Pluralities Nonfiction Film Journal

A Forum for Documentary Disruption

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It is urgent, in these times, to secure spaces where democratic conversations can occur. Documentary film is one of the most powerful tools we have to research and reflect on our collective human experience and create connections to better ourselves. There is currently no single hub for global conversations around documentary film and how it illuminates and intervenes in the social issues defining our age.

San Francisco State University’s Documentary Film Institute plans to meet this need by creating Pluralities, a multi-media, digital journal. Pluralities will use nonfiction film to engage the humanities in nuanced dialogue. It will bring together a cosmopolitan group of thought leaders, creative thinkers and learning communities to participate in the same global exchange as documentary filmmakers. Pluralities will also offer far-reaching avenues for national and international nonfiction filmmakers and scholars to exhibit, examine and exchange their work in one platform. In addition, it will provide an umbrella for the various creative and scholarly pursuits that are housed at the Documentary Film Institute.

The journal will function as an online and interactive space that identifies, experiments and innovates new forms of multi-media scholarship in the field using a no-fee open source platform. In addition, it will bring together thought leaders and creative professionals in bi-annual symposia and conference settings to further interrogate these new approaches to scholarship and intersectionality in the burgeoning areas of nonfiction film and the humanities. Pluralities’ vision is to be part academic journal, part aggregator of underserved global voices and part provocateur to the field of nonfiction film and the visualization of the humanities. The journal will feature the work of graduate students as well as columns that debate issues of representation and history in film in language accessible to a non-specialist public. The aim is to collect multiple versions of reality in one space in order to question the possibility of any master narrative, filling in the holes of history and the present with experiential knowledge and self-critique.

The Bay Area is the birthplace of nonfiction film and, as a center of cultural, political and technological innovation, the region remains a hotbed for documentary filmmaking. As a university dedicated to global justice, equity and accessibility, and rooted in cross-cultural studies, SF State is the most compelling place to ground an innovative multi-media, digital journal for nonfiction film. The university’s values and the extraordinary diversity of our students, faculty and staff empower us to give agency to underrepresented communities all over the globe.


"Disrupting Documentary"


As we complete the publication of our initial journal volumes, we invite scholars and practitioners to submit work on a rolling deadline. We are open to any topic engaging nonfiction film or media that has the intention of disrupting the field. Whether its a pedagogical approach, a new manifesto, a book chapter or video essay, we are interested to see how scholars and makers are challenging the form and function of documentary and nonfiction film and media in the modern age.



  • Abstract of no more than 500 words with three bibliographic sources.
  • Bio of no more than 250 words, noting academic or industry affiliation.
  • Full essays may be submitted for consideration. Please note if the essay has been published before and where.
  • Full essays should be between 1,000-10,000 words. We accept academic papers, book and film reviews, interviews and articles of varying lengths.
  • Please use Chicago Manual Style for your submissions.


  • Project submissions include creative works, video or audio essays, interactive media, multi-modal media and any work that does not fit under the paper submission category.
  • Please include any relevant links to the project.
  • Project description of 1-2 pages, and/or any accompanying writing or scholarship to be published alongside the project.
  • Bio of no more than 250 words, noting academic or industry affiliation.
  • If selected, third party clearances must be in place, and media made available for download by the Documentary Film Institute.

Please follow this secure link for submission or send your entry to the journal editor soumyaa [at]

Filmmaker Kelly Gallagher at 2017 Pluralities Conference