David MacDougall (1939) is an ethnographic filmmaker and writer on visual anthropology and documentary cinema. Born in the USA of American and Canadian parents, he has lived in Australia since 1975. He was educated at Harvard University and the University of California at Los Angeles. His first film To Live with Herds won the Grand Prix “Venezia Genti” at the Venice Film Festival in 1972. Soon after this, he and his wife Judith MacDougall produced the Turkana Conversations trilogy of films on semi-nomadic camel herders of northwestern Kenya. Of these, Lorang’s Way won the first prize at Cinéma du Réel in Paris in 1979, and The Wedding Camels the Film Prize of the Royal Anthropological Institute in 1980. With Judith MacDougall, he then directed or co-directed a number of films on indigenous communities in Australia, including Goodbye Old Man (1977), Takeover (1980), Stockman's Strategy (1984) and Link-Up Diary (1987). In 1991 he and Judith MacDougall completed Photo Wallahs, a film on photographic practices in an Indian hill town. In 1993 he made Tempus de Baristas, about three generations of goat herders in the mountains of Sardinia, winner of the 1995 Earthwatch Film Award. In 1997 he began conducting a study of the Doon School in northern India. This resulted in five films: Doon School Chronicles (2000), With Morning Hearts (2001), Karam in Jaipur (2001), The New Boys (2003), and The Age of Reason (2004). Recent projects include filming at the Rishi Valley School, a progressive co-educational boarding school in South India based on the educational philosophy of Krishnamurti. His experimental film SchoolScapes (2007), made at Rishi Valley, won the Basil Wright Film Prize at the 2007 RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film. His latest film, Gandhi’s Children (2008), concerns a shelter for homeless children in New Delhi. MacDougall writes regularly on documentary and ethnographic cinema and is the author of Transcultural Cinema (Princeton University Press, 1998) and The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography, and the Senses (Princeton, 2006).
- Conversations with Anthropological Film-Makers: David MacDougall, eds. Anna Grimshaw and Nikos Papastergiadis, Cambridge: Prickly Pear Press, 1995.
- Transcultural Cinema, Princeton University Press, 1998.
- The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography, and the Senses, Princeton University Press, 2006.