chapter
Introduction
WithDavid Redmon
Pages 20

In this new age of the rise of documentary film, with more and more documentaries streaming online and commanding vast audiences on television and in cinemas in theatrical release, with reviews, social media commentary, and Q&As at film festivals proliferating, and as public discussion of documentary films increases, the time is ripe for academia to catch up and to apply academic rigor and exploration of documentary films, not merely as finished products, but in terms of their making, craft, and impulse. Film festivals and documentary organizations have long debated the ethics and methodology of documentary film. In the past some of these films reached only small audiences, and remained within a relatively closed culture of documentary filmmakers and narrow audiences. Today, as documentary films that can be broadly called “video ethnography” circulate widely, attracting diverse and nonspecialist public attention, I believe it is more important than ever for academia to look closely at the authorial, exploratory, and expressive intentions and ethics behind process and craft, aspects of ethnographic film that have traditionally been more closely studied within film studies and as part of film production courses.