CMDP 2510 Critical Media Practices Workshop I: Documentary and Social Change

Instructor Contact:

Keely Kernan


Course Description:

Film is a powerful medium that numerous filmmakers have used in the service of political and social change. Documentary and Social Change offers a wide-ranging examination of the ways that directors around the world have fostered social justice, with an emphasis on examples of success. Analyzing both documentary and independent cinema, the course explores the historical, political, social, and economic circumstances that have influenced each director’s career and project. The course focuses on production processes, funding opportunities, and outreach to examine the impact these films have made on society. Students from all disciplines will develop their own practice and approaches to documentary as a tool for public knowledge and action.

There are no prerequisites for this class


  • Students will examine how film can be used to address the immediacy and urgency of particular contemporary issues.
  • Students will explore production processes, funding opportunities, and impact campaign strategies deployed in films that address social issues.
  • Students will be exposed to specific examples of social impact films and learn how to measure the impact of this work.

Required Texts:

There are no required textbooks for this class. Readings and links to visual materials will be provided via Canvas, email, or handouts throughout the course.

Grading (out of 100 percent )

Grading Scale

Your final grade for the class will be calculated as follows:

  • Your attention and participation: 10%
  • Weekly Responses (10 total) : 25%
  • Cinema Verite Assignment: 15%
  • Archival Footage Film: 15%
  • Final Project: 20%
  • Production Book: 15%

Grades will be assigned as follows

Table – Grading Scale
Letter Grade A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
Percentage Grade 94-100 90-93 87-89 83-86 80-82 77-79 73-76 70-72 67-69 63-66 60-62 <60



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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado