Dissertation and Documentary Analysis

This core research of this project is outlined entirely in my dissertation, which was also founded through my initial research essay on animated documentary.



I’m not even going to attention to explain this – not because I’m lazy, but at any point understanding EXACTLY WAY documentary in instrumental to our project’s narrative: this is the go to source. That said, I see significant research potential going forth – the point of this project is to TEST and CHALLENGE my thesis and to implement my research into a field of practice.

I believe that my current research is open to scrutiny and going further following the pitch I aim to explore the visualisation and subjectivity of emotions and ‘feeling’ in greater analytical depth. Yuanyuan encouraged me to go back to Roe’s book Animation Documentary (2014) to examine the subject of animating memories and recollection. On top of that, I’m aware my own research led me to Paul Ward’s work (2005; 2011) which focused heavily on the integration of animation into a subject’s perspective.

Using this thesis as our foundation, our animated documentary is about not only the topic of the meaningful relationship between the pet and pet owner, it also uses animation to examine memories, our nostalgia and how feelings carry significantly throughout our relationship. So the final film is the practical application of my research, that is, proving that animation can add an immensely powerful and emotional impact to real stories and even encourages the viewer to think critically and more passionately about their own experiences.

Key to this research potential is our understanding of “stimuli” and the psychological impact of abstract visuals. That’s not to say our project will be complex, in fact, quite the opposite. We want something that is narratively linear and simple to follow, but it’s visually alluring and provocative – which will be significantly informed by our research and how we implement it.

Katie and Nadine wrote dissertations on visual therapy, whilst Jess wrote hers on character empathy and psychological relationships – so right from the start, we have a breadth of informed artists and how we interplay either others research into the project. From their research, we are coordinating from independent angles and we each have a field to contribute to the overall research potential.

There are several documentaries that help consolidate where our creative research intentions stem from. Understanding how each film uses animation to add a stimulating effect to the real narrative will be essential for us capturing our own creative interpretation. Ryan, Never Like The First Time and Waltz With Bashir are explore extensively in the dissertation, but I’ll breifly sumarise their intellectual and aesethetic significance to the project:

Ryan (2004) finds a unique way to interpret feelings and emotions into a visual format, adding a distinctly complex interpretation of a human conversation but using the animation to show the internal local of each subject.

Never Like The First Time (2006) condenses an entire memory into a short minute long sequence. This is crucial to our timing and something we need to address carefully in order to compensate for how long we have to complete the project. It’s most how the filmmaker Jonas Odell gets across an entire relationship in such a simple and short amount of time without compromising it’s profoundness and complexity.

Waltz With Bashir (2007) – a feature film example – is prolific in how it dramatises stories to make audiences engage sympathetically with each traumatic recount of the Lebanon War without harming the authenticity of the experience.

Bacon & God’s Wrath (2015) – not explored in the dissertation – is gives us a reminder about how less is significantly more by maintaining a very intimate and personal portrayal of the subject’s life that becomes relatable and even humbling to the viewer. It sticks close with us emotionally because it’s a very HUMAN and RAW narrative that gives us a mature understanding of the life through the eye’s of someone who has lived through it all.


As the project develops, I will research and analyse these films with greater depth in order to understand the ‘poetic mode’ exhibited in many artistic documentaries.


Roe, A. (2014) Animated Documentary. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Roe, A. (2011) Absence, excess and epistemological expansion: Towards a framework for
the study of animated documentary. Animation, 6 (3), 215-230.

Roe, A. (2012) Uncanny Indexes: Rotoshopped Interviews As Documentary. Animation, 7
(1), 25-37.

Ward, P. (2005) Documentary: The Margins of Reality. London: Wallflower

Ward P. (2011) Animating with facts: The performative process of documentary animation in
the ten mark (2010). Animation, 6 (3), 293-305.


2 responses to “Dissertation and Documentary Analysis

  1. Pingback: Walt Peregoy and Atmospheric Minimalism | Ryan Hollinger·

  2. Pingback: Animatic Development | Ryan Hollinger·

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