Participatory cinema is a film genre that provides the opportunity for the audience to participate in the production of the film.
Participatory cinema, sometimes incorrectly called interactive cinema, is a subgenre of cinema that differs from other film genres by allowing the audience to actively intervene in the creative process.
Let’s see what this film movement is all about.
What Is Participatory cinema?
Participatory cinema is a film subgenre that relies on the participation of the audience to create the movie.
By using a digital camera and editing software, participants can make a feature-length film with a storyline, characters, and actors without any professional help.
Technology has made it possible for anyone to become a filmmaker. A group of friends can make a film together or an entire audience can participate in watching and making a movie.
Participatory film is not the same as interactive media, although the two are often confused with one another.
What Is Participatory Cinema?
Participatory cinema is a participatory practice that uses cinema to create connections. In other words, it is a way of working with film that involves interaction between the filmmakers and their audience.
Inspired by the philosophy of participation, participatory cinema aims to open up film production beyond the traditional filmmaker who controls all stages of the filmmaking process.
It aims to create more space for those people who are usually considered passive or unimportant in the process of making films (for example, people who are normally considered ‘subjects’ or ‘audience’).
Participatory cinema can be divided into two broad categories, which we’ve called:
Participatory video and video activism – this is where participants are involved in all stages of the filmmaking process from planning, shooting and editing. The aim is often to make social and political change by raising awareness about issues that matter to participants.
Co-created films – this is when filmmakers work with participants to find out what issues are important to them, and then make a film together – either by filming it themselves or working with professional filmmakers.
The aim here is often to share stories in order to build connections between people with different backgrounds and experiences.
Interactivity usually entails adding some sort of technology, such as online polls or video games, but only permits the viewer to select from a limited number of options rather than to fully control what happens in the film.
In contrast, participatory cinema does not use any technological interaction between the viewer and the movie – rather it involves viewers directly in the filming process.
Participatory cinema is also different from guerrilla filmmaking, where amateurs make films with little or no budget and distribute them on DVDs. Guerrilla filmmakers do not allow audience participation in their films.
History Of Participatory Cinema
The history of participatory cinema has been very complex, but it can be broken down into three major periods.
The first phase began with Dziga Vertov’s “Man With a Movie Camera” in 1929 and ended in 1936, just before the Soviets started to purge the experimental filmmakers.
This phase focused on a single shot, which was often filmed from a static position, and was recorded on film.It was also known as “city symphony” because it captured life in the city with no story line or plot.
Sholem Asch was one of the most important figures in this movement. He was arrested and put into prison for his work and many of his films were destroyed.
The second phase began in 1936 with the release of Jean Rouch’s “Moi, un Noir”, which started to incorporate more complex editing techniques. The third phase began with the release of Shirley Clarke’s “Portrait of Jason” in 1967, which used Super 8 film and explored mental illness through a series of interviews.
This phase also included more fictional aspects such as plot and character development.This period also included some very important documentaries that attempted to explore new ways of filming reality by incorporating a number of different camera angles, including “Ciné-ethnography.
Essential Filmmakers Of Participatory Cinema
Filmmakers of participatory cinema (or “participant filmmakers”) created a unique movement in documentary filmmaking that emerged throughout the 1970s and 1980s. They used emerging technologies such as portable video cameras and inexpensive audio recording devices to document ideas and issues that were previously considered too difficult or risky to capture on film.
Tad Szulc in his book, “Reporters,” describes this new breed of filmmaker as follows: “They are a breed apart, these wild men and women who go out into all kinds of weather, armed with nothing more than an idea, the nerve to carry it out, and a cheap movie camera.They work on a shoestring budget with no deadlines, no producers, no editors and no rules.
Their raw footage is usually left unedited for years as they seek funds from foundations or from television to help them edit their film. “The individuals profiled below are but a few of the many talented pioneers who helped define the participatory filmmaking movement: Participant Filmmaker.
John Marshall – “The Hunters” (1958), John Marshall is often referred to as the father of participatory cinema. In 1958 he shot “The Hunters,” one of the first observational documentaries ever made. The film depicts a group of San.
Essential Films Of Participatory Cinema
What is a participatory film? A film which is created by the people involved in the subject of the film.
Think of it like this: A documentary film-maker wants to make a movie about war veterans.
This documentary movie would be a “participatory film” because the veterans are creating their own story. A participatory film can be used as a tool to raise awareness of a political or social issue, or as an educational tool.
The nature of a participatory film is that anyone who is directly involved in the creation of the film also has creative control over its content and how it unfolds.Participatory films can also be used for activism purposes.
They can be created by people who are passionate about making change but don’t necessarily want to be on camera (i.e. protesters, organizers).They can also be used as documentation for those living through conflict and disaster, who want to speak out against injustice or human rights violations but do not have access to other platforms for doing so.
Importance Of Participatory Cinema
The role of a filmmaker is not only to watch a film but also to engage the audience in the film. Nowadays, the main reason behind the importance of participatory cinema is the need for the audience to have an active participation during the screening.
The entertainment industry has been struggling to hold the attention of viewers for a long time but when it comes to participatory cinema, no one can escape from being engaged. Participatory cinema is also known as interactive cinema which is defined by its nature as “a form of cinema wherein spectators are more actively involved in what they watch”.
It is not just about watching a film and having fun doing so but it gives you an opportunity to touch and feel with your senses. There are various ways through which you can experience participatory cinema, some are listed below.
TOUCH: Participatory cinema encourages you to touch or feel stuff that was shown on screen at selected points during the film. You can touch dolls that were used in horror movies, see how they feel or how they were made.
FEEL: During screening, you get an opportunity to physically experience something that was shown onscreen; you will be given virtual reality headsets and headphones through which you can experience 3D images.
Participatory Cinema Theory
It’s been a few years since the first time that I wrote about the rise of participatory cinema, and it has now become even more prominent in this age of social media and citizen journalism. How do you define participatory cinema? Those who are unfamiliar with the term may think of it as “citizen journalism” or “amateur filmmaking” or even “crowdsourcing.”
All of these words refer to the same thing: the ability for anyone to participate in the filmmaking process. Frequently, we see examples of participatory cinema when someone begins a project, and then uses social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to recruit people who can help them finish their project.
In some cases, they’ll use their website to ask for submissions from viewers. They might ask for footage or photographs to be sent to them so that they can edit it into their film.
This is done so frequently, in fact, that it’s becoming more customary than unusual. In many cases, people who participate in projects like these are doing so because they support a cause, or because they want to be a part of something special.
They want recognition as well, but they’re much more concerned with having their work be included in something bigger than just themselves.
Participatory Cinema – Wrapping Up
If you’re looking to inspire a group of people, there’s an art to it. However, as with all forms of art, there are some basic rules that must be followed.
Tone and mood, The tone and emotional state is what everyone who watches the film will experience. It’s important to select the right participants based on their attitude and emotional state if you want to achieve the desired effect.
Sometimes this requires bringing in some participants with different emotional states: happy, sad, angry or surprised. But even within a single emotional state it helps to have some variety.
You could use one participant who is very sincere and another who can pull off a joke really well, for example.A great example of this is when you make a film about your own company or organization: you can choose people who have been working there for many years and others who are just starting out.
It’s nice to see how attitudes change over time in response to the organization’s development. Another key aspect is having different perspectives represented in the film.
After all, if you only show your own perspective on things, it can become pretty boring pretty fast! So it’s good to find participants who can come at things from different angles.
Ready to learn about some other Film Movements or Film History?