Documentary, as a voco-centric form, relies on interviews as a way to inform, motivate, and entertain an audience. Contributors in this workshop investigate the status of the interview and interviewing in contemporary documentary, and outline a terrain in which the interview functions as a form of the filmmaker’s voice. Participants approach the interview as a process that invites more scholarly investigation, conversation, and development of forms. This workshop questions the assumptions of the interview form and its use in documentary, instead finding new ways to utilize the interview as documentary praxis. Much of the compiled research delves into the inclusive interview practice, pushing back against the hierarchical and historical structure of the interview, breaking down power dynamics in interview spaces, and facilitating reciprocal and horizontal encounters between the interviewer and interviewee(s).
Bringing together a diverse group of scholar-practitioners, the participants of this workshop approach the interview as a site for exploration, experimentation, and play, developing strategies for both production and dissemination. The contributors approach the interview as a structure and practice in varying ways, lending to a dynamic conversation about its use in documentary production. The panelists bring a distinct set of approaches to the interview: as improvisational and polyphonic formats, as women’s empowerment, as creative material, as conversations with the non-human, and as group experiences.
This workshop provides participants the opportunity to reflect on the significance of the interview in its many forms: as an interactive encounter, as a process, as a completed document, and as an institution with historically patterned behavior. Through dialogue between the presenters and attendees, the workshop questions the ideological assumptions about the interview and the ways its pro-filmic practice pre-figures documentary film.
Gabrielle McNally is a time-based artist and scholar and Associate Professor of Digital Cinema in the School of Art and Design at Northern Michigan University. Gabrielle’s scholarly work currently explores the notions of voice, improvisation, memory, performance, autobiography, and gender as they relate to nonfiction. She has publications through Oxford University Press, Afterimage online, and MAI Feminism and Visual Culture. As a practicing artist, Gabrielle works in experimental autobiographical and essayistic nonfiction. Her videos have screened internationally in several film festivals and galleries.
Abi Weaver is an award-winning producer/director who has worked across a range of visual media from independent feature to programming for major UK broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5). Her latest film About a War (2018, Lebanon/UK) explores violence and change through the testimonies of ex-fighters from the Lebanese Civil War. Abi is a TECHNE-funded doctoral candidate at the University of Surrey and is also an affiliate of the Centre for Lebanese Studies. She is a consultant on academic research projects using documentary interview methods as tools for research and dissemination.
Catalina Alvarez is a film director and artist, and assistant professor of media arts at Antioch College. Her films draw on local research and are informed by theories of gender performativity and sound studies. She is a recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Flaherty Seminar, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Flux Factory, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Her films have screened at festivals including Slamdance, Fantastic Fest, New Orleans, and Palm Springs, and venues such as the ICA Philadelphia, the San Diego Art Institute, and the Museum of the Moving Image.
Catherine Gough-Brady is an award-winning documentary producer and director who has published on the emergent use of video as a method of academic discourse, and the relational nature of documentary production processes. Catherine Gough-Brady produced and directed six ABC TV documentary series, including Legal Briefs (2016) and Ethics Matters (2017). Catherine created 11 radio features for ABC Radio National. Catherine is currently in development for an ABC TV series The Human Environment, which examines human relationships to our environments. Catherine is an associate editor of Screenworks, a peer-reviewed journal.
Daniel Tucker works as an educator, artist, writer, and organizer developing documentaries, publications, exhibitions, and events inspired by his interest in social movements and the people and places from which they emerge. His writings and lectures on the intersections of art and politics and his collaborative art projects have been published and presented widely and are documented on the archive miscprojects.com. Most recently his video essays were the focus of a month-long program at the Visual Studies Workshop. He is currently an Assistant Professor and the founding Graduate Program Director in Socially-Engaged Art at Moore College of Art & Design.