Behind the Scenes: The Literary Documentary, Scene II

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Behind the Scenes: The Literary Documentary, Scene II (roundtable)

Literary documentaries have become a popular pedagogical tool in higher education. Abstracts are invited from literary, media/film, and legal studies’ professionals to share their experiences, expertise and perspectives on the processes and complexities in creating a literary documentary. 

Literary documentaries in the past decade have become not only popular in higher education, but they are popular among the general public.  These documentaries, an excellent medium for teaching poets and writers, offer audiences a culturally rich, fascinating aspect of a writer’s daily life (i.e., Creeley, Olson, Merwin, de Prima, Sendak, Percy; see 2014 AWP), revealing poignant, intimate scenes of his/her creative life. 

However, what are the pitfalls of biographical misinterpretation in a brief, 60-minute glimpse into a writer’s life? Whom to interview for a “real” portrayal (friends, family, scholars)? How to “pitch” your doc to sell your film? What are the complexities to consider, for example the plan from idea to reality, funding, marketing?  What are the legal considerations of copyright, contracts, insurance, distribution, royalties? Which documentaries are considered worthy entries in the national and international film festivals?  250-300 word abstracts.