Proposals are sought for a panel for this year's Visible Evidence conference, to take place in New York City, August 11 - 14 (

Documentary and the Context of Non-Fiction

It has been claimed that our understanding of a documentary as such is influenced as much by the extra-textual as the textual and that the authentication of the documentary image comes not from the image itself, but the context in which it is presented to the audience (Nichols, Rosen). That is, it is the information surrounding a documentary, rather than the documentary itself, that encourages us to receive it or reject it as a non-fiction text. Extra-textual information, such as filmmaker websites, behind-the-scenes footage (making-of documentaries), interviews and articles in the popular press enhance our understanding of the meaning and significance of a particular text. Similarly, challenges to documentary authenticity and mock-documentary ‘outings’ frequently circulate through blogs, social networking forums and in the popular and critical press. 

This panel will explore the extra-textual context of documentary as a means by which our understanding of (a) documentary is enhanced, influenced and altered. Papers are sought on how the extra-textual changes the way we receive and perceive specific documentaries and documentary more generally. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
- making-of/ behind-the-scene documentaries on documentaries
- documentary marketing campaigns
- documentary debunkings/ challenges
- documentary and/in the press
- documentary, mock-documentary and the extra-textual
- filmmaker websites and other modes of self-presentation

Submissions should be in the form of a single email attachment (Word or pdf) including a 250-300 word abstract and a brief author bio detailing previous Visible Evidence participation. Deadline: January 1st to Bella Honess Roe (a.honessroe at Participants will be notified as to their inclusion in the panel by January 8th.


Dr. Bella Honess Roe 
Lecturer - Film Studies 
Department of Dance, Film and Theatre 
University of Surrey 
Surrey GU2 7XH 
+44 (0)1483 683049

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