Participation Made Easy
The Role of Web Documentary in Development of Participatory Documentaries in Iran
Mohammad Hossein Jafari
Tarbiat Modares University
Evaluating facilities provided by web (as a media) for documentary film making is made possible through assessment of its effects in different types of documentary film making. One of the most conventional classifications in documentary which has been done upon its making process is the one presented by Bill Nichols in his book Introduction to Documentary [Indiana University Press, 2001]. In his classification of different documentary modes –which come to six- there is a certain mode seeming to be more compatible with web documentary than other five modes –according to specifications recounted for this mode (especially interaction with film subjects) by Nichols;” the participatory mode”.
But then if we review significant and highly appreciated Iranian documentary films after 1979 Islamic revolution, and divide them roughly into these six modes, we evidently observe lack of prevalence of one certain mode; the participatory mode.
In this article to be supposed that the reason presumed here is the lack of individualism –necessary for accomplishing the participatory mode- in Iranian communities, caused mainly by its cultural traits (seen here through results of analysis of communication studies in Iran and examining Iranian society’s demand of development and progress in redefining and metamorphosing of concepts of Gemeinschaft and Geselschaft.)
With accessions of Iranian society to Internet and especially social media, a chance of rediscovering some sort of individualism has been created. This phenomenon is conceivable by using theories of media interactionism and reconsidering its concepts (such as backstage and frontstage) in social media. This individualism increases chance of self presenting; something vital for participatory documentary. So, developing of participatory documentary films in Iranian society could be studied through considering web facilities in turning participatory documentary film subjects into active social agents and question of possibility to offer web documentary as an alternative media in confronting governmental broadcasting -which insists on plural identity rather than individual- could be answered.