The rise of ‘guerrilla docs’ and the making of Family First – A Federal Crusade

Bruce Redman (2011). The rise of ‘guerrilla docs’ and the making of Family First – A Federal Crusade PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

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s31288790_phd_finalthesis.pdf Final PhD Thesis application/pdf 560.15KB 20
Author Bruce Redman
Thesis Title The rise of ‘guerrilla docs’ and the making of Family First – A Federal Crusade
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-02
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Stuart Glover
Professor Tom O'Regan
Total pages 150
Total colour pages 1
Total black and white pages 149
Subjects 20 Language, Communication and Culture
Abstract/Summary This project is a documentary film and script with an accompanying critical essay. The creative work under review is Family First – A Federal Crusade, made by the author for broadcast by ABC TV, Australia, on 1 May, 2005. The critical essay evaluates the process of creating this and other documentary films using the ‘guerrilla doc’ method. The first section seeks to define documentary through a review of it as a field of practice with its own literature. It charts the history of documentary practice, arguing that changes in technology and the marketplace have seen present-day documentary production determined, not only by technologies of production and distribution, but also by significant market forces, such as aggregation of television markets and fragmentation of audiences. Both had a profound implication for the aesthetic and practice of documentary filmmaking. The second section contextualises documentary as a field of practice by examining the current practice of four contemporary, observational ‘guerrilla’ documentarians: David Bradbury, Leonard Retel Helmrich, Olivia Roussett, and Faramarz K-Rahber. It examines in detail their equipment, techniques and, relationship with investors and broadcasters, and it illustrates how the ‘guerrilla doc’ form has allowed them greater flexibility, intimacy, and overall artistic control over their work. The third section is a critical reflection on the creation of my documentary, Family First – A Federal Crusade in the context of markets, technology, and aesthetics. This documentary was produced in classic ‘guerrilla’ mode, without a broadcaster presale or external investment until shooting was completed. It was compiled for transmission when ABC TV was attracted to the unique ‘insider’s view’ of the potent mix of politics and religion during the 2004 Australian federal election. This third section draws upon the insights of section one and two to critically evaluate the personal experiences of the author during the production and post-production of the creative project. The essay’s conclusion is that the intimacy achieved by the filmmaker with the participants would not have been as effective if the project had been attempted using a traditional crew setup. The essay concludes with reflections about the possibilities and limitations of the ‘guerrilla doc’ method and the future of ‘guerrilla docs’ in a global, but increasingly fragmented digital media market.
Keyword guerrilla documentary, observational documentary, digital video production, family first party, 2004 Australian election, documentary aesthetics, documentary markets, religion and politics, political communication
Additional Notes Colour for page 134 (called #126 with colour montage of photos). Require a Sleeve in the back cover for inclusion of the DVD of the documentary.

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Created: Wed, 27 Apr 2011, 20:30:57 EST by Mr Bruce Redman on behalf of Library - Information Access Service