Spelman College's documentary filmmaking major is uniquely designed to address the needs of the 21st-century student born into a digital world where moving images, storytelling, and investigating social concerns have significant currency.
While documentary filmmaking has exploded internationally over the last twenty years, one rarely sees women of African descent at the helm in this field. Through its documentary film program, Spelman will develop a new and urgently needed generation of Black women documentary filmmakers who see the world through their histories and interests.
The major is an outgrowth of the Digital Moving Image Salon (DMIS), which was founded in 2003 by award-winning filmmaker Ayoka Chenzira, PhD. DMIS taught students to analyse films and use digital media tools to produce documentary films that focus on women of colour's lived experiences. The filmmaking program merged traditional documentary film strategies with emerging approaches to create new forms of storytelling, and it also explores new exhibition and distribution possibilities.
The new major is guided by distinguished faculty. The major underscores the value of a liberal arts education by supporting work at the intersection of visual culture, humanities, and new technologies and thus expands the definition of documentary film production.
With this major, you will:
Develop your artistic voice and produce films with a point-of-view
Develop a deeper understanding of visual language and filmmaking as an art form and as a form of rhetoric
Learn the technical aspects of production
Create a dynamic storytelling experience through creative writing for documentaries
Develop new strategies for production in the digital age
Learn the business of the art form, ethics, community engagement, and portfolio development
The documentary filmmaking major offers a robust production experience and includes film history, writing, and new documentary production forms. It will prepare you for graduate school, professional industries, and community engagement.
Additionally, the program will connect itself to the local documentary film community through guest lectures, events, and an annual festival -- the culminating event for seniors in the film program.