Camera movies: Awesome, I Fuckin' Shot Them!

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Abstract

This article analyses four recent documentaries that all involve the filmmaker handing multiple cameras over to their participant–subjects. In particular it investigates the different ways these films address themselves to the active audience in a contemporary participatory culture, what meaning they attribute to their subject-participants and what they tell us about the contemporary documentary filmmaker. The figure of the ‘camera movie’ is designed to capture the paradox inherent in the idea that when a filmmaker gives up control of the authorial camera neither the camera nor the filmmaker recede into the background, they simply take up a more central, and celebrated, place within a participatory culture.

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