Docudrama

A docudrama (or documentary drama) is a genre of radio and television programming, feature film, and staged theatre, which features dramatized re-enactments of actual events. On stage, it is sometimes known as documentary theatre.

In the core elements of its story a docudrama strives to adhere to known historical facts, while allowing a greater or lesser degree of dramatic license in peripheral details, and where there are gaps in the historical record. Dialogue may include the actual words of real-life persons, as recorded in historical documents. Docudrama producers sometimes choose to film their reconstructed events in the actual locations in which the historical events occurred.

A docudrama, in which historical fidelity is the keynote, is generally distinguished from a film merely "based on true events", a term which implies a greater degree of dramatic license; and from the concept of "historical drama", a broader category which may also encompass largely fictionalized action taking place in historical settings or against the backdrop of historical events.

As a portmanteau, docudrama is sometimes confused with docufiction. However, unlike docufiction—which is essentially a documentary filmed in real time, incorporating some fictional elements—docudrama is filmed at a time subsequent to the events portrayed.

Characteristics

Docudramas tend to demonstrate some or most of the following characteristics

  • Representation of actual historical events
  • Based on what actually happened
  • Use of literary and narrative techniques to flesh out the bare facts of an event in history to tell a story
  • Some degree of license is often taken with minor historical facts for the sake of enhancing the drama

Docudramas are distinct from historical fiction, in which the historical setting is a mere backdrop for a plot involving fictional characters.

History

The impulse to incorporate historical material into literary texts has been an intermittent feature of literature in the west since its earliest days. Aristotle's theory of art is based on the use of putatively historical events and characters. Especially after the development of modern mass-produced literature, there have been genres that relied on history or then-current events for material. English Renaissance drama, for example, developed subgenres specifically devoted to dramatizing recent murders and notorious cases of witchcraft.

However, docudrama as a separate category belongs to the second half of the twentieth century. After World War II, Louis de Rochemont, creator of The March of Time, became a producer at 20th Century Fox. There he brought the newsreel aesthetic to films, producing a series of movies based upon real events using a realistic style that became known as semidocumentary. The films (The House on 92nd Street, Boomerang, 13 Rue Madeleine) were widely imitated, and the style soon became used even for completely-fictional stories, such as The Naked City. Perhaps the most significant of the semidocumentary films was He Walked by Night, based upon serial killer Erwin Walker. Jack Webb had a supporting role in the movie and struck up a friendship with the LAPD consultant, Sergeant Marty Wynn. The film and his relationship with Wynn inspired Webb to create what became one of the most famous docudramas in history: Dragnet.

The influence of New Journalism tended to create a license for authors to treat with literary techniques material that might in an earlier age have been approached in a purely journalistic way. Both Truman Capote and Norman Mailer were influenced by this movement, and Capote's In Cold Blood is arguably the most famous example of the genre.

American television

Some docudrama examples for American television include Brian's Song (1971), and Roots (1977). Brian's Song is the biography of Brian Piccolo, a Chicago Bears football player who died at a young age after battling cancer. Roots depicts the life of a slave and his family.[1]

Examples

This list is ordered by release date.

Radio

Film

Television

See also

References

  1. ^ "Docudrama". The Museums of Broadcast Communications. Archived from the original on 2012-08-12. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  2. ^ KING, 1978 film

Bibliography

  • Duarte, German A. (2009). La scomparsa dell'orologio universale. Peter Watkins e i mass media audiovisivi. Milan: Mimesis Edizioni. ISBN 978-8857501222.
  • Duarte, German A. (2016). Conversations With Peter Watkins/COnversaciones con Peter Watkins. Bogotà: UTADEO PRESS. ISBN 978-958-725-195-1. External link in |title= (help)
  • Goodwin, Andrew, et al. Drama-Documentary. London: British Film Institute, 1983.
  • Hellmann, John (1981). Fables of Fact: The New Journalism as New Fiction. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252008472.
  • Hoffer, Tom W. & Richard Alan Nelson. “Docudrama on American Television”, Journal of the University Film Association 30, no. 2 (Spring 1978): 21–7.
  • Kazin, Alfred (1973). Bright Book of Life: American Hot Dogs and Storytellers from Hemingway to Mailer. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0316484180.
  • Lipkin, Steven N., ed. (2002). Real Emotional Logic: Film and Television Docudrama As Persuasive Practice. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-2409-5.
  • Lukács, György (1962). Mitchell, Hannah; Mitchell, Stanley, eds. The Historical Novel. London: Merlin Press.
  • Paget, Derek (2011). No Other Way to Tell It: Dramadoc/docudrama on television (2nd ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-8446-1.
  • Rhodes, Gary Don; Springer, John Parris, eds. (2006). Docufictions: Essays on the intersection of documentary and fictional filmmaking. London: McFarland & Co. ISBN 978-0-7864-2184-8.
  • Roscoe, Jane; Hight, Craig (2001). Faking it: Mock-documentary and the subversion of factuality. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-5641-3.
  • Rosenthal, Alan (1995). Writing Docudrama: dramatizing reality for film and TV. Boston, Mass.: Focal Press. ISBN 0240801954.
  • Rosenthal, Alan (1999). Why Docudrama?: Fact-Fiction on Film and TV. Carbondale & Edwardsville: Southern Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-2186-5.
  • Siegle, Robert (1984). "Capote's Hand-Carved Coffins and the Nonfiction Novel". Contemporary Literature. 25: 437–451. doi:10.2307/1208055.
  • Stavreva, Kirilka (2000). "Fighting Words: Witch-speak in Late Elizabethan Docu-fiction". Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. 30: 309–338. doi:10.1215/10829636-30-2-309.
  • White, Hayden (1978). Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801821274.

External links

1976 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours

The 1976 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were announced on 27 May 1976 to mark the resignation of the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. The list of honours became known satirically as the "Lavender List".

Black Watch (play)

Black Watch is a play written by Gregory Burke and directed by John Tiffany as part of the first season of the National Theatre of Scotland.Based on interviews with former soldiers, it portrays soldiers in the Black Watch regiment of the British Army serving on Operation TELIC in Iraq during 2004, prior to the amalgamation into the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Black Watch was first performed during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on 1 August 2006 in a temporary traverse stage at the former University of Edinburgh Officer Training Corps' Drill hall.Well received by critics, Black Watch has won four Olivier Awards including Best New Play.

It has also won a Herald Angel, The Scotsman Fringe First, a Best Theatre Writing Award from The List, a Stage Award for Best Ensemble, the South Bank Show award for Theatre and four Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland.

David Bradley (English actor)

David John Bradley (born 17 April 1942) is an English actor. He is known for playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter film series, Walder Frey in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones and Abraham Setrakian in the FX horror series The Strain. He is also an established stage actor with a career that includes a Laurence Olivier Award for his role in a production of King Lear.

Other acting credits include the BBC series Our Friends in the North, the ITV series Broadchurch (for which he won the best supporting actor award at the 2014 British Academy Television Awards), and the films Hot Fuzz, The World's End and Captain America: The First Avenger.

In 2012, he played Solomon in the episode of Doctor Who called "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship". In 2013, Bradley portrayed William Hartnell in the Doctor Who docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time. He returned to Doctor Who portraying the First Doctor in "The Doctor Falls" and the 2017 Christmas Special "Twice Upon a Time". He also portrayed William Hartnell's First Doctor in a series of audio stories released by Big Finish entitled The First Doctor Adventures starting in January 2018.

Docufiction

Docufiction (or docu-fiction), often confused with docudrama, is the cinematographic combination of documentary and fiction, this term often meaning narrative film.

It is a film genre which attempts to capture reality such as it is (as direct cinema or cinéma vérité) and which simultaneously introduces unreal elements or fictional situations in narrative in order to strengthen the representation of reality using some kind of artistic expression.More precisely, it is a documentary mixed with fictional elements, in real time, filmed when the events take place, and in which the main character or characters — often portrayed by non-professional or amateur actors — are essentially playing themselves, or slightly fictionalized versions of themselves, in a fictionalized scenario. In this sense, docufiction may overlap to an extent with some aspects of the mockumentary format, but the terms are not synonymous.

A film genre in expansion, it is adopted by a number of experimental filmmakers.

The neologism docufiction appeared at the beginning of the 21st century. It is now commonly used in several languages and widely accepted for classification by international film festivals.

Drama (film and television)

In film and television, drama is a genre of narrative fiction (or semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular subgenre, such as "police crime drama", "political drama", "legal drama", "historical period drama", "domestic drama", or "comedy-drama". These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject-matter, or else they qualify the otherwise serious tone of a drama with elements that encourage a broader range of moods.

All forms of cinema or television that involve fictional stories are forms of drama in the broader sense if their storytelling is achieved by means of actors who represent (mimesis) characters. In this broader sense, drama is a mode distinct from novels, short stories, and narrative poetry or songs. In the modern era before the birth of cinema or television, "drama" within theatre was a type of play that was neither a comedy nor a tragedy. It is this narrower sense that the film and television industries, along with film studies, adopted. "Radio drama" has been used in both senses—originally transmitted in a live performance, it has also been used to describe the more high-brow and serious end of the dramatic output of radio.

Factual television

Factual television is a genre of non-fiction television programming that documents actual events and people. These types of programs are also described as documentary, observational documentary, fly on the wall, docudrama, and reality television. Although the genre has existed in some form or another since the early years of television, the term factual television has most commonly been used to describe programs produced since the 1990s.

Frost/Nixon (play)

Frost/Nixon is a 2006 British play by screenwriter and dramatist Peter Morgan based on a series of televised interviews that former U.S. President Richard Nixon granted broadcaster David Frost in 1977 about his administration, including his role in the Watergate scandal.

Heroes and Villains (TV series)

Heroes and Villains was a 2007–2008 BBC Television drama series looking at key moments in the lives and reputations of some of the greatest warriors of history. Each hour-long episode featured a different historical figure, including Napoleon I of France, Attila the Hun, Spartacus, Hernán Cortés, Richard I of England, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. The statements at the beginning of each episode read: "This film depicts real events and real characters. It is based on the accounts of writers of the time. It has been written with the advice of modern historians." In the United States the show was aired on The Military Channel and was called "Warriors".

I Am My Own Wife

I Am My Own Wife is a play by Doug Wright based on his conversations with German Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. The one-man play premiered Off-Broadway in 2003 at Playwrights Horizons. It opened on Broadway later that year. The play was developed with Moisés Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project, and Kaufman also acted as director. Jefferson Mays starred in the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, playing some forty roles. Wright received the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work.

I Am My Own Wife (or I Am My Own Woman) is also the English title of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf's autobiography, first issued in 1992, translated in 1995.

List of films set in ancient Rome

This page lists films set in the city of Rome during the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire. Where films are only partly set in Rome, they are so noted.

Mockumentary

A mockumentary (a portmanteau of mock and documentary) or docucomedy is a type of movie or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary.These productions are often used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a fictional setting, or to parody the documentary form itself. While mockumentaries are usually comedic, pseudo-documentaries are their dramatic equivalents. However, pseudo-documentary should not be confused with docudrama, a fictional genre in which dramatic techniques are combined with documentary elements to depict real events. Also, docudrama is different from docufiction; a genre in which documentaries are contaminated with fictional elements.

Mockumentaries are often presented as historical documentaries, with B roll and talking heads discussing past events, or as cinéma vérité pieces following people as they go through various events. Examples emerged during the 1950s when archival film footage became relatively easy to locate. A very early example was a short piece on the "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest" that appeared as an April fools' joke on the British television program Panorama in 1957.

The term "mockumentary", which originated in the 1960s, was popularized in the mid-1980s when This Is Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner used it in interviews to describe that film.Mockumentaries are often partly or wholly improvised, as an unscripted style of acting helps to maintain the pretense of reality. Comedic mockumentaries rarely have laugh tracks, also to sustain the atmosphere, although exceptions exist.

Music "is often employed to expose the ambiguities and fallacies of conventional storytelling; for instance by pointing at the paradoxes of the distinction between diegetic and extradiegetic music".

Soaked in Bleach

Soaked in Bleach is a 2015 American docudrama directed by Benjamin Statler, who co-wrote and produced it with Richard Middelton and Donnie Eichar. The film details the events leading up to the death of Kurt Cobain, as seen through the perspective of Tom Grant, the private detective who was hired by Courtney Love to find Cobain, shortly before his death in 1994. It also explores the premise that Cobain's death was not a suicide. The film stars Tyler Bryan as Cobain and Daniel Roebuck as Grant, with Sarah Scott portraying Courtney Love and August Emerson as Dylan Carlson.

The Bridge (2006 drama film)

The Bridge is a 2006 drama film directed by filmmaker Brett Hanover.A fictional story of involvement and disillusionment with Scientology, the film explicitly uses Scientology terms throughout, as well as including clips from actual Scientology promotional and training videos. It was released as free use media to the Internet in September 2006 by the filmmaker.The brochure of the Indie Memphis film festival stated that The Bridge was the "first feature film" about the Church Of Scientology. While it is set against the background of the Church of Scientology and the Sea Org, the characters and situations depicted are fictional.

The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project is a 2000 play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project (specifically, Leigh Fondakowski, writer-director; Stephen Belber, Greg Pierotti, Barbara Pitts, Stephen Wangh, Amanda Gronich, Sara Lambert, John McAdams, Maude Mitchell, Andy Paris, and Kelli Simpkins) about the reaction to the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. The murder was denounced as a hate crime and brought attention to the lack of hate crime laws in various states, including Wyoming.An example of verbatim theatre, the play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with inhabitants of the town, company members' own journal entries, and published news reports. It is divided into three acts, and eight actors portray more than sixty characters in a series of short scenes.

The Last Dragon (2004 film)

The Last Dragon, known as Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real in the United States, and also known as Dragon's World in other countries, is a British docufiction made by Darlow Smithson Productions for Channel Four and broadcast on both Channel Four and Animal Planet that is described as the story of "the natural history of the most extraordinary creature that never existed".

It posits a speculative evolution of dragons from the Cretaceous period up to the 15th century, and suppositions about what dragon life and behavior might have been like if they had existed and evolved. It uses the premise that the ubiquity of dragons in world mythology suggests that dragons could have existed. They are depicted as a scientifically feasible species of reptile that could have evolved, somewhat similar to the depiction of dragons in the Dragonology series of books. The dragons featured in the show were designed by John Sibbick.

The program switches between two stories. The first uses CGI to show the dragons in their natural habitat throughout history. The second shows the story of a modern-day scientist at a museum, Dr. Tanner, who believes in dragons. When the frozen remains of an unknown creature are discovered in the Carpathian Mountains, Tanner, and two colleagues from the museum, undertake the task to examine the specimen to try to save his reputation. Once there, they discover that the creature is a dragon. Tanner and his colleagues set about working out how it lived and died.

The Life of Verdi (miniseries)

The Life of Verdi is a 1982 Italian-language biographical television miniseries directed by Renato Castellani dramatizing the life of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Castellani also co-wrote the original script with Leonardo Benvenuti and Piero De Bernardi. The English version was written by Gene Luotto and narrated by Burt Lancaster. The miniseries first aired in 1982, and was made available on DVD in 2003.

The production stars British actor Ronald Pickup as Giuseppe Verdi, Italian ballet dancer and actress Carla Fracci as Giuseppina Verdi, and Giampiero Albertini as Antonio Barezzi. Funded by a number of European national broadcasting companies, the series is an accurate portrayal of Verdi's life.

According to promotional material for the production, it was "filmed on location in Italy, Leningrad, London, and Paris...(T)his epic mini-series took several years to create, requiring more than 100 actors, 1800 extras, and 4000 costumes."

The Lost Boys (TV series)

The Lost Boys is a 1978 docudrama mini-series produced by the BBC, written by Andrew Birkin, and directed by Rodney Bennett. It is about the relationship between Peter Pan creator J. M. Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies boys.

The Queen (British TV serial)

The Queen was a 2009 British drama-documentary showing Queen Elizabeth II at different points during her life. Broadcast on Channel 4 over five consecutive nights from 29 November 2009, the Queen was portrayed by a different actress in each episode. The series was co-funded by the American Broadcasting Company, the network which aired the series in the US.This marked the first of two times Emilia Fox and Katie McGrath portrayed sisters: they would go on to appear as Morgause and Morgana in BBC One's Merlin.

Wormwood (miniseries)

Wormwood is a 2017 American six-part docudrama miniseries directed by Errol Morris and released on Netflix on December 15, 2017. The series is based on the life of a scientist, Frank Olson, who may have unknowingly participated in a secret government biological warfare program (Project MKUltra).

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