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Honoursmodule: Moving People, Changing Places at IDFA

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dr. A. Meuzelaar and guest lecturers

Entry requirements 

This course is accessible for 2nd and 3rd year honoursstudents.


Recommended prior knowledge: Interest in documentary film and migration

Credits: 6 EC’s

Language of Instruction: English

Teaching Format: Screenings, interactive lectures and discussions

Schedule: will be available on Datanose 

Assessment: Essay, treatment for (short) documentary, in class participation, festival participation, presentation/pitch

Study Materials: tba

Number of Participants: Max 25 participants

Learning objectives:

-The student has gained basic knowledge of the field of documentary studies  (the history and theory of documentary)

-The student is able to critically analyse documentary film and to reflect on the representation of migration in documentary film

-The student is able to develop a careful argumentation about the form and content of documentary film and to apply the literature to a case-study

-The student has acquired research skills, is able to develop a concept for a short documentary film and to write a treatment.

Course description:

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 (18-29 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.


Registration is possible for 2nd year (or higher) students participating in an Honours programme. The registration for the Honours courses will start on June 4, 10 am -  June 8, 11 pm, You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS.

Placement will be at random and within two weeks students will hear whether they are placed for a course. 

There is no guarantee for placement if you register after June 8, so make sure you apply on time! 

For questions: please contact Honours-iis@uva.nl 

The IIS strives to reflect current societal issues and challenges in the educational offer and attempts to integrate the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) in this course. For more information about these goals, please visit the SDG's website.

Facts & Figures
Mode Honours programme
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Starts in October