ELA A10 B8 Challenges Society Has Faced – Documentary Sites
You’ll soon begin a project-based inquiry, focusing on developing your skills of questioning, critical thinking, and problem solving. For this activity, you will select a Documentary and study it for its codes and conventions, including such things as the source, any agenda the makers might have had, relevance or truthfulness of the information relayed, as well as any techniques employed to manipular the viewer.
Before watching, you’ll want to understand some of the techniques and characteristics specific to documentaries. The following YouTube video includes an overview of them:
Documentaries may be a genre of video text that you have less experience with, so you’ll first need to develop a fair understanding of what sets this type of film apart from other video texts, like movies. While a movie has the purpose of entertaining, documentaries have the purpose of convincing audiences of something. For that reason, a viewer needs to be aware of that agenda and monitor what they view with a critical eye.
Before Watching Your Documentary: you should approach a documentary differently than you approach watching a movie. If you’re not experienced with that difference, the following articles will help you understand the difference.
- Critical Questions for Viewing Documentaries (article)
- Questions related to: truth, point of view, conventions, voices, structure, subject, maker, exhibition, and origins
- The Four Fundamental Tendencies of Documentary: most documentary purposes fit within the four categories:
- To record, reveal or preserve
- To persuade or promote
- To analyze or interrogate
- To express
- How to Smartly Watch a Documentary (article)
- How to Watch a Documentary (article)
Website Sources of Documentaries you could choose from:
- Doc Zone
- Fifth Estate
- The National Film Board – Documentaries
- The Passionate Eye
- Canada’s Digital Documentary Channel
- Top Documentary Films – Society category
Spreadsheet: There are tons of documentaries you can pick from and that are accessible online to you from this Spreadsheet. If you know of others you think should be added to the list, let me know! View only link here.
Sample Documentary Titles you might be interested in:
- The Cove – dolphin killing in Japan
- Blackfish – on Netflix or I have a copy
- White Like Me – racism and white privilege
- Myths for Profit – exploiting notion of Canada as peacekeeper vs involved in arms trade
- Supersize Me – man eats nothing but McDonalds food to see how it affects the body
- My Life as a Gamer – gamers play/develop and donate their proceeds to Save the Children funds
- Audrie and Daisy – two young hs girls both sexually assaulted by boys at their school / after math (Netflix)
- Miss Representation – documentary explores the codes of female gender repeated through media