Friday, 8 June 2012

Real Entertainment: Star Directors and the Modern Documentary

Possibly not the most exciting post but just giving myself a shout out for getting an article published in Splice: Studying Contemporary Cinema Volume 6 Issue 1 Spring 2012 journal.  It is 5000 words long and took me a lot of time to complete.  I only wish I could share it with you all here.  Unfortunately I cannot but if you do want to get yourself a copy or want to subscribe to Splice, head to the Auteur website here to find out how.

Each issue sells for £12.00 or you can subscribe to get 3 issues per year for £38.  Not a penny too much for such high quality writing I can assure you!  Anyway here's a quick bit about what I wrote:

The title is Real Entertainment: Star Directors and the Modern Documentary and here is the opening paragraph:

'The term documentary is tricky to define and the films are often even more challenging to watch, enjoy and categorise. Is documentary a genre, a form or a mode? Much ink has been spilt defining, grouping and identifying documentaries as an alternative to fiction cinema. Perhaps this is the most useful place to start when discussing documentary. This group of films are non-fiction or as Patricia Aufderheide puts it, ‘documentary is a film genre in which a pledge is made to the viewer that what we will see and hear is about something true and real’ (2007: 56).'

Here is a further snippet that gives a clearer idea of the thrust of the article:

'The three documentaries that will be focused on in this article were all released to critical acclaim and varying degrees of box-office success in the last ten years. Two are made by recognisable figures that feature in their own documentaries, Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock, while the third is directed by a film-maker becoming better known for his work in fiction film, Kevin Macdonald. Bowling for Columbine (2002) is an extremely controversial film that explores gun culture in America in the wake of the Columbine High school tragedy. It won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards in 2003 and grossed over $35 million worldwide. Super Size Me (2004) continued the trend of director/stars putting themselves in their films front and centre in an attempt to make their documentaries more accessible and entertaining. Spurlock attempts to eat nothing but food from McDonald’s for 30 days in order to investigate the effects such a diet would have on his body. Finally Life in a Day (2011) is an ambitious experiment that combines footage shot by people from all around the world on their own cameras and endeavours to cut it together into a feature film about one day in the life of planet Earth and its inhabitants. These examples reflect the range of documentary films that have been made in recent years and also the impact they can have, both at the box office and in society more generally.'
I hope you like the sound of it.  I enjoyed writing it and seeing my name in print!  Just to prove I'm not making this all up or dreaming it, here is a lovely picture from the new issue.

So that's it from me today!  Hope you all have a lovely weekend and if you ever want me to contribute anything to any of your wonderful blogs, I'd be more over the moon than a slobbery puppy getting a new owner!  So please feel free to drop me a line just like Andina and Keith did.

I Love That Film Loves You All Movie Blogging Buddies!  Happy freaking weekend!


  1. Well done getting that article published, Pete, always nice when the hard work pays off! Super Size Me is among my favorite docs, ever ( :

    I actually reviewed Life In a Day this year:

    Talking of contemporary documentaries, have you seen The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011) ?
    I see the first couple of episodes (out of 15) are on youtube. I was wondering whether to give it a try...

    1. Thanks Chris! I really want to see Spurlock's recent 'Greatest Movie Ever Sold' doc.

      Yeah I was at a conference where Mark Cousin's was supposed to be talking and as he was ill, he sent a very early cut of the first episode of The Story of Film so I got to see that but haven't seen anymore since. I've read the book though. It's brilliant but sometimes goes into areas of cinema I have very little interest in. I assume the doc follows the same path as the book. I'd definitely like to see the rest!

  2. It sure is nice when you see your name printed next to your great writing. Nice! I haven't watch much of documentaries, but they're one genre I always want to know more.

    1. Yeah it makes me proud! So many great docs out there, I love them!


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