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Commission, Position and Production: Intent and Intervention in Minority Language Programmes

Maclean, Diane


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Dr Diane Maclean
Dean of the School of Arts and Creative Industries


C. Batty

M. Berry

K. Dooley

B. Frankham

S. Kerrigan


This chapter uses documentaries to examine the processes, thinking and practices that a filmmaker undergoes, from the initial idea through to production. It will consider how the documentary filmmaker’s ideas and ‘intent’ is mediated and changed by commissioning practices and production constraints, and will further consider how the ‘authorial voice’ is heard despite these restrictions. The chapter will examine the ‘situatedness’ of the filmmaker—their cultural positioning, background and professional training—and how this frames their ideas, subject choices, content and the aesthetic execution of their films. Through a self-reflexive analysis of the pre- to post-production process, it will consider how ideas and concepts move organically, or responsively, to external issues, including further research, location recceing, production team influence and experience and, crucially, the act of the creative process itself. Subjectivity and intervention will be discussed in the context of Bruzzi’s (New Documentary. London/New York: Routledge, 2000) notion of ‘truth claim’ and Nichols’ (2001) discourse on ‘voice’. Ponech’s (Film Theory and Philosophy, R. Allen and M. Smith (Eds.). New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997) work on producer intent and non-fiction films will inform an investigation into the epistemological status of the producer, knowledge generation and ask who mediates and ‘constructs’ this knowledge, and how, creatively, this ‘construction’ is negotiated.


Maclean, D. (2019). Commission, Position and Production: Intent and Intervention in Minority Language Programmes. In C. Batty, M. Berry, K. Dooley, B. Frankham, & S. Kerrigan (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Screen Production (19-31). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Acceptance Date May 1, 2017
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date May 6, 2021
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Pages 19-31
Book Title The Palgrave Handbook of Screen Production
Chapter Number 2
ISBN 978-3-030-21743-3
Keywords TV, Production, Gaelic
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