Designing a New Documentary Landscape: A renegotiation of documentary voice through animated collage

Greg Bevan, Marc Bosward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Documentaries represent issues and aspects of the socio-historical world. They do so through a selection and combination of audio and visual components. Inevitably, this practice makes intrinsic claims about documentary’s ability to represent the world both accurately and reliably. Facts, information, balance and reliability are the bedrock of documentary vocabulary. Comparatively few practitioners have genuinely interrogated the veracity of their craft; authenticity, evidence and objectivity remain central to the language of their practice. As the result of a mediated process, a documentary film is, at best, a crafted version of reality and its conventions are designed and developed to convince audiences of the authenticity of their particular representation of the world. Documentary’s traditional journalistic and pseudo-scientific status has hampered its development as a discursive art form capable of exploring a much broader sphere of human experience. Using a selection of still images, this article aims to contextualize, reflect on and illuminate the short, animated documentary Fforest (2009) by G. Bevan and M. Bosward. Drawing on the practice and principles of collage, the film seeks to expand the language of documentary production by deliberately undermining traditional approaches to knowledge, authority and fact. It explores potential new terrain for documentary by generating a non-realist, visual aesthetic that is not bound to traditional discourses of ‘sobriety’, whilst reaffirming the documentary as a composition which must be designed and assembled, in which authorial voice must be constructed rather than simply stated, and in which meaning is not necessarily explicit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-456
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • animated collage
  • authorial voice
  • documentary practice
  • experimental documentary
  • mediated landscape
  • non-realist aesthetic


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