As a critic and a cinephile (in addition to my many other hats), I have always felt my job was equal parts analysis, advocacy and education. I’d like to think I’m combining all three in my latest course on the “Contemporary Documentary,” which takes place Wednesday nights at New York University (in their School of Continuing and Professional Studies program). Once again, I’m planning to make the course less a history lesson and more an examination of the filmmaking practices and various aesthetic strategies that have gone into the best (primarily American) documentaries, from “Titticut Follies” to “The Thin Blue Line,” “Crumb” to “Grizzly Man,” “Sherman’s March” to “Tarnation.”
I’m also enlisting the help of some real live documentary filmmakers to come in and offer advice. You can read about some of the 10 lessons that filmmaker-blogger Doug Block (The D-Word, “51 Birch Street”) wrote about after he stopped by last time I taught the class. I was quite proud of the distinguished nonfiction guests that stopped by last time out: Nanette Burstein previewed a clip from “American Teen” and the always intelligent Jem Cohen lead a stimulating discussion about craft. This year, Oscar-nominee Liz Garbus has already agreed to be a guest speaker.
Enrollment is low at the moment, and time is running out! So if you’re interested in the class or know someone who might be, please direct them to the link—or we’ll lose out on an opportunity to learn from the best. Classes run Sept. 23-Dec 16, 6:20pm-9:20pm.