SAMLA Documentary Film Panel

I’m chairing the SAMLA (South Atlantic MLA) film panel this year, and not surprisingly, I’ve decided to have the panel focus on documentary film. So far I haven’t received that many proposals, so I figured I’d mention the CFP here one more time. If you’re interested in participating send me an email.

More information below the fold.

Panel for the 2005 South Atlantic Modern Language Association Convention
Atlanta, GA, November 4-6, 2005

Panel Title: “Reality Effects: Documentary in Film, TV, and Video.”

Deadline for submissions: March 21, 2005.

The film panel for the South Atlantic Modern Language Association conference will focus on the topic of documentary film. This panel will explore the role of documentary as a genre. The popularization of documentary films and videos and reality television raise important questions about the nature of truth and representation as well as the social practice of film. Papers might also address how new technologies have transformed documentary practice. We invite
papers that explore documentary filmmaking as both a concept and as a specific practice, as a participant in the shaping of contemporary cultural and political discourse.

Papers may focus on any documentary film or filmmaker, although papers on contemporary documentaries are preferred.

By March 21, 2005, please submit a 300-word proposal electronically to Chuck Tryon at Email attachments preferred. You may also mail a hard copy to Chuck Tryon; School of Literature, Communication, and Culture; Georgia Tech; Atlanta, GA 30332.

If you can’t get the proposal in by the 21st, I have some flexibility there, so I’ll hold the CFP open until March 31 before constituting the panel.


  1. Darren Said,

    March 17, 2005 @ 10:55 pm

    Chuck, were you at SAMLA in Baltimore a few years ago when the film panel topic was contemporary European cinema? I can’t recall the chair’s name. He was a French New Wave scholar from Emory. I’m just wondering if we may have met.

    Also, I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about Caveh Zahedi. Would your definition of “documentary” for this panel allow room for an autobiographical film like In the Bathtub of the World? I think it foregrounds many of the ethical problems of documentary in really interesting ways. I’m not sure if I even have the right vocabulary to talk about it right now (which, of course, is why I’m so eager to find an excuse to put together a short paper).

  2. Chuck Said,

    March 17, 2005 @ 11:11 pm

    Darren, I’ve only been to SAMLA once, last year in Roanoake, so maybe at another conference. I’m very interested in autobiographical film (as my next entry will illustrate) and if I do a paper for that panel, it may be on Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation, so long story short, testing that boundary between autobiography and documentary seems like an importanty question to me.

    I’ve seen a couple of Zahedi’s films, including his contribution to Underground Zero, but don’t know that specific film.

  3. Darren Said,

    March 18, 2005 @ 8:08 am

    You’re one of the few people I’ve spoken to who has seen Underground Zero. A good friend of mine, Paul Harrill, made the short about the group monks who visited Knoxville. I’m biased a bit, of course, but I think it’s one of the better films in the series. I really like Zahedi’s contribution, too.

    In the Bathtub of the World would make an interesting pairing with Tarnation. It’s a feature-length, chronological diary of 1999 constructed from video that he shot of himself every day.

    I’ll send along an abstract later today. You’re, of course, under no particular obligation to accept it. 😉

  4. Chuck Said,

    March 18, 2005 @ 8:42 am

    Sounds good, Darren. I only vaguely remember the individual films in Underground Zero, but instead remember more the experience of watching. For some reason, I never blogged it (or if I did, it’s on my old blog).

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