I wear many hats as a freelance journalist, one of which is teaching. My latest course on the “Contemporary Documentary” will take place in the summer on Thursday nights at New York University (in their School of Continuing and Professional Studies program). Once again, I’m planning to make the course less a history lesson and more an examination of the filmmaking practices and various aesthetic strategies that have gone into the best (primarily American) documentaries, from “Titticut Follies” to “The Thin Blue Line,” “Crumb” to “Grizzly Man,” “Sherman’s March” to “Tarnation.” For some, the class is about appreciating docs; for others, it inspires them to think creatively about their own work as aspiring nonfiction filmmakers.
I’m also enlisting the help of some real live documentary filmmakers to come in and offer advice. You can read about some of the 10 lessons that filmmaker-blogger Doug Block (The D-Word, “51 Birch Street”) wrote about after he stopped by the first time I taught the class. I was quite proud of the distinguished nonfiction guests that have stopped in the past: Nanette Burstein previewed a clip from “American Teen”; the always intelligent Jem Cohen lead a stimulating discussion about craft; and Liz Garbus spoke about the behind-the-scenes work that’s gone into her social activist docs.
If you’re interested in the class or know someone who might be, please direct them to the link. Classes start May 26 and go for 12 sessions, 6:20pm-9:20pm, in Greenwich Village.