Reframing perceptions of anthropomorphism in wildlife film and documentary
The influence of anthropomorphism in wildlife film and documentary is often misconstrued and underestimated. Critics of anthropomorphic techniques simplify them as pandering to an audience’s cultural ideologies and expectations. Anthropomorphism, including personification, characterisation and narrative structure, are nevertheless inseparable from the wildlife filmmaking process. Inherently subjective, nature on screen is depicted as per the production and post-production choices of the wildlife filmmaker. Furthermore, film, as a medium for entertainment, has ensured that representations of animals reflect those that are popular and will provide entertaining viewing for a particular audience. This anthropomorphism has great importance and potential influence in increasing audience numbers and has the potential to inspire conservation action through greater awareness and science communication. Understandings of anthropomorphism need to move away from criticism of its validity as a filmmaking technique and be reframed towards its potential to inspire audiences.
Advisor: Johnston, Ross
Degree Name: Master of Science Communication
Degree Discipline: Science Communication
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: anthropomorphism; wildlife documentary
Research Type: Thesis