September 23, 2016

CI245: Documentary Production

“If an island setting allows one to leave concerns and worries behind on the mainland, it frees up time and space in the mind to be spent otherwise: pondering questions, reading, writing, or creating works of art.”   Zoë Dickerson ’19

Photo by Ben Stone
Photo by Ben Stone

In Documentary Production students learn how to shoot and edit documentary films. The visit to Allen Island was a chance for them to think visually, with a camera. The goal was to shoot a three minute visual story about the island over the course of a one-night visit. Students researched the island, looked at photos, and planned a short documentary the week before the trip.

They started shooting the moment they arrived in Port Clyde, while somehow managing to get all their gear on the boat in time.


The students spent the evening of the 23rd exploring the island and filming their narratives. Sunset was a bit cloudy, but the night sky was brilliant.

Photo by Ben Stone
Photo by Ben Stone
Photo by Zoë Dickerson
Photo by Zoë Dickerson

Many of the students woke up at dawn to capture the sunrise.

Photo by Simone Leung

And not a bad spot for four students to sleep.

AllenIsland (5 of 13)

The students explored the entire length of the island, from its buildings, to its docks, to the cliffs next to the ocean – shooting whatever inspires them.

Photo by Zoë Dickerson
Photo by Zoë Dickerson

Some students chose to focus on the wide landscape for their visual narratives, while others focused the small details – like lobster traps, rocks, and washed up buoys. A few focused on the sheep.

AllenIsland (1 of 13) AllenIsland (4 of 13) AllenIsland (8 of 13) AllenIsland (9 of 13) AllenIsland (11 of 13) AllenIsland (10 of 13) AllenIsland (12 of 13)

We couldn’t have asked for a better spot to learn how to shoot a documentary film.


And a few of the final films:

This course is part of the Maine Food Project and Digital Maine.