#Education: Screen Training Ireland and IFTA Documentary Masterclass with Michael Moore

Screen Training Ireland has partnered with the Irish Film and Television Academy on an  Industry Masterclass with world-renowned documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. The Masterclass will take place on June 14th.

The Masterclass is open to all Industry, with priority given to Feature Documentary filmmakers, Producers, Directors and Scriptwriters; and will give participants a first hand insight into the knowledge, expertise and working processes of world renowned documentarian Michael Moore, America’s most fearless and populist political commentator.

Widely cited as one of the best documentary filmmakers of all time, Michael Moore is also one of the primary reasons for documentary film coming more into the mainstream in the past 20 years. His 2002 film Bowling for Columbine, probing the culture of guns in  America, won the Oscar for Best Documentary as well as being a commercial hit, making $58 million worldwide (an extremely rare feat for a documentary at the time).

This was bested by Moore’s next documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, exploring America in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which made over $222 million worldwide and won the Palme D’Or at Cannes. It is still the highest grossing documentary film of all time. Moore has also written and co-written eight non-fiction books, mostly on similar subject matter to his documentaries. His book Stupid White Men …and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!, which was highly critical of the US government after 9/11, spent 50 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller’s List, including a massive eight weeks at number one.

Moore’s written and cinematic works criticize topics such as globalization, large corporations, assault weapon ownership, U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the Iraq War, the American health care system, and capitalism. His documentaries and writings are acclaimed for his trademark satirical voice. Moore is also noted for his political activism and in 2005, Time magazine named Moore one of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Michael Moore commonly uses a hybrid film-making strategy to create his documentaries. Fusing different documentary modes, most commonly the expository (speak directly to the viewer, often in the form of an authoritative commentary employing voiceover or titles, proposing a strong argument and point of view. These films are rhetorical, and try to persuade the viewer) and the interactive. He incorporates a narrative so that the film flows as if it were a fiction film. Moore also uses a ‘comedic tone’ which helps the audience to engage with the material.

From a creative and conceptual point of view and from a practical and commercial point of view, this Masterclass will explore:

  • how Moore researches and selects his topics for his documentaries;
  • his use of humour in the script to engage audiences;
  • how he ensures that complex and difficult subjects are made accessible for his audiences;
  • voiceover and editing can deliver his point of view (and how the story in refined in the editing room);
  • how his films are financed and produced;
  • how changing technologies are impacting the production and distribution of his films;
  • how he plans his distribution of potentially controversial films in his homeland and internationally;

Cost: €25

To apply to attend, please email academyevents@ifta.ie with a brief bio and up to date credits stating if you are a director/producer/writer etc. including your email address, before Wednesday 8th June.