course is offered in an online format and will not meet at CDS but will instead take place in regularly scheduled virtual sessions.

Kamal Badhey is an educator, photographer, and documentarian based in New York City. She is a member of the South Asian Women's Creative Collective and the Urban Photographers Association. She has a Masters in Photography and Urban Cultures from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Masters in Museum Education from Bank Street College. Her work has been exhibited in New York, London, Lisbon, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee. Portals and Passageways, her project about her family's South Asian diaspora, traces her jeweler ancestors from a bazaar in India. She was a 2016-2017 Lewis Hine fellow and currently teaches at the Bronx Documentary Center and Parsons School of Design.

Additional Information:
A late-model computer, fast internet connection, and built-in camera are recommended, though not required. Students with less than optimal hardware or internet connections are welcome to take the course, though it may be difficult to participate fully in virtual meetings.

There will be no class on November 22 (Thanksgiving).

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ST235oFA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Virtual Classroom
Badhey 11/8 - 12/13 Th 07:00 PM - 09:00 PM $245.00 View

Intensive Introduction to Documentary Studies: Ethics and Practice


This intensive, weeklong class is designed for distance students who are pursuing the Certificate in Documentary Arts and fulfills their introductory course requirement, but it is also ideal for any student wishing to get a grasp of the basic history and principles of documentary work. This course will feature a variety of guest speakers, including photographers, filmmakers, writers, and audio producers. We emphasize not only methodologies but also philosophies and ethics of fieldwork in different settings. Students will explore examples of fieldwork and at the final meeting will present project proposals of their own. These proposals may be the beginning of long-term documentary initiatives or simply a means to help decide on the direction of a future project. (38 hours)

Michelle Lanier is the newly appointed director of the N.C. Division of State Historic Sites and Properties. She was formerly the acting director of North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission and Curator of Multicultural Initiatives with North Carolina’s State Historic Sites. She has been an instructor at CDS since 2000. She uses her background as an oral historian and folklorist to connect communities around personal narratives and cultural expression. She has traveled to Panama and Ghana to document African Diaspora funerary traditions, and her ethnographic work in a South Carolina Gullah community led to her role as a liaison to the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Growing up in a family that includes veterans of five American wars has inspired her current work, training students to collect veterans’ narratives.

Joy Salyers is a folklorist and a professional adviser on ethical and effective practice for individuals, organizations, and projects. She helps clients place an honest and compassionate assessment of themselves into the context of the systems within which they work. Salyers is also a writer, performer, and lecturer. She serves on advisory groups for several current documentary projects, and has taught in CDS’s Continuing Education program for more than a decade. See www.joysalyers.com.

Additional information:
The enrollment fee includes dinner the first night. Students are responsible for all other meals, housing, and transportation.

Section A
Taught by Michelle Lanier
Sunday, June 10: 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Thursday, June 11–14: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Friday, June 15: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Section B
Taught by Joy Salyers
Sunday, August 5: 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Thursday, August 6–9: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Friday, August 10: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

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ST515SU18B
Center for Documentary Studies
Room 201
Salyers 8/5 - 8/10 Mo Tu We Th Fr Su Varied $525.00 View

Introductory Seminar in Documentary Studies: Ethics and Practice


This course is designed for students in the Certificate in Documentary Arts program or those who plan to enroll. The documentary arts—including photography, video, audio, and writing—encompass many genres and numerous means of interacting with the world and its people. Instruction will focus on methodologies as well as philosophies and ethics of fieldwork in different settings. Students will explore examples of documentary work and will present project ideas of their own in the final session. (20 hours/All Levels)

Joy Salyers
is a folklorist and a professional adviser on ethical and effective practice for individuals, organizations, and projects. She helps clients place an honest and compassionate assessment of themselves into the context of the systems within which they work. Salyers is also a writer, performer, and lecturer. She serves on advisory groups for several current documentary projects, and has taught in CDS’s Continuing Education program for more than a decade. See joysalyers.com.

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ST101PFA18
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Library
Salyers 10/18 - 12/6 Th 06:15 PM - 08:45 PM $265.00 View

Introductory Seminar in Documentary Studies: Traditions (Online)


This course is designed for students in the Certificate in Documentary Arts program or those who plan to enroll; it’s also suited to non-certificate students with a general interest in interdisciplinary traditions of documentary work, with an emphasis on twentieth-century practice. Students will be introduced to a range of documentary idioms and voices, including the work of photographers, filmmakers, oral historians, folklorists, musicologists, radio documentarians, and writers. (20 hours/All Levels)

Please note: This course is offered in an online format and will not meet at CDS but will instead take place in regularly scheduled virtual sessions.

Joy Salyers is a folklorist and a professional adviser on ethical and effective practice for individuals, organizations, and projects. She helps clients place an honest and compassionate assessment of themselves into the context of the systems within which they work. Salyers is also a writer, performer, and lecturer. She serves on advisory groups for several current documentary projects, and has taught in CDS’s Continuing Education program for more than a decade. See joysalyers.com.

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ST101ToFA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Virtual Classroom
Salyers 8/16 - 10/4 Th 07:00 PM - 09:00 PM $295.00 View

Writing the Documentary Script (Onsite and Online)
Your documentary films can be scripted! A well-written script can be key to structuring your film. Structure can make not only the difference between a bad film and a good film, but between a good film and a great one. To create a documentary that’s coherent in post-production, your pre-production needs to be equally coherent. One of the best ways to organize one’s research, explore new ideas, and more accurately plan for the unexpected is to write a documentary script. In this one-day workshop, students will learn the basics of writing the documentary script, including the conceptual and practical theory behind script construction, the role of story in documentary filmmaking, and proper A/V script formatting. We’ll learn the best ways to outline scenes and analyze existing A/V scripts for production and post-production needs. And we’ll use widely available script writing software which you will then use in practical exercises that demonstrate how to translate your written documentaries from script to screen. Added value may be gained by pairing this course with Documentary and Three-Act Structure. (5 hours/All Levels)

Please note: This is a hybrid onsite/online class. Distance students will participate via teleconference.

Joshua Dasal has taught at CDS since 2010. He is an Emmy- and Silver Telly–winning director, producer, screenwriter, and video marketer. A master’s graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, he has created projects and/or consulted for Discovery Channel, PBS, Sony Screen Gems, and director Wes Craven. He has taught filmmaking courses at UNC-Chapel Hill and Missouri State University, and his films have screened at venues like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, and USC’s First Look Film Festival. He is the owner and chief creative officer of Kaboonki Creative, a video production and marketing firm based in Raleigh.

Additional information:
To participate from off-site, a late-model computer, fast internet connection, and built-in camera are recommended, though not required. Students with less than optimal hardware or internet connections are welcome to take the course, though it may be difficult to participate fully.

There will be a one-hour break for lunch.

Add Section Location Ages Grades Instructor Dates Days Times Fees Details Open
Register Now!
VI146FA18
Center for Documentary Studies
Room 201
Dasal 9/15 - 9/15 Sa 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM $145.00 View