Documentary film

A documentary film or documentary is a non-fictional motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education or maintaining a historical record".[1] Bill Nichols has characterized the documentary in terms of "a filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception [that remains] a practice without clear boundaries".[2]

A 16 mm spring-wound Bolex "H16" Reflex camera—a popular entry-level camera used in film schools

Early documentary films, originally called "actuality films", lasted one minute or less. Over time, documentaries have evolved to become longer in length, and to include more categories. Some examples are educational, observational and docufiction. Documentaries are very informative, and are often used within schools as a resource to teach various principles. Documentary filmmakers have a responsibility to be truthful to their vision of the world without intentionally misrepresenting a topic.

Social-media platforms (such as YouTube) have provided an avenue for the growth of the documentary-film genre. These platforms have increased the distribution area and ease-of-accessibility.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Documentary film, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.