DOCUMENTING JUSTICE Fall 2013 / Spring 2014

Documenting Justice is a specialized interdisciplinary course in documentary filmmaking that focuses on topics of social justice. Students devote two semesters to completing the class, which involves study in film theory, documentary history, nonfiction storytelling techniques, and the ethics of documentary, and culminates in the creation of an original short documentary film. The class is designed for non-film majors, but those with production experience are encouraged to apply as well.

Documenting Justice: Alabama-- The Fall semester of the course is dedicated to instruction, exercises, and readings which familiarize students with the fundamentals of video production and their application to documentary. Assignments in production, theory, and criticism help us understand the practical and ethical issues in documentary filmmaking. By the end of the first semester, students will be comfortable with the techniques of production and will select a topic for their film.

During the Spring semester, students work in pairs to shoot and edit a documentary film on their subject. Demonstrating a concern for justice in Alabama, such pieces may focus on an individual, a relationship, an occurrence, an institution, a sub-culture, or a worldview. Students will become well acquainted with their subjects through extensive fieldwork, interviews, and research. In producing the final film, students will have access to state-of-the-art digital video cameras and post-production facilities at the College of Communication & Information Studies. The completed films premiere at a public screening in either Birmingham or Tuscaloosa at the end of the semester.

An award-winning group of filmmakers collaborate as instructors in this team-taught course: Andy Grace, independent filmmaker and Director of Documenting Justice with the Department of Telecommunication & Film and Rachel Morgan, adjunct instructor at UA and instructor of radio and TV at Lawson State Community College.

Documenting Justice: International--The first semester (completed before travel) is completed in conjunction with the 10 students enrolled in the Alabama section of Documenting Justice. During the spring semester or summer term, students take a camera and travel abroad – developing a film topic, working with their subjects, and capturing footage. During the following fall semester, students edit their films. A public screening is held every fall in Tuscaloosa.
NOTE: Documenting Justice does not provide funds for international travel. Travel funding and arrangements are the responsibility of the student.

Eligibility: Documenting Justice is open to any student pursuing a bachelors or graduate degree in any department or graduate school at The University of Alabama. The course requires no prior experience in filmmaking or production. However, students applying for Documenting Justice International must complete either IHP 105: Honors Culture and Human Experience or CIP 200: Introduction to Global Studies before their travel.

Credit: Undergraduate (400-level) credit for the course is available through Telecommunication & Film, Anthropology, New College, and the Honor’s College. A 500-level credit is also available through Telecommunication & Film. Class size is limited to 20 students (16 in the UA Doc Justice course and 4 for International Doc Justice) and requires permission of the instructor.

How to apply: Interested students should complete the attached form. The priority deadline for application is Friday, March 22, 2013 but early application is encouraged. As applications are received, students will be contacted to schedule an interview with the instructor. If you have further questions, please contact Heather Christensen at 348-6495 or