In brief, your job is to concisely answer such questions as these, say in one or two paragraphs: What is the source(s) of the film's history, and what does the film do with its source(s)?
Though we suggest that you draft the parts of the project in the order listed on the format page, you may not be able to complete this Source section till you go further in your research.
The idea is to give users of your site a concise statement about the representation of history in your film near the beginning of your project, even though you no doubt will go into more detail later, for instance, in your scene and issue essays.
Our project deals with the making of history. As such, we want to know the basis for the historical "facts" in the film and then what the film does with those "facts." In this piece of the project, your task is to write one or two solid paragraphs (more only if absolutely necessary) in which you "place" your film in relation to the real person or event and any sources, identified or unidentified, on which the film draws.
Does the film follow "reality," or does the film make it up? If the latter, how much does it make up and what parts?
If the film is based on a specific, acknowledged source (for instance, a book), does it follow, change, modify, augment, subvert, etc., that source? Where does the film follow the source, where not?
Ask yourself the following kinds of questions:
1) Who wrote the screenplay?
And is there anything pertinent to say regarding his or her ideology and/or agenda that may affect the making of history in the film? For instance, what kind of other films or writings did the screenwriter(s) do that might be important contextual material? Do you know that the screenwriter had certain political views? For instance, Walter Bernstein, who wrote The Molly Maguires, was blacklisted. Constantin Costa-Gavras of Missing is associated with the particular genre of political thriller. Oliver Stone wears his politics on his sleeve. A priest did Romero. And Disney does history all over the place.
2) Is the screenplay based on an acknowledged source -- a book, for instance?
If so, give short citation in parentheses after first mention, like this: (New York: Knopf, 1989). If so, you probably would have listed it as such in your filmography. Ask such questions as: who wrote the book? What kind of person was he or she? What kind of history was made of the "real" event in that book? Most importantly, how does the film compare to the book in theme and in the details? What parts are the same, what parts different? You probably should look for reviews of the book as well. You could list some here, and/or you would probably include them in your Filmic Context bibliography.
3) Or is the screenplay "original"?
If so, it was still based on research into some kind of historical sources, and you should have at least a general grip on them from your own research. How does the film compare to the available sources? What material did the writer take, what not? What does the film make up? What place does the film have in any controversies on the subject? What emphasis, what selectivity does the film construct?
Bottom line: you are to indicate how your film constructs history. Since the guideline can be satisfied in as little as one solid paragraph, it is not expected that you go into great depth. You may, in fact, as we said, cover this issue elsewhere in your project in depth. But here provide the user with a clear, quick, and handy statement of how your film fits the main focus of the archive.