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Drawn from Life

Issues and Themes in Animated Documentary Cinema

Edited by Jonathan Murray, Nea Ehrlich

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The first anthology to explore the field of animated documentaries from a diverse range of scholarly and practice-based perspectives

Documentary cinema has always drawn from real life, but an increasing number of contemporary filmmakers are going further still, drawing onscreen images of reality through a range of animated filmmaking techniques. Drawn from Life is the first book to explore the field of animated documentaries from a diverse range of scholarly and practice-based perspectives, exploring and proposing answers to a range of questions that preoccupy twenty-first-century film artists and audiences alike:

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Nea Ehrlich and Jonathan Murray, ‘Editors’ Introduction’

Section 1: Past and Present

1.Pascal Lefèvre, ‘From Contextualisation to Categorisation of Animated Documentaries’

2.Mihaela Mihailova, ‘Before Sound, there was Soul: The Role of Animation in Silent Nonfiction Cinema’

3.Nea Ehrlich, ‘Indeterminate and Intermediate or Animated Non-Fiction: Why Now?’

Section 2: Defining Terms and Contexts

4. Paul Ward, ‘Animated Documentary, Recollection, ‘Re-Enactment’ and Temporality’

5. Leon Gurevitch, ‘The Documentary Attraction: Animation, Simulation and the Rhetoric of Expertise’

6. Paul Wells, ‘Never Mind the Bollackers: Here’s the Repositories, Sites and Archives in Non-Fiction Animation’

Section 3: Films and Filmmakers

7. Nanette Kraaikamp, ‘Drawings to Remember’

8. Andrew Warstat, ‘Adorno, Lewis Klahr and the Shuddering Image’

9. Lawrence Thomas Martinelli, ‘The Reasons for Animating Reality: Animated Documentary and Re-enactment in the Work of Jonas Odell’

10. Jonathan Murray, ‘Memory Drawn into the Present: Waltz with Bashir and Animated Documentary’

Section 4: Practice-based Perspectives

11. Jonathan Hodgson, ‘Making The Trouble with Love and Sex

12. Samantha Moore, ‘‘Does this look right?’ Working inside the collaborative frame’

13. Sheila M. Sofian, ‘Creative Challenges in the Production of Documentary Animation’

About the Author

Jonathan Murray is Senior Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh.

Nea Ehrlich is Lecturer in The Department of the Arts at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.


Animation has become a vital documentary tool. How and why did this happen? Find the answer in this brilliant assembly of ground-breaking essays.

- Bill Nichols, author of Introduction to Documentary 3rd edition (2017)

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