Activist Media Skills: Introduction to Activist Videography and Strategic Filmmaking

School of Consciousness and Transformation ANTH 6178 1.00

Critics and political activists often assume that nonfiction filmmaking merely serves to reflect upon political realities or as a tool for denouncing intolerable abuses or social situations. This is wrong. At numerous times throughout the last several decades, political filmmakers have used nonfiction filmmaking as a tool for community organizing and have used their films as effective tools to change political situations.

As we've seen numerous times throughout the last several decades, political filmmakers have used nonfiction filmmaking as a tool for community organizing and have used their films as effective tools to change political situations.

From the agit-prop films of the Third Cinema movement in Latin America in the sixties, to the Internet-based videos produced in Egypt that paved the way for the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, we'll study several moments from recent history in which documentary and other nonfiction filmmaking practices became effective nonviolent weapons to transform society.

We'll identify and discuss diverse and crucial chapters from the history of political documentary filmmaking; articulate the way documentary films have formed part of the repertoire of strategies and tactics used by agents of social change in different parts of the world under diverse social conditions; and understand how to effectively distribute nonfiction videos online and offline to affect the outcome of social movements in which students might be involved.

The course will also introduce successful examples of community video collective productions. Students will leave the media skills seminar with hands-on knowledge of camera use and video production. They will be asked to complete a video assignment to apply techniques covered during the course. 


Learn more about the Anthropology and Social Change program at CIIS. 

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