Writing and development of a documentary project in Occitanie

Writing and development of a documentary project in Occitanie

  • Duration : 6 weeks (210h)
  • Capacity : 10 trainees

The workshop

This practical and theoretical workshop clearly brings to the foreground the issues of documentary filmmaking. Taking into account the specificity of film writing, the project is given shape and structure to ready its presentation to potential production partners, funding commissions and institutions.

The workshop will take place in several places in the region Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée :

  • in the 'Scène nationale l’Estive' in Foix (Ariège),
  • in Lasalle en Cévennes (Gard),
  • in the Ethnopôle GARAE in Carcassonne (Aude),
  • in the Institut Jean-Vigo Cinémathèque in Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales).

The programme

Teaching methodology :

Each unit is made up of practical shooting or editing exercises, theoretical content, film analysis and supervision of the writing of individual projects.

The theoretical training course is held by professional directors, documentary film historians or critics.

The projects in the process of being written are read and analysed by several categories of professionals (directors, editors, producers, broadcasters, festival organizers), known for their proficiency of experience.

Between each session, the trainees are asked to furnish a certain amount of work, the guidelines of which are given at the end of each session.

Session 1 : Deconstruction of the writing process - 2 weeks

Goals : To describe and deconstruct the writing process of a film, to location scout and analyse the different stages of work. Alongside the shooting exercises, participants work to gain a better understanding of documentary cinema by viewing segments of films and discovering varied writing styles. Master-class : analysis of writing process and the making of a film, in presence of its director. Project writing : taking everyone’s future project, we look a little further to try to bring out the intentions. From that point on we define the scouting, the fields of research we need to continue working on or new areas to be explored.

Session 2 : Stating the issues (finding the film’s “centre of gravity ”)

Goals : To open up the realm of possibilities, to redefine the film’s axis, to highlight the main intention. Practical exercise : finding the “strong point”, crystallization (metaphor or metonymy) lying at the film’s core and to shoot a short sequence outlining the film’s intentions. Theoretical lecture : the viewer’s position. Project writing : collective discussions focused on projects.

Session 3 : How To Do It (“ methods of action, paths of thought”)

Goals : To reflect on directing choices. Practical exercises : the trainees treat the same sequence or situation in different ways. To take a thematic journey through the history of the documentary to discover, on a same subject, different suggestions and directing options. Trainees analyse segments of films they’ve chosen related to their own project. Writing up a draft of a personal project : collective discussion over written projects.

Session 4 : Film narrative (editing/dramatic writing)

Goals : Combining a sense of analysis with practical exercises during the editing period, participants bring depth to their film’s dramatic treatment. A theoretical lecture presents the narrative forms in editing. A practical exercise based on working with rushes consists of reordering or reediting sequences. To write a personal project : producing a readable shareable draft, getting ready to write the final version.

Session 5 : Adequacy of form and subject (“Shape is depth that floats up to the top”)

Goals : to have the project’s degree of accomplishment evaluated by professionals (directors, producers, broadcasters.)

Application details

  • A letter of motivation.
  • A 2-3 page minimum synopsis of the film
  • *A detailed CV
  • *Link to a previous film made by the applicant

These documents should be sent by e- mail to contact@ateliersvaran.com

The candidates will be personally interviewed when their dossiers have been approved.

Teaching staff

Two experienced tutor-filmmakers follow the projects throughout the duration of the workshop, and guest professionals participate periodically (film historians, directors, producers, etc…)

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