Constructions of the Real: Intersections of Practice and Theory in Documentary-Based Filmmaking

As more filmmakers have entered into academic institutions, and other film practitioners have sought to engage with philosophy, the relationship between filmmaking and theory has become entwined in dynamic ways. The confluence of theory and practice has impacted on the relationship between forms, platforms and content. Further, it has interrogated how the process of filmmaking can create new knowledge, and can apply theory to the filmmaking process to open up new ways of practising. 

Constructions of the Real seeks to bring together documentary-based practitioner-researchers writing about their processes of making. Drawn from a range of global perspectives, each chapter aims to reflect a deep engagement with the creative-theoretical processes of film and media making located in a phenomenological world. Through a range of diverse and situated practices, the book engages with current debates about the role of creative scholarship, making a claim for documentary and non-fiction filmmaking as a necessary practice for framing, critiquing and interpreting the world. 

Agnès Varda coined the term cinécriture to describe film as emerging from a subtle and complex process involving reconnaissance, inspirations, writing, shooting and editing (2014). We embrace this emphasis on the creative entanglements of relationships and things encountered by the  filmmaker. Through prioritising process, we see non-fiction filmmaking as a creative act, messy and full of contradictions. We welcome authors who can speak to these issues from their own practice. 

Alongside this, we are interested in non-fiction filmmaking that disrupts the “reassuring mutual reinforcement of sound and image” (Marks, 2000) of traditional documentary by suggesting new forms, structures and intentions.  

We are initially seeking a 300 word abstract for eventual chapters of 5000-6000 words. Please include a short author bio (100 words) and brief bibliography (in addition to the abstract length) with your abstract.

Deadline for abstracts is: August 11, 2020.

Draft chapters will be due in the first half of 2021.

You can send abstracts, and any questions you have, to

We actively encourage practitioner-scholars from the Global South as well as Indigenous and First Nation practitioners.

Some provocations for the book chapters include:

The Expanded Essay Film

What are the new directions that the essay film is heading in, and how are practitioner/academics working with the affordances of new technologies and platforms?

The Other-than-Human 

What strategies can be employed to shift perspectives from the anthropocentric?

Contested Spaces  

How can filmmaking practices reveal and critique histories and sovereignty of place? 

Disruptions and Transgressions

How can strategies of disruptions and transgressions challenge the gendered or colonial gaze?

Making Memory 

How can non-fiction filmmaking create memory for the practitioner, speak into silences, and make a past in order to restore the present?

Filming the Self

Can filming the self achieve ‘reconciliation’, how might this be achieved and at what cost?

Archive as Practice

How can moving-image archives be recycled to reframe social relationships  across time and space?


What can working with amateur home movies offer as a method to explore professional practice?

Publisher for the Book

We intend to publish with Intellect Books, in particular as part of the book series Artwork Scholarship: International Perspectives in Education, edited by Anita Sinner, Associate Professor in the Department of Art Education at Concordia University, Canada, and Rita Irwin, Professor of Art Education in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia, Canada. 

You can find more about the series here: 

Book Editors

Kim Munro is a documentary maker and lecturer at RMIT University. She has published broadly in books and journals on the intersections between documentary theory and practice. Catherine Gough-Brady is an award-winning documentary producer and director who has published widely on the emergent use of video as a method of academic discourse. Christine Rogers is a filmmaker and scholar and her non-fiction writing has been published in journals, newspapers and anthologies. She co-edited the book Mediations: Working Papers on Media and Practice, RMIT University, with Professor Lisa French and Dr. Jenny Weight. Liz Burke is a documentary producer, whose work has been distributed through broadcast television and film festivals. Her area of academic research is the intersection between interactive documentary and the essay film. She lectures at Swinburne University of Technology. Liz Baulch is a film producer whose narrative and experimental films have screened widely on the international film festival circuit. Her current creative practice and area of research is the recontextualisation of the Australian family in amateur home movies. She lectures at Deakin University.

Catherine Gough-Brady


Ph: +61 0438114064