Documentary Book List

Recommended Books on Non-Fiction/Documentary Film and Video

The Visible Evidence community has compiled this list of recently published books that were recommended as most valuable for thinking about documentary/non-fiction film and video. This list is open to books in languages other than English. In terms of criteria for inclusion, the definition of value is expansive, as the Visible Evidence community itself is expansive.

To recommend books for this list, please email the author, title, and a link to the press’ book page to Joshua Malitsky, associate professor in Cinema and Media Studies and director of Indiana University Media School’s Center for Documentary Research and Practice.

Recommended Books


Alter, Nora. Harun Farocki: Forms of Intelligence. Columbia University Press, 2024.

Astourian, Laure. The Ethnographic Optic: Jean Rouch, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, and the Turn Inward in 1960s French Cinema. Indiana University Press, 2024.

Aufderheide, Patricia. Kartemquin Films: Documentaries on the Frontlines of Democracy. University of California Press, 2024.

Brylla, Catalin. Documentary and Stereotypes: Reducing Stigma through Factual Media. Palgrave Macmillan, 2024.

Caminati, Luca. Traveling Auteurs: The Geopolitics of Post-War Italian Cinema. Indiana University Press, 2024.

Godard, Jean-Luc/Witt, Michael. Notre musique, c’est celle de tout le monde. 202 editions, 2024.

Hart, Phoebe. Crafting Contemporary Documentaries and Docuseries for Global Screens: Docu-mania. Lexington Books, 2024.

Holtzman, Hannah. Through a Nuclear Lens: France, Japan, and Cinema from Hiroshima to Fukushima. SUNY Press, 2024.

Kim, Jihoon. Activism and Post-Activism: Korean Documentary Cinema, 1981-2022. Oxford University Press, 2024.


Boyle, Deirdre. Ferryman of Memories: The Films of Rithy Panh. Rutgers University Press, 2023.

Bricca, Jacob. How Documentaries Work. Oxford University Press, 2023.

Bricca, Jacob. Documentary Editing: Principles and Practice. Second Edition. Routledge Press, 2023.

Hallas, Roger. A Medium Seen Otherwise: Photography in Documentary Film. Oxford University Press, 2023.

Kazuhiro, Soda. Why I Make Documentaries. Translated by Matt Schley, edited by Silvio Grasselli. Viaindustriae Publishing, 2023.

Kim, Jihoon. Documentary’s Expanded Fields: New Media and the Twenty-First-Century Documentary. Oxford University Press, 2022. Viaindustriae Publishing, 2023.

Lessard, Bruno. The Cinema of Wang Bing: Chinese Documentary between History and Labor. University of Chicago Press, 2023.

Melamed, Laliv. Sovereign Intimacy: Private Media and the Traces of Colonial Violence. University of California Press, 2023.

Piotrowska, Agnieszka. Psychoanalysis and Ethics in Documentary Film. 2nd Revised Edition. Routledge, 2023.

Rice, D. Andy. Political Camerawork: Documentary and the Lasting Impact of Reenacting Historical Trauma. Indiana University Press, 2023.

Robé, Christopher. Abolishing Surveillance: Digital Media Activism and State Repression. PM Press, 2023.

Rogers, Christine, Kim Munro, Liz Burke and Catherine Gough-Brady, eds. Construction of the Real: Intersections of Documentary-Based Film Practice and Theory. Intellect Books, 2023.

Sadlier, Darlene J. Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias del Subdesarrollo). Bloomsbury, 2023.

Schultz-Figueroa, Benjamin. The Celluloid Specimen: Moving Image Research into Animal Life. University of California Press, 2023.

Stone, Nora. How Documentaries Went Mainstream: A History, 1960-2022. Oxford University Press, 2023.

Trump, Maxine. Making a Scene in Documentary Film: Iconic Filmmakers Discuss What Works and Why. Routledge, 2023.

Yaqub, Nadia, ed. Gaza on Screen. Duke University Press, 2023.


Chanan, Michael. From Printing to Streaming: Cultural Production Under Capitalism. Pluto Press, 2022.

Evrard, Audrey. Precarious Sociality, Ethics and Politics: French Documentary Cinema in the Early Twenty-First Century. University of Wales Press, 2022.

Formenti, Cristina. The Classical Animated Documentary and Its Contemporary Evolution. Bloomsbury, 2022.

Godmilow, Jill. Kill the Documentary: A Letter to Filmmakers, Students, and Scholars. Columbia University Press, 2022.

Mani, Lata. Myriad Intimacies. Duke University Press, 2022.

Nash, KateInteractive Documentary: Theory and Debate. Routledge, 2022.

Sadlier, Darlene J. A Century of Brazilian Documentary Film: From Nationalism to Protest. The University of Texas Press, 2022.


Cahill, James Leo and Caminati, Luca, eds. Cinema of Exploration: Essays on an Adventurous Film Practice. Routledge, 2021.

French, Lisa. The Female Gaze in Documentary Film: An International Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

Geva, Dan. A Philosophical History of Documentary, 1895-2022. Springer Link, 2021.

Gordon, RachelThe Documentary Distribution Toolkit: How to Get Out, Get Seen, and Get an Audience. Routledge, 2021.

Krzych, Scott. Beyond Bias: Conservative Media, Documentary Form, and the Politics of Hysteria. Oxford University Press, 2021.

Lord, Susan, Caridad Cumaná, María, et al., eds. The Cinema of Sara Gómez: Reframing Revolution. New Directions in National Cinemas, 2021.

MacDonald, Scott and Zimmermann, Patricia, eds. Flash Flaherty: Tales from a Film Seminar. Indiana University Press, 2021.

Malitsky, Joshua, ed. A Companion to Documentary Film History. Wiley Blackwell, 2021.

Milliken, Christie, and Anderson, Steve F., eds. Reclaiming Popular Documentary. Indiana University Press, 2021.

Morgan, Daniel. The Lure of the Image: Epistemic Fantasies of the Moving Camera. University of Chicago Press, 2021.

Watson, RyanRadical Documentary and Global Crises: Militant Evidence in the Digital Age. Indiana University Press, 2021.


Baron, Jaimie and Fuhs, Kristen, eds. I Am Not Your Negro: A Docalogue. Routledge, 2020.

Bernard, Sheila Curran and Rabin, Kenn. Archival Storytelling: A Filmmaker’s Guide to Finding, Using, and Licensing Third-Party Visuals and Music. Second Edition. Routledge, 2020.

Campo, Javier, Crowder-Taraborrelli, Tomas, Garavelli, Clara, Piedras, Pablo, and Wilson, Kristi, eds. Documentary Cinema. An Aesthetic and Political CrossroadsPrometeo, 2020.

Chang, Anita Wen-ShinThird Digital Documentary: A Theory and Practice of Transmedia Arts Activism, Critical Design and Ethics. Peter Lang, 2020.

Clark, Joseph. News Parade: The American Newsreel and the World as Spectacle. University of Minnesota Press, 2020.

Coover, Roderick, ed. The Digital Imaginary: Literature and Cinema of the Database. Bloomsbury, 2020.

Freeman, Marilyn. The Illuminated Space: A Personal Theory & Contemplative Practice of Media Art. The 3rd Thing, 2020.

Ghosh, Bishnupriya, Sarkar, Bhaskar, eds. The Routledge Companion to Media and Risk. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2020.

Morag, Raya. Perpetrator Cinema: Confronting Genocide in Cambodian Documentary. Wallflower | Columbia University Press, 2020.

Piotrowska, Agnieszka, ed. Creative Practice Research in the Age of Hopelessness. Edinburgh University Press, 2020.

Presence, Steve, Wayne, Mike, and Newsinger, Jack. Contemporary Radical Film Culture: Networks, Organisations, and Activists. Routledge, 2020.

Robé, Christopher, Charbonneau, Stephen, eds. InsUrgent Media from the Front: A Media Activism Reader. Indiana University Press, 2020.

Salazkina, Masha, Fibla-Gutiérrez, Enrique, eds. Global Perspectives on Amateur Film Histories and Cultures. Indiana University Press, 2020.

Skvirsky, Salomé Aguilera. The Process Genre: Cinema and the Aesthetics of Labor. Duke University Press, 2020.

Snowdon, Peter. The People Are Not an Image: Vernacular Video After the Arab Spring. Verso, 2020.

Spiegel, Simon, Reiter, Andrea, and Goldberg, Marcy, eds. Utopia and Reality: Documentary, Activism and Imagined Worlds (New Dimensions in Science Fiction). University of Chicago Press, 2020.

Terry, Mark. The Geo-Doc: Geomedia, Documentary Film, and Social Change. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Thackway, Melissa, Teno, Jean-Marie. Reel Resistance – The Cinema of Jean-Marie Teno. Boydell & Brewer, 2020.

Vallejo, Aida, and Winton, Ezra, eds. Documentary Film Festivals Vol. 1: Methods, History, Politics. Palgrave MacMillan, 2020.

Vallejo, Aida, and Winton, Ezra, eds. Documentary Film Festivals Vol. 2: Changes, Challenges, Professional Perspectives. Palgrave MacMillan, 2020.

Vannini, Phillip, ed. The Routledge International Handbook of Ethnographic Film and Video. Routledge, 2020.

Winston, Brian and Winston, Matthew. The Roots of Fake News: Objecting to Objective Journalism. Routledge, 2020.

Yue, Genevieve. Girl Head: Feminism and Film Materiality. Fordham University Press, 2020.


Aguayo, Angela J. Documentary Resistance: Social Change and Participatory Media. Oxford University Press, 2019.

Campo, Javier, Pérez-Blanco Humberto, eds. A Trail of Fire for Political Cinema: The Hour of the Furnaces Fifty Years Later. University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Cazenave, Jennifer. An Archive of the Catastrophe: The Unused Footage of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah. SUNY Press, 2019.

Conway, Mike. Contested Ground: The Tunnel and the Struggle over Television News in Cold War America. University of Massachusetts Press, 2019.

Daniels, JillMemory, Place and Autobiography: Experiments in Documentary Filmmaking. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019.

Geva, DanThe Ethics Lab Guidebook. CILECT, 2019.

Hallas, Roger, edDocumenting the Visual Arts. Routledge, 2019.

Jaeckle, Jeff, and Ryan, Susan, eds. ReFocus: The Films of Barbara Kopple. Edinburgh University Press, 2019.

Kinik, Anthony, Jacobs, Steven, Hielscher, Eva. The City Symphony Phenomenon: Cinema, Art, and Urban Modernity Between the Wars. First Edition.  Routledge Publishers, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.

Ramírez-Soto, Elizabeth(Un)veiling Bodies: A Trajectory of Chilean Post-Dictatorship Documentary. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Cultures, 20. Cambridge: Legenda, 2019.

Ramos, Julio, and Robbins, Dylon, eds. Guillén Landrián o el desconcierto fílmico. Almenara Press, 2019.

Slugan, MarioFiction and Imagination in Early Cinema: A Philosophical Approach to Film History. Bloomsbury, 2019.

Warren, Shilyh. Subject to Reality: Women and Documentary. University of Illinois Press, 2019.

Williams, Deane, ed. Ten Years of Studies in Documentary Film. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.

Zimmermann, Patricia R. Documentary Across Platforms: Reverse Engineering Media, Place, and Politics. Indiana University Press, 2019.


Adamson, MorganEnduring Images: A Future History of New Left Cinema. University of Minnesota Press, 2018.

Alvarado, Alejandro. La poscensura en el cine documental de la transición española (Postcensorship in the Documentary Film of the Spanish Transition). Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2018.

Aufderheide, Patricia, Jaszi, Peter. Reclaiming Fair Use: Putting Balance back in Copyright. Second Edition. University of Chicago Press, 2018.

Battaglia, GiuliaDocumentary Film in India: an Anthropological History. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.

Brylla, Catalin, Kramer, Mette, eds. Cognitive Theory and Documentary Film. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Bui, Camille. Cinépratiques de la ville: Documentaires et urbanité après Chronique d’un été. Presses Universitaires de Provence, Aix en Provence, 2018.

Cammaer, Gerda, Fitzpatrick, Blake, Lessard, Bruno, eds. Critical Distance in Documentary Media. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Chambers, Ciara, Jönsson, Mats, Vande Winkel, Roel, eds. Researching Newsreels: Local, National and Transnational Case Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Cohen, HartThe Strehlow Archive: Explorations in Old and New Media. Routledge, 2018.

Fox, Broderick. Documentary Media: History, Theory, Practice. Second Edition. Routledge Publishers, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.

Fritsche, MariaThe American Marshall Plan Film Campaign and the Europeans: A Captivated Audience? London: Bloomsbury, 2018.

Geva, Dan. Toward a Philosophy of the Documentarian: A Prolegomenon. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Glick, JoshuaLos Angeles Documentary and the Production of Public History, 1958-1977. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2018.

Grieveson, LeeCinema and the Wealth of Nations. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2018.

Hamilton, Kevin, O’Gorman, NedLookout America! The Secret Hollywood Studio at the Heart of the Cold War. Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture. Dartmouth College Press, 2018.

Honess Roe, Annabelle, Pramaggiore, Maria, edsVocal Projections: Voices in Documentary. London: Bloomsbury, 2018.

Imran, RahatActivist Documentary Film in Pakistan: the Emergence of a Cinema of Accountability. First Edition. Routledge Publishers, Taylor & Francis Group, 2018 (paperback).

Johnson, Martin L. Main Street Movies: The History of Local Film in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018.

Kishore, ShwetaIndian Documentary Film and Filmmakers: Independence in Practice. Edinburgh University Press, 2018.

Loustaunau, Esteban and Shaw, Lauren, edsTelling Migrant Stories: Latin American Diaspora in Documentary Film. University of Florida Press, 2018.

MacKay, John. Dziga Vertov: Life and Work (Volume 1: 1896-1921). Academic Studies Press, 2018.

Miles, Adrian, ed. Digital Media and Documentary – Antipodean Approaches.  Springer Link, 2018.

Motrescu-Mayes, Annamaria, Nicholson, Heather Norris. British Women Amateur Filmmakers. Edinburgh University Press 2018.

Odorico, Stefano. The Interactive Documentary Form: Aesthetics, Practice and Research. Bielefeld: transcript, 2018.

Trump, Maxine. The Documentary Filmmaker’s Roadmap: A Practical Guide to Planning, Production and Distribution. Routledge, 2018.

Yu, Kiki Tianqi‘My’ Self on Camera: First Person Documentary Practice in an Individualising China. Edinburgh Studies in East Asian Film. Edinburgh University Press, 2018.


Bennett-Carpenter, BenjaminDeath in Documentaries: The Memento Mori Experience. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill | Rodopi, 2017.

Nichols, Bill. Introduction to Documentary. Third Edition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017.


Nichols, BillSpeaking Truths with Film: Evidence, Ethics, Politics in Documentary. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2016.