Universitat Internacional de Catalunya


First semester
Main language of instruction: Catalan

Other languages of instruction: English, Spanish

Teaching staff

By appointment via e-mail: afernandezm@uic.es

10-15 minutes after the end of the on-site classes.


In the beginning, in the late 19th century, the main objective of the film was to portray reality. Throughout the 20th century, however, this task was preferably undertaken as documentaries, which look to narrate and give order to the reality around us. Television journalists rebranded this genre under the name report. Starting with their progressive implementation on the small screen, documentaries were relegated to an educational and informative genre in which creativity and form were of secondary importance. In the last 30 years, however, the documentary genre has expanded to include new avenues of expression and new audiences. It has become a genre that uses creativity to depict reality, crossing the border with fiction.

This course is a historical-critical approach to the most relevant cinematographic documentary forms up to the present day, dealing with their ethnographic, creative or performative character with authors such as Flaherty, Vertov, Rouch or Varda; their role in the Latin American political panorama after 1968; and the development of the documentary in Spain from Buñuel and Val del Omar to Martín Patino or Jordà.

Pre-course requirements

No prerequisites required.


The aim of this course is to introduce students to the documentary genre, from its beginnings to the present day, analyse how productions have evolved over time and take a look at the technological and format adaptations that have surfaced in the 21st century. In addition, students will also take part in an audiovisual creation workshop, in which they will create a documentary and a laboratory with a test exercise. The aim of this experience is to show students that audiovisual language can acquire new values and meanings. And that this means of communication can be a highly creative way of representing the world around us.


  • 01 - The ability to adapt to varying circumstances
  • 02 - The ability to understand, accept criticism and correct errors
  • 03 - The ability to administer and manage human and technical resources
  • 04 - The ability to work in a team and autonomously
  • 05 - The ability to organise time and workspace
  • 06 - The ability to develop academic rigour, responsibility, ethics and professionalism
  • 07 - The ability to apply the deontology and respect for the audiovisual sector
  • 08 - The ability of critical analysis, synthesis, concretion and abstraction
  • 10 - The ability to confront difficulties and resolve problems
  • 11 - The ability to generate debate and reflection
  • 12 - The ability to meet deadlines, develop the ability to be punctual and respect for human, technical and material resources
  • 13 - The ability to create spoken and written communication
  • 14 - Knowledge and mastery of rhetoric and oratory to communicate own ideas
  • 16 - The ability to manage, analysis and reflect on content
  • 19 - The ability of informative documentation
  • 21 - Knowledge and mastery of the digital culture
  • 22 - Knowledge and mastery of the distinction between opinion and information / colloquial and cultured register
  • 23 - The ability to prioritize newsworthy events and contrast information
  • 24 - The ability to plan and organize both short term and long term projects
  • 25 - The ability to maximize creative development
  • 26 - The ability to develop a sense of taste and perfection in the aesthetics and finalization of projects
  • 32 - The ability to confront audiovisual and film projects in all phases (pre-production, shooting, post-production, distribution)
  • 33 - The ability to create and direct.
  • 34 - The ability to know and respect the different roles of the artistic and technical teams
  • 42 - The ability to distinguish, analyze and dominate the distinct genres and formats of television, film and radio
  • 43 - the ability to create scripts for film, television and radio according to the demands of the genre
  • 44 - The ability to adapt to new audiovisual formats
  • 45 - The ability to know and dominate the techniques of audiovisual narrative.
  • 46 - The ability to dominate resources used for image (Photographs, lighting...) and sound.
  • 48 - Knowledge and mastery of the techniques of filming, directing, producing and editing
  • 49 - The ability to write fluent texts, step outlines or scripts
  • 51 - Knowledge and mastery of the functioning of Corporate and Institutional Communication.
  • 53 - Lingustic ability in Catalan, Spanish and English
  • 54 - The ability to skillfully manage the literature, terminology and linguistic structures of the English language related to the field of communication.

Learning outcomes

To study the evolution of the documentary genre from its beginnings to present day. 

To create creation workshops in which students can complete their exercises and, in doing so, develop a personal approach through documentary techniques. 

To acquire knowledge of the documentary genre through the analysis of documentary films and the perspectives of various documentary filmmakers. 

To understand the diverse range of creative possibilities that contemporary documentaries hold.


1. Introduction: the limits of documentary truth. Documenting reality. Formal issues in documentary film. The pioneers of documentary film. The origin of non-fiction cinema in Spain.

2. The foundations of non-fiction film (1920s - 1940s). Ethical issues in the documentary: Las Hurdes. Tierra sin pan (Luis Buñuel, 1933). José Val del Omar Seminar.

3. Searching for reality: From direct cinema and observational documentary to performative documentary.

4. The political documentary: notions of the Latin American documentary. The late Francoist documentary: Basilio Martín Patino and Jaime Chávarri.

5. Creative documentary: Agnès Varda and the subjective documentary. Questions of self-representation and minorities.

6. The limits of reality: found footage and fake documentary. Chris Marker and the film essay: The autobiographical documentary. From the filmed diary to autofiction.

Teaching and learning activities

In person


Coaching. Monitoring how students learn the content of the subject, either individually or in groups. In the coaching sessions, mistakes will be corrected, queries answered, and exercises and activities to achieve the established objectives will be suggested. 1.2
Meeting Point. Meetings will be organised with notable people from the professional and scientific fields or the international field, and students. These sessions will take the form of conferences, work sessions, discussions, or interviews, etc. 0.2
Practical workshop. A highly practical working activity, where students can acquire skills that are practical or also theoretical (intellectual skills, logical skills, critical skills, intellectual learning skills, study skills, quoting skills, etc). 0.4
Lectures. In lectures, lecturers/professors not only transmit content or knowledge, but also, and above all else, attitudes, motivation, skills and values, etc. They also ensure that participants can express their opinions and arguments to the other students. 0.8
Mentoring programme. Ensuring a review of and in-depth look at competences and knowledge, as well as the development of habits involving social commitment and responsibility, with the strongest students providing guidance for students from lower years, particularly if they have any type of disability (physical, etc). 0.4

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

30% Practical exercises and group projects

30% Individual written exercises on mandatory texts or films delivered during the sessions.

30% Final exam.

10% Individual mark: attitude, initiative, technical skills, creativity and teamwork.


* The lecturer reserves the right to give students a fail mark on their audiovisual project if they don't achieve the minimum level of attendance, initiative and in-class participation. 

 * Students must attend at least 80% of the classes 

 * The faculty's rules on spelling mistakes and plagiarism shall be strictly observed.

Other sittings

Students who take the second sitting will be required to do a writing essay.

Bibliography and resources

Mandatory bibliography

BRUZZI, S. (2006). New Documentary. London: Routledge.

CAMPO, J et.al. (Ed.) (2020). El cine documental: una encrucijada estética y política. Buenos Aires: Prometeo libros.

EISENSTEIN, S. M. (1987). La forma del cine. Madrid, Cátedra.

NICHOLS, B. (1997). La representación de la realidad. Cuestiones y conceptos sobre el documental. Barcelona: Paidós.

NINEY, F. (2009). La prueba de lo real en la pantalla. Ensayo sobre el principio de realidad documental. Ciudad de México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

PUDOVKIN, V. (1957): Lecciones de cinematografía. Madrid, Rialp.

RENOV, M. (2004). The subject of Documentary. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

ROUCH, J. (1979) «La camera et les hommes» en FRANCE, C. de, Pour une anthropologie visuelle. 

TARKOVSKI, A. (1991): Esculpir en el tiempo. Madrid, Rialp.

VERTOV, D. (1974): El cine ojo. Madrid, Fundamentos.

WEINRICHTER, A. (2004). Desvíos de lo real. El cine de no ficción. Madrid: T&B Editores.

ZUNZUNEGUI, S., ZUMALDE, I. (2019). Ver para creer. Avatares de la verdad cinematográfica. Madrid: Cátedra.


Complementary bibliography

AUMONT, J. y otros (1995): Estética del cine. Espacio fílmico, montaje, narración, lenguaje. Barcelona, Paidós.

BALLÓ, J. y PÉREZ, J. (1997): La semilla inmortal. Los argumentos universales en el cine. Barcelona, Anagrama.

BAZIN, A. (1991): ¿Qué es el cine?. Madrid, Rialp.

BORDWELL, D. (1996): La narración en el cine de ficción. Barcelona, Paidós.

BURH, N. (1987): El tragaluz del infinito. Contribución a la genealogía del lenguaje cinematográfico. Madrid, Cátedra.

CHION M.  (1990): Cómo se escribe un guión. Madrid, Cátedra.

CHION M.  (2004) La voz en el cine. Madrid: Cátedra.

GUBERN, R.: (1995): Historia del Cine. Barcelona, Lumen.