Reflexive filmmaking for wildlife and nature films

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


Historically, wildlife and nature filmmakers have embraced the expository mode of filmmaking and a realistic style, attempting to influence their audience with compelling arguments. However, while their scripts may call for activism, their expository, realistic style, with hidden production methods, an authoritative tone, and pristine visuals, instead encourages voyeurism. In addition, standard theater and television distribution methods offer no outlet for action to viewers who do feel inspired. I offer a different model for influence in my wildlife series Nature Break: reflexive filmmaking. In this series I use such reflexive strategies to critique the voyeuristic way in which spectators consume wildlife and nature films. However, critiquing passive spectators with reflexivity is not the same as creating active spectators. Therefore, with Nature Break I go beyond simply making and distributing a film. Additionally, I will create a related website on the Internet as a platform for viewers to post their own films, discuss issues inspired by films on the site, and coordinate activism efforts. Through Internet distribution, the Nature Break series can finally live up to the reflexive filmmaker's goal of creating an art that leads to activism.


Nature break is a film that is part of the student's thesis project.



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