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Today migration is one of the most contested political and emotionally charged issues in the global public debate and media. While mainstream media often report on ‘the refugee crisis’ and migration from a factual and distant point of view, documentaries can offer an alternative perspective and can deepen our understanding of the complexities of migration, displacement and exile in today’s globalized world in ways that differ from mainstream journalism. Documentaries do so through artistic choices in the use of cinematic language such as sound, image and editing and through a focus on everyday human drama beyond the headlines.

In this course, we will investigate the different ways in which documentaries depict migrants, refugees and people in exile through a visit to IDFA, one of the world’s largest and leading documentary festivals. In the first part, students will be introduced to the field of documentary studies and get acquainted with the different (historical) modes of documentary storytelling. We will then zoom in on the issue of the representation of migration by attending multiple screenings at IDFA. In the second part, students will translate these insights and ideas into a concept for a their own (short) documentary on the issue of migration and they will develop a treatment.

Students will attend interactive lectures and guest lectures by filmmakers/researchers/experts, they will attend multiple screenings during IDFA (8-19 November), they will (individually) reflect on the topic of the representation of migration by writing an essay and they will (in groups) develop a concept, do research and write a treatment for their own (short) documentary.


Andrea Meuzelaar


The schedule will be available on Datanose.


Registration is possible for bachelor students participating in an Honours programme. The registration for the Honours courses will start 6 June 10 am and end on 11 June 11 pm. You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS (registration is not through SIS). Placement is random and students will hear within two weeks for which course(s) they are registered. There is no guarantee for placement if you register after 11 June, so make sure you register on time! 

For questions about registration please email to: 

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