Documentary Filmmaking I

In the real world, what relationships have the necessary friction to generate compelling films? Documentary Filmmaking I will introduce you to the art, craft and theory behind attempts to answer this question. Through productions, readings, screenings, and discussions, you’ll take your first steps into the world of non-fiction filmmaking. You will analyze documentary filmmaking as an aesthetic practice and a means of social discourse. Further, as films are often vessels for their directors, preoccupations, the course will push you to examine the formal, social and political concerns that animate your life during these turbulent times.



Documentary Filmmaking I with Professor Perlmutt definitely pushed me toward pursuing (at the very least) a certificate in visual arts. Unexpectedly, this class was far and away the best “lab” experience I’ve had at Princeton and, really, anywhere. I call it a “lab” experience because that’s really what it is. Every week, we would work progressively on our various styles of documentary films, and, each meeting, the class as a whole would constructively analyze all of our films. This method of learning really helped me gradually learn the filmmaking process at a pace that I could understand. The critical input of fellow students was also very important during this class, which I think is very unique and helpful
— Owen Barthel ’23


I took Professor Perlmutt’s class on documentary filmmaking and it was one of my favorite courses that I had ever taken! It was a great introductory to filmmaking course and he was very eager to help and teach us things about film, as well as personal stories into the industry. I definitely learned a lot about film, and as an ORFE major, it really gave me creative ability and satisfaction when I finished a project close to my heart. All in all, I really recommend this course. I could tell he really cared about the students as well.
— Jenny Ma ’21


Professor Perlmutt is absolutely incredible. The films studied cover a broad range of techniques and genres within the practice, and are so fun to watch. You really come out of the course with a fundamental understanding of Documentary––history, styles, genres, methods––and Perlmutt is incredibly supportive and committed to helping students complete the course with a developed reel of their own short films. I highly recommend this course to anyone!!
— Alan Huo ’22



Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 PM and 7:30-9:40 PM


Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt