Welcome to the first issue of Field Notes, Field of Vision’s new online journal for original writing on nonfiction filmmaking in all its forms.

We’ve conceived of this journal with both narrow and broad aims. Field Notes is committed to nonfiction: it intends to be a refuge for thoughtful and considered writing on the mode, outside of the parameters of both reviewing and academia.

But our hope is also to interrogate and challenge the very contours of nonfiction: its assumptions, its hierarchies, its global legacies, its aesthetic and ideological varieties, and its ever-mutating shapes, both across history and in the present moment.

We invite writing that experiments with its own form to reflect on these questions, whether through essays, interviews, reported features, correspondences, oral histories, or more.

The pieces in our inaugural issue reflect our eclectic approach. Charlie Shackleton narrates how an unreliable Wikipedia entry about a 1980s British investigation into same-sex sadomasochism inspired his film, Lasting Marks; Ashley Clark writes about the time Stuart Hall exposed the BBC’s racism on its own platform; and Sarah Fonseca and Jillian McManemin exchange pandemic-inspired letters about sex work, independent cinema, and sex work in independent cinema.

We are inspired by other independent magazines and initiatives which have responded to the need for critical considerations of nonfiction, and we hope to be a space of collaboration. To kick off the first issue of Field Notes, Contributing Editor Devika Girish spoke with the creators of two such initiatives: Rooney Elmi, the founding editor of SVLLY(wood) and co-founder of the No Evil Eye microcinema; and Matt Turner, marketing manager at Open City Documentary Festival and founding editor of the Non-Fiction journal.

We hope that their roundtable—which touches upon the intersections of form and subject matter in documentary, the mode’s exploitative and colonialist legacy, and the need to create sustainable spaces for writing—functions as a sort of “mission conversation,” in lieu of a traditional, monolithic mission statement.

And if these pieces spark your own ideas, send us a pitch at editor@fieldofvision.org.


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