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Beyond the Screen: Bridging the Gap Between Documentary Film and Audience to Enhance the Storytelling Experience Open Access

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Documentary film is a vital part of culture. It is a form of media that offers a way of better understanding, reasoning, inspiring, or even altering a world that is continually becoming more complex and complicated. These films are a tool that can empower people to change the world, sometimes in ways so significant that thousands of lives are bettered, but usually change happens in smaller ways – ways that simply allow someone to follow their dreams or find the courage needed to face a difficult situation. However, there are boundaries between this medium and the audience. Where do audiences go to more deeply experience documentary film when feeling inspired by storytelling? With the belief that design can act as a platform to create a space that fosters shared experience, this thesis proposes the design of a documentary production studio that serves two primary functions. The first is simply the function of a production house that produces documentary film. The second, and more relevant function, is a space where viewers can go to more deeply experience narrative; a three dimensional space where audiences can attend events that allow them to move from passive viewer to active participant. The written thesis is organized into four main chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the premise of the issue and why it was pursued. Chapter 2 presents research on documentary film. It explores and highlights significant milestones of this medium’s theory and history, provides an analysis of documentary film in the 21st century, and ends with a study of the technical production of the documentary. Chapter 3 documents how this thesis is translated into a functional interior space. A holistic analysis is provided for the programming, site selection, materiality, and overall methodology of the production studio. Chapter 4 offers a reflection of the project, including successes and lessons learned, while also providing brief guidance on how this program could be translated into other interior spaces.

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