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The Right to Play OneselfLooking Back on Documentary Film$
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Thomas Waugh

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816645862

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816645862.001.0001

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Sufficient Virtue, Necessary Artistry

Sufficient Virtue, Necessary Artistry

The Shifting Challenges of Revolutionary Documentary History (2006–2008)

(p.155) 6 Sufficient Virtue, Necessary Artistry
The Right to Play Oneself

Thomas Waugh

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter considers the Challenge for Change/Société Nouvelle activist documentary program which produced films and videos between 1967 and 1980 under the National Film Board of Canada. This state-financed initiative in film and video community intervention was unique within Canadian—and indeed world—film history. The relatively well-financed program tested many of the tenets of the international New Left Movement cinema, which presented industrialized democracies as well as much of what people then called the “third world,” most notably Latin America and India. The chapter also discusses the renewed interest in activist, community-based documentary, called “media democracy,” which emerged after 9/11. This saw young activist filmmakers bringing geopolitical problematics into the mainstream. This phenomenon makes up the entire gamut of globalization and, together with environmental challenges, led to the return of New leftist activist documentary in general.

Keywords:   Challenge for Change/Société, activist documentary, National Film Board of Canada, New Left Movement, community-based documentary, media democracy, dissident theatrical documentary

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