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Documentary Storytelling, 4th Edition by Sheila Curran Bernard

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Chapter 1 Introduction

It’s not uncommon for people, including documentary filmmakers, to differentiate the nonfiction films they enjoy (and make) from something they’ve stereotyped as “documentaries.” Documentaries, from the reputation they seem to hold, are the films some of us had to watch during fifth-grade history or eighth-grade science. Sometimes derided as “chalk and talk,” these films tended to be dry, heavily narrated, filled with facts, and painful to sit through. So ingrained is this model, it seems, that inexperienced or polemical filmmakers sometimes imitate it, creating films that are little more than illustrated lectures created to “show” or “prove” something through a steady recitation of data. Conversely, nonfiction films that ...

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