Voices and Visions - Documentary Filmmaking

Lecture and panel discussion on documentary filmmaking today. University of Copenhagen, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication.

Documentary filmmaking today is more than ever both a national and transnational activity. More and more voices from different parts of the world are heard in the global media world and many documentary filmmakers take up issues that relate to a broader and more global agenda and understanding. 

The world we watch and witness through documentary film and television tell stories of conflicts and global problems, they can have strong social, cultural and political agendas. But by telling stories of national and transnational realities they also tell human stories, stories that expand our knowledge both of differences and those universal dimensions we all share as humans, no matter how different our life circumstances can be. In this session on documentary filmmaking today, we focus of the voices in and visions for the contemporary and future documentary.


13.00 -14.00: Lecture: Documentary Witness and Ethics
Professor John Ellis (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Documentary filming is an interaction between filmers and the filmed, a relationship that involves different expectations and unequal power. Today’s consumers of documentaries are themselves well used to the activity of making and using moving images. They are sceptical viewers. But is their scepticism sometimes misplaced? Does it get in the way of the processes of empathising with what they witness? And how do today’s filmers address this problem? 

14.15 -16.00 Panel discussion
Chair: Ib Bondebjerg (Professor UCPH).
Panel: Kim Christiansen (Editor, Documentary and Co-production, DR sales)John Ellis (professor, Royal Holloway), Joshua Oppenheimer (film director) Eva Mulvad (film director, Danish Documentary),



Short Presentation of participants

Ib Bondebjerg, professor at the department of Media, Cognition and Communication, UCPH. Has written extensively on documentary, latest publication: Engaging With Reality: Documentary and Globalization (2014).
Kim Christiansen, MA in Film Studies (UCPH), Documentary consultant TV2 (2002-06), Head of Sales TV2 World (2006-08), Co-production manager, DR International Sales (2008-12) and from 2013 Editor, Documentary and Co-production, DR-sales.


John Ellis, professor of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK and formerly a TV documentary producer. He is chair of the British Universities’ Film and Video Council (BUFVC). Publications include Seeing Things (2000) and Documentary. Witness and Self-revelation. (2012).

Eva Mulvad, film director and co-owner of Danish Documentary. Graduated 2001 as documentary filmmaker from The National Film School of Denmark. Has made prizewinning film and television documentaries, for instance The Last Dance (2005), Enemies of Happiness (2006), The Colony (2006) and The Good Life  (2010).

Joshua Oppenheimer, American-British film director, now living in Denmark, BA from Harvard in Film production and PhD from UK. Has produced films since 1995, among them The Globalisation Tapes (2003) and the hugely successful and prize-winning The Act of Killing (2012), nominated for an Oscar.



Thursday, May 8 2014, 13.00-16.00




Room 27.0.17
Department of Media, Cognition and Communication
Section for Film, Media and Communication
University of Copenhagen, South Campus
Karen Blixens Vej 4
2300 Copenhagen S





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