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Docufiction (or docu-fiction, often confused with docudrama) is the cinematographic combination of documentary and fiction.[1]

It is a film genre[2] which attempts to capture reality such as it is (as direct cinema or cinéma vérité) and which simultaneously introduces unreal elements or fictional situations in narrative in order to strengthen the representation of reality using some kind of artistic expression.

More precisely, it is a documentary contaminated with fictional elements,[3] in real time,[4] filmed when the events take place, and in which someone – the character – plays his own role in real life. A film genre in expansion, it is adopted by a number of experimental filmmakers.

The new term docufiction[5] appeared at the beginning of the 21st century. It is now commonly used in several languages and widely accepted for classification by international film festivals.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] Either in cinema or television, docufiction is, anyway, a film genre in full development during the first decade of this century.

The word docufiction is also sometimes used to refer to literary journalism (creative nonfiction).[15]

Docudrama and mockumentary[edit]

In contrast, docudrama is usually a fictional and dramatized recreation[16] of factual events in form of a documentary, at a time subsequent to the "real" events it portrays. A docudrama is often confused with docufiction when drama is considered interchangeable with fiction (both words meaning the same). Typically however, "docudrama" refers specifically to telefilms or other television media recreations that dramatize certain events often with actors.

A mockumentary (etymology: mock documentary)[17] is also a film or television show in which fictitious events are presented in documentary format, sometimes a recreation of factual events after they took place or a comment on current events, typically satirical, comedic or even dramatic[18] (see genres: drama versus comedy and tragedy). Portraying events at an ulterior time and basically using fictional narrative such as docudrama, it should not be confused with docufiction as well.


The term involves a way of making films already practiced by such authors as Robert Flaherty, one of the fathers of documentary,[19][20] and Jean Rouch, later in the 20th century.

Being both fiction and documentary,[21] docufiction is a hybrid genre,[22] raising ethical problems[23][24][25][26][27][28][29] concerning truth, since reality may be manipulated and confused with fiction (see Ethics at creative non-fiction).

In the domain of visual anthropology, the innovating role of Jean Rouch[30] allows one to consider him as the father of a subgenre called ethnofiction.[31][32] This term means: ethnographic documentary film with natives who play fictional roles. Making them play a role about themselves will help portray reality, which[33] will be reinforced with imagery. A non ethnographic documentary with fictional elements uses the same method and, for the same reasons, may be called docufiction.

First docufictions by country[edit]

Other notable docufictions (until 2000)[edit]

See more: at Docufiction films (Categories)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reality and documentary – at Six Types Of Documentary, article by Girish Shambu (blog)
  2. ^ An Introduction to Genre Theory by Daniel Chandler at Aberystwyth University
  3. ^ Il difficile rapporto tra fiction e non fiction che si concretizza nella docu-fiction (The difficult relationship between fiction and non-fiction patent in docufiction ) - thesis in Italian by Laura Marchesi, Faculty of Communication Sciences (Università degli Studi di Pavia) at Tesionline, 2005/06
  4. ^ , Docufiction in the Digital Age – Thesis by Tay Huizhen, National University of Singapore
  5. ^ What is docufiction? – See Section II, pages 37 to 75 (four chapters) of the thesis by Prof. Theo Mäusli
  6. ^ Indie Matra Bhumi (The Motherland)Cannes Film Festival
  7. ^ Ablel Ferrara’s docufictionVenice Film Festival
  8. ^ The Savage Eye: White Docu-Fiction & Black Reality at Tribeca Film Festival
  9. ^ Brian De Palma's On His Iraq Docu-Fiction Comeback at The Huffington PostToronto Film Festival and Venice Film Festival
  10. ^ Darius Mehrjui’s film Diamond 33Venice Film Festival
  11. ^ New Film EventsLondon Short Film Festival
  12. ^ Oscilloscope 'Howl' for Off Beat Docu-Fiction Sundance Selection at Ion Cinema
  13. ^ Docufiction at several film festivals
  14. ^ See: Hybrids (fiction/nonfiction films) at External links
  15. ^ Tate Triennial 2009: Altermodern - 'Docufiction'
  16. ^ See Docudrama: the real (his)tory Confusion of genres – Page 2 on the thesis by Çiçek Coşkun (New York University School of Education)
  17. ^ From "mock + documentary" - definition at The Free Dictionary
  18. ^ A television programme or film which takes the form of a serious documentary in order to satirize its subject. - definition at The Free Dictionary and Dictionary.com
  19. ^ Definition of documentary – New Frontiers in American documentary (American Studies at The University of Virginia)
  20. ^ The Impulse of Documentary-Fiction - Paper at Transart Institute
  22. ^ See hybrid genre – page 50, thesis on docufiction by Prof. Theo Mäusli
  23. ^ Open-ended Realities - article by Luciana Lang at Latineos
  24. ^ The appeal of hybrid documentary forms in West Africa at Project Muse
  25. ^ Ethics and Documentary Filmmaking – Article by Marty Lucas at Center for Social Media (American University in Washington, D.C)
  26. ^ On Ethics and Documentary: A Real and Actual Truth – Article by Garnet C. Butchart at Cultural Studies Program, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, published University of South Florida
  27. ^ What to Do About Documentary Distortion? Toward a Code of Ethics – Article by Bill Nichols at Documentary.org
  28. ^ Documentary Film Prompts-Ethics in Documentary/Fiction vs. Documentary – Paper by Ardavon Naimi at University of Texas at Dallas
  29. ^ Ethics and Filmmaking in Developing Countries at Unite For Sight
  30. ^ Jean Rouch 1917-2004, A Valediction - Article by Michael Eaton at Rouge
  31. ^ Glossary at MAITRES_FOUS.NET
  32. ^ Jean Rouch and the Genesis of Ethnofiction, thesis by Brian Quist, Long Island University
  33. ^ "Ethnofiction: drama as a creative research practice in ethnographic film." Journal of Media Practice 9, no. 3(2008), eScholarID:1b5648, article by Johannes Sjöberg
  34. ^ Why 'Moana,' the First Docufiction in History, Deserves a New Life - article by Laya Maheshwari at Indiewire, July 3, 2014
  35. ^ See Maria do Mar at IMdb
  36. ^ See L'Or des mers at IMdb
  37. ^ Zombie and the Ghost Train (1991)Review/Film Festival; How a Zombie Became One With Alcohol and Self-Pity
  38. ^ "Chicago Cinema Forum". Cine-file.info. 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  39. ^ India: Matri Bhumi – Article by Doug Cummings at F i l m j o u r n e y (March 18th, 2007)
  40. ^ Digitally cleaned 'India, Matri Bhumi' screened at Vienna film festival – Article at IBN Live
  41. ^ Christopher, Rob (2007-08-29). "Q: What Do You Call a Movie That's Getting Its Chicago Premiere 48 Years After Being Made?". Chicagoist. Retrieved 2012-08-29. 
  42. ^ The Human Pyramid at IMdb.
  43. ^ See Acto da Primavera
  44. ^ See Trevico-Torino (viaggio nel Fiat-Nam at IMdb
  45. ^ See Gente da Praia da Vieira
  46. ^ Trás-os-Montes at Harvard Film Archive
  47. ^ António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro at UCLA
  48. ^ Rep Pick: Ana – Review by Aaron Cutler at The L Magazine

Sources and bibliography[edit]

  • (English) Paget, Derek (1998). No Other Way to Tell It. Dramadoc/docudrama on television. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-4533-2. 
  • (English) Rosenthal, Alan (199). Why Docudrama? : Fact-Fiction on Film and TV. Carbondale & Edwardsville: Southern Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-2186-5. 
  • (English) Lipkin, Steven N., ed. (2002). Real Emotional Logic. Film and Television Docudrama As Persuasive Practice. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-2409-5. 
  • (English) Docudrama: the real (his)tory thesis by Çiçek Coşkun (New York University School of Education)

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Docufiction — Please support Wikipedia.
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