CFP: [Film] Avant-Doc Conference (University of Iowa)

full name / name of organization: 
Ryan Watson
contact email: 

Avant-Doc: Intersections of Avant-Garde and Documentary Film is hosted by
the Department of Cinema and Comparative
Literature at the University of Iowa and co-sponsored by the Institute for
Cinema and Culture at the University of Iowa.

Avant-Doc: Intersections of Avant-Garde and Documentary Film
The University of Iowa
March 5-7, 2009
Abstract Deadline: November 21, 2008

Keynote Speakers:
Alexandra Juhasz, Professor of Media Studies, Pitzer College
Juhasz is the author of essential books in film studies like AIDS TV:
Identity, Community and
Alternative Video and Women of Vision: Histories in Feminist Media and
influential articles on
feminism, film theory and documentary, as well as a prominent maker of many
documentaries, including Video Remains (2005), Dear Gabe (2003) and WE
CARE: A Video for
Careproviders of People Affected by AIDS (1990).

Scott MacDonald, Visiting Professor of Film History, Hamilton College,
Harvard University
MacDonald is a historian of the American avant-garde and the author of the
landmark series
A Critical Cinema: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers. He has also
authored three books on
institutions that have kept alternative cinema alive: the companion volumes
Cinema 16:
Documents Toward a History of the Film Society and Art in Cinema: Documents
Toward a History of the
Film Society and the recent Canyon Cinema: The Life and Times of an
Independent Film Distributor.
Other recent books include The Garden in the Machine: A Field Guide to
Independent Films about
Place and the forthcoming Cinema As Exploration: Essays/Interviews.

Organized by graduate students in the Department of Cinema and Comparative
Literature at the
University of Iowa, Avant-Doc: Intersections of Avant-Garde and Documentary
Film seeks to explore the
historical and contemporary intersections of documentary and avant-garde
film and media. While
the categories of avant-garde and documentary have been used to designate
modes of filmmaking
and institutional frameworks, in practice, filmmakers, theorists and
spectators have experienced and
understood the two as malleable and interactive categories. Our renewed
interest in their interaction
is due to new production and exhibition technologies, the boom in
experimental documentary
production, and renewed questions of media praxis in response to global
crises such as the Iraq War.
Avant-Doc foregrounds the relationships between avant-garde and documentary
modes in order to
open examinations of their productive intersections and the many historical
and theoretical
questions that emerge from them.

Possible approaches:
• Readings of documentary and/or avant-garde films, including, but not
limited to, cross
readings (i.e. reading avant-garde films as documentary, non-fiction film
as avant-garde, etc.)
• Studies of experimental documentaries, including self-reflexive
historiographically engaged experimental films, experimental ethnographies
and essay films,
and/or the works of a particular filmmaker (Rouch, Marker, Berliner,
Godmilow, etc.)
• Histories of intersections in production, distribution and exhibition
• Histories of the institutional categories, their intersections, and/or
• Discussions of alternative media practices and mixed programs

Film panels featuring three papers and creative presentations are also
encouraged. Please include a
panel or session title, brief description of theme, name of chair, and
abstract for each presentation.
To propose a paper, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words and
a brief CV by
November 21, 2008 to or send to Sara Sullivan,
Department of Cinema and
Comparative Literature, E210 AJB, Iowa City, IA 52242.

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Received on Fri Sep 05 2008 - 15:15:47 EDT