Database for Animation Studies


Absence, Excess and Epistemological Expansion: Towards a Framework for the Study of Animated Documentary

This article gives an overview of the history of animated documentary, both in regard to the form itself and how it has been studied. It then goes on to present a new way of thinking about animated documentary, in terms of the way the animation functions in the texts by asking what the animation does that the live-action alternative could not. Three functions are suggested: mimetic substitution, non-mimetic substitution and evocation. The author suggests that, by thinking about animated documentary in this way, we can see how animation has broadened and deepened documentary's epistemological project by opening it up to subject matters that previously eluded live-action film.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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Animated documentaries were first written about (by animation, film and documentary scholars) in the late 1990s. Much of that work was about drawing attention to the existence of animated documentary and discussing how they fit in with pre-existing ideas of what documentary is. It was about 10 years later that scholars once again became interested in animated documentary and from that time there has been an increasing amount of books, articles and book chapters published on the topic. Hopefully this is a sign that the discourse around animated documentaries will continue to develop with new perspectives being offered.

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