Mockumentary and Docu-Genres


This course introduces students to key debates in documentary studies, cinematic realism and generic innovation. From its inception, documentary’s ontological status has been fiercely contested. Critics have struggled to define the genre’s relationship to fact, truth and reality and to differentiate it from other cinematic practices. Audiences find fake documentary and mockumentary tactics alternately engaging and infuriating.

By looking at ways in which the documentary form has been modified, hybridised and applied to non-documentary genres, this course explores how truth claims have been constructed and how genres undergo transformation. Mockumentary, fake documentary, ethnographic surrealism, docu-horror and comedy vérité demonstrate not only how documentary is conventionally conceptualised, but also how reflexivity, irony and parody operate in factual filmmaking and, increasingly, in entertainment more generally. In addition to exploring these various aims, this course offers students the opportunity to see a diverse range of films either classified as "documentary" or classified in relation to documentary.

Availability 2023

Not offered in 2023; planned for 2024




MEDIA 220: 15 points


15 points at Stage I in Media and Screen Studies and 30 points passed


FTVMS 220, FTVMS 316, MEDIA 316