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‘Docu-feature film’- The Film-maker craft

Documentary Film:  Non-fiction, motion picture intended to ‘document reality’.  Documentaries are basically very short in length. It consists of educational, observational and docufictional. The purpose of documentaries are instruction, education or maintaining a historical record.

The documentary can spread awareness, bring out neglected issues, clear political disputes, reflect reality and produce a quick piece for refreshment.  Documentaries are usually produced by filmmakers who wish to bring change.  The research revealed that 80% of Documentary makers have a focus to make a difference, highlighting causes of global, social, economic and individual level.

Independent film-making business is on the rise due to Documentary. Internet Platforms like Youtube highly supports new filmmakers and their stories.

Type of Documentaries-

  1. Poetic – focuses on feel & tone of a subject. It is mainly traditional.
  2. Expository– Documentaries with narration.
  3. Participatory- Narrator also participates like Travel blogs and food docs.
  4. Observational– filmmaker usually follows a story until she finds a meaningful conclusion.
  5. Reflexive– Asking questions and giving answers about a particular area. It is directed on self and not towards the outside subject.
  6. Performative –  It is directed towards outside subject along with self.

Feature Film:

It is a full-length film between which advertisements could be shown.

In 1927, Warner Bros released the first feature film with a sound, The jazz singer. Next major advancement in feature film started with the rise of color films.

A feature film is an Audio-visual production. It is a combination of story, acting, dance, songs and climax.

Feature films longer than 45 minutes are produced in 70mm format.

There are varieties of Genre in feature films- comedy, drama, action, horror, adventure, science fiction, romantic, melodrama, musical etc.

Language of Documentaries 

Language of Documentaries has something to say about “now”, but the now is ad infinitum. Documentary always says what they intend to say.

Documentaries could be more than what it represents was an idea presented by John Grierson (Scottish Documentary maker). The basic axiology of documentaries is to raise awareness- social, political or life in general.

“Every film is a documentary because it “gives evidence of the culture that produced it and reproduced the likeness of the people who perform in it.”” (Nichols 1991:1) The Wizard of oz (1939).

Gregory Currie (British philosopher and academic) believes that cinema is a means of communication and it is representational. 

*A documentary is an art form because of the film-maker. In this, the objective characteristics of the filmmaker are less important than its subjective characteristics. But due to the lack of aesthetic characteristics, it is important to go beyond documentaries.

The latest trend in film making is docu-feature films. It is combining both aspects of documentaries and feature films. It could bring a mixed packet of Entertainment and awareness in a short period of time. Nowadays, audiences don’t expect long-length film. But they expect more entertainment in a lesser period of time. This could be achieved by the increased production of Docu-feature film.

 Docu Feature Film:

A documentary film that runs 40 minutes or longer is docu-feature film.

This film also includes the aesthetic characters as found in feature films.

This could provide entertainment as well as give useful message of awareness.

Docudrama- It is a fictional and dramatized recreation of factual events in the form of documentary. The Apple(1998)- a docudrama

Examples of Docu-feature Films:

Ivan’s Childhood(1962)

The postman (1997)

1947 Earth (1998) by Deepa Mehta(Indo-Canadian)

Jis Desh mein Ganga Behti hain (1961) by Radhu Karmakar

Guide (1965) by Vijay Anand

Dastak(1970) by Rajinder Singh Bedi

Andhi(1975) by Gulzar

Bhumika (1978) by Shyam Benegal

Aakrosh (1980) by Govind Nihalani

Mirch Masala (1987) by Ketan Mehta

Bombay (1995) by Mani Ratnam

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar(2000) by Jabbar Patel

My name is Khan (2010)

Manjhi (2015) by Ketan Mehta

Aligarh (2016) by Hansal Mehta

Other docu-feature films

Ship of Theseus(2013)  by Anand Gandhi

Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) by Anurag Kashyap

Pink (2016) by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury


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