A Journey Through the History of Documentary

I see this book as a journey through the history of documentary, an art form not more than one hundred and thirty years old, looked at in light of this call, this mandate, to bear witness to the truth. We will start at the beginning, and examine the major genre developments in documentary technique, and then explore these truth-revealing functions in representative films within each genre. There is a sense in which documentarians in each period have recognized the need to push past the noise, the justifications, the cover-ups and diversions in order to bear witness, testify, confess, celebrate or mourn and finally, to illuminate the truth. As we shall see, the major historical developments in style within the genres of documentary film quite often have to do with the desire to more accurately represent reality, and these new techniques seek to uncover more and more of these aspects of truth.

– from the upcoming book “How to Film the Truth: The Story of Documentary Film As a Spiritual Journey” to be released in the Spring of 2018 by Wipf & Stock