Re: Interviews in documentaries

Oksana Dykyj (
Tue, 12 Aug 1997 12:14:45 +0000 (HELP)

>I got an interesting reference question that I thought I would float
>past Videolib first to see if anyone had already invented this wheel.
>"When were onscreen interviews first used in documentaries?"
>Chris Lewis
>American U

My reply is to say when they became a popular approach to documentaries
rather than when they were first used. With the coming of the French New
Wave in France, and the widespread use of hand-held cameras and sync-sound
equipment, documentaries began to change and approaches known as Cinema
Verite and Direct Cinema began to appear in Canada, the United States and
France. As for dates let's pin it down to very late 1950's and very early
1960's. This is not to say that the interview process was not used
previously to this period. Certainly, 16mm amateur cameras were available
from the 1920's and people's sound home movies, or independent amateur
films/documentaries could easily have used this technique much earlier but
it was not a "trend".
Oksana Dykyj Tel: 514-848-3443
Head, Visual Media Resources Fax: 514-848-3441
Audio-Visual Department H-342
Concordia University
1455 de Maisonneuve West
Montreal, QC, H3G 1M8