Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Calling All Mock Doc Filmmakers

So I made one mock documentary and suddenly I'm an expert?

Well, no, not exactly. But I am putting together a filmmakers' roundtable discussion for Film & History's 2006 Conference on 'The Documentary Tradition,' for their section on mock docs. There was a request for papers and presentations (from the academic/critical perspective), and I thought it might be worth hearing from filmmakers as well.

It's scheduled for 8-12 November 2006 in Dallas, TX. Check out the Film & History 2006 Conference site. The proposal below has already received provisional approval, pending recruitment of a panel of filmmakers. So contact me via email if you think you might be interested in participating. The proposal details are below...

Roundtable Proposal:
Making Meaning with Mockery: Why Serious Filmmakers Make Funny Films

The mock documentary format, by its very nature, lends itself easily to comedic treatment of whatever subject matter is being ‘mocked.’ From This is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984) to the recent filmography of Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman (1996), Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003), For Your Consideration (2006)), mock documentaries clearly have a comedic emphasis (though not exclusively so).

So what draws filmmakers to the mock doc genre, and what are they trying to say?

As a filmmaker who has recently made a mock documentary feature, I am often asked why I chose that particular form and genre. The question is an interesting and valid one, and while I have my own answers to it, I believe other filmmakers might have different and varied answers.

I would like to propose a panel discussion, a ‘Filmmakers Roundtable’ on the mock documentary genre, why and how it is used, if it is an effective genre for filmmakers with a serious message or point to their work (aside from just trying to be funny), and what films in this genre have to say about changes in the true documentary genre and about changes in fiction film audiences.


Blogger chutry said...

Chris, if you haven't already, you might also submit this to the UPenn Call for Papers list.

I'm still debating about whetehr I'll attend teh conference, but your panel sounds interesting.

2/23/2006 10:26 AM  
Blogger DanBuck said...

Have you seen Woody Allen's Zelig? It's the earliest mockumentary I've seen and it's quite good.

3/23/2006 5:09 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

dan -- i've never actually seen zelig, but i love a lot of woody allen's films, so i don't know why i haven't watched this one.

i've seen parts of it, just not the whole thing.

3/31/2006 5:43 PM  

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