Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

SVA Blog - Society for Visual Anthropology

Anandi Salinas

By

March 6, 2017

VAR SUPPLEMENT: Arjun Shankar on Critical Visuality and Image-Making

March 6, 2017 | By | No Comments

Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions

Anthropologists working with photography and youth have a common dilemma: how do we produce images that do not reinforce stereotypic imaginings of those who we work with which we are constantly consuming online and/or on television? How do we combat image regimes that portray those who we work with in uni-dimensional and deficiency-laden ways? This is the central dilemma brought up in the article, Auteurship and Imagemaking, which provides one example for how we might “see” communities differently through their own creative praxis.

The following two-part exercise is meant to provoke students to think critically about the types of images they consume as part of development and humanitarian aid interventions. They should, by the end of this lesson, be able to understand how images facilitate particular ways of seeing communities and the multiple agendas that these images are used for. Moreover, in doing this critical excavation, they should be able to begin thinking about how they can produce alternative images in collaboration with those depicted.

 Part-One

  • Have students pick a development or humanitarian aid organization that works with children whose image practice they want to assess. Have them delineate:
    1. What the organizations primary goals are
    2. Types of intervention strategies
    3. The primary populations that they work with
    4. Funding sources
  • Have students outline some of the assumptions that the organization has. These might include assumptions regarding:
    1. Who needs help and why
    2. Who should be facilitating change and why
    3. The appropriate means by which change can occur
  • Have students choose 3-4 images from the organization’s website. Once they have done this, have them answer the following questions:
    1. Who has taken the photograph? What social groups (racial, gender, national) are they a part of?
    2. Who is the primary audience for the photographs?
    3. What kind of photographic choices has the photographer made? How are the people in the photograph depicted?
    4. What do we learn about the community based on the images produced?
    5. How is the image distributed?
    6. What else is on there on the webpage on which the photograph is placed?
    7. What are the intended goals of these images?
    8. How might images like this influence how the organization intervenes and/or interacts with the community?
  • Given these forms of image circulation, have them identify the most serious representational issues that arise with regards to the community in question? Have them also postulate how those within the community depicted might react to such images.

Part-Two

  • Show students the image from the article Auteurship and Imagemaking. The driving question should be: what do you see?
    1. Ask them to identify where they think it was taken and why?
    2. Who they believe took the photograph and why
    3. For what purpose was the image taken?
    4. Where might the photograph have been exhibited and why?
    5. What do they learn from the images, about the photographer and/or those who are on screen?
  • Reveal to the students that these images were taken by students from a rural community in India. Then ask:
    1. How do these images challenge or complicate the depictions that were excavated in part one?
    2. How might images like these facilitate a different set of interactions between organizations and those who they are working with?

Extension Exercise

  • Have students design their own photo-voice project for youth:
  1. Who should be involved in the image-making process?
  2. What are the goals that the project should consider?
  3. What aesthetic choices might be made that differ from those that they have encountered in dominant visual regimes?
  4. What new questions should they ask? What criteria should they use to select photographs?
  5. How might there image-making practice change how organizations like those who they researched intervene?
Aynur Kadir

By

March 4, 2017

The Kenneth W. Payne Prize for outstanding anthropological scholarship by a student on a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered topic

March 4, 2017 | By | No Comments

The Kenneth W. Payne Prize

 

for outstanding anthropological scholarship

by a student on a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans* topic

 

call for submissions

deadline for submission: June 1, 2017

 

The Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize is presented each year by the Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA) to a graduate or undergraduate student in acknowledgment of outstanding anthropological work on 1) a lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans* topic, or 2) a critical interrogation of sexualities and genders more broadly defined. The Prize includes a cash award in the amount of $500. Submissions are encouraged from graduate or undergraduate students in any of the four fields of anthropology. To be eligible for consideration, work should have been completed since June 2016 and while the applicant was still enrolled as a student. Research papers as well as visual media (e.g. documentary film) are eligible for submission for this competition. Papers should be no longer than 40 pages, double-spaced, and typed in 11 or 12 point font; published papers or works accepted for publication will not be accepted for review. Visual media should run no longer than 60 minutes; media projects already under contract for commercial distribution will not be accepted for review.

 

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS JUNE 1, 2017. Submit an electronic copy of the print submission as a Word (*.doc) or RTF (rich text format or *.rtf) attachment to payne.prize@gmail.com on or before the indicated deadline. Visual media projects should be available for download from an accessible website; send an email to payne.prize@gmail.com identifying the visual media project and indicating its accessibility. In either case, include with your email message a statement showing your intent to enter the 2017 Kenneth W. Payne Prize competition, and a 100-200 word abstract. Include your name, address, department and university, telephone number, and email address in the body of the email; in addition, indicate the stage of your graduate or undergraduate work at the time the submission was developed. You will receive a confirmation email that your submission has been received within a week of its receipt. Please only send duplicate copies or emails if you have not received a response after two weeks.

 

The committee intends to organize a roundtable from outstanding Payne Prize submissions at the 2017 annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association. Submissions will be judged according to the following criteria: use of relevant L/G/B/T/Q and/or feminist anthropological theory and literature, potential for contribution to and advancement of L/G/B/T/Q studies and our understanding of sexualities worldwide, attention to difference (such as gender, class, race, ethnicity, nation), originality, organization and coherence, and timeliness. The award will be presented to the winner at the AQA Business meeting during the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (Washington, DC) November 29 – December 3, 2017.

Members of the 2017 Payne Prize Committee: Brooke Bocast (University of the Witswatersrand), Michael Connors Jackman (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Tayo Jolaosho (University of South Florida – 2017 Payne Prize Committee chair), Richard J. Martin (Harvard University) and Shaka McGlotten (Purchase College-SUNY).

Kate Hennessy

By

March 3, 2017

2017 SVA Film and Media Festival Call for Submissions

March 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

The Society for Visual Anthropology’s Film & Media Festival screens work by students, professional anthropologists, and professional filmmakers at the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference.

The Festival jury, comprised of anthropologists and film scholars, selects work to be included in the Festival on the basis of anthropological relevance and value to the field. Low budget and shorter works receive as careful attention as high budget or longer works. The SVA may bestow a number of awards each year, including the Festival’s highest recognition, the Joan S. Williams Award of Excellence, named for the Festival’s longtime organizer who retired in 2006. An award for Best Student Work is awarded annually and the Jean Rouch Award may be given for collaborative and participatory work.

If you wish to submit a production please visit: SVA on FilmFreeway

For more information, please contact:
SVAFilmFestival@gmail.com

2017 Festival Co-Directors:
Kathryn Ramey (kathryn_ramey@emerson.edu)
Ulla D. Berg (uberg@rci.rutgers.edu)

Anandi Salinas

By

February 27, 2017

VAR SUPPLEMENTS: Spring 2016 (VAR 32:1) Special Issue on ‘the Greek Crisis’

February 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

Uncertain Visions: Crisis, Ambiguity, and Visual Culture in Greece

A woman photographing, with her mobile phone, the material landscape that followed a political demonstration against austerity measures in June 2011, near Syntagma Square. Images of debris, graffiti and destruction are often featured in various outlets as convenient metonyms of ‘the crisis’ and they fuel divergent cultural investments ranging from disdain for political instability to awe for protesting aesthetics. Though this picture is undercut by various levels of unknowability (e.g. what will her images do for viewers? What are these pictures for her?) it condenses a certain desire to ‘see’ and visualize ‘the crisis’ and hints at the ambiguity and unpredictable productivity of such photographs. The visualizing desire is central to commercial mechanisms and to many people’s aspirations and despite, its realist claims is often infused with uncertainty about what the crisis looks like. The density, ambiguity, impossibility and productivity of seeing, representing and visualizing the ‘Greek crisis’ are extensively considered by authors of this special issue. Photo by K. Kalantzis

“Introduction—Uncertain Visions: Crisis, Ambiguity, and Visual Culture in Greece,” by Konstantinos Kalantzis

  1. What are the possible roles of the visual in an inquiry into ‘the Greek crisis’? Give some examples of such an inquiry and describe how it may involve a sensory ethnography.
  2. What do we mean by sanguine approaches to the crisis? What kind of critical questions can we ask about anthropologists’ identification with suffering subjects?
  3. Note some problems and limitations that stem from using the term ‘crisis’ to describe contemporary Greek social practice.

4 3

On seeing as practice and metaphor – These pictures were taken during the early stages of what later became known as the ‘Indignant’ protests (compare to other demonstrations taking place during 2011 in Spain and elsewhere). They depict crowds of different social backgrounds, before the consolidation of political geographies that created a distinction between the more patriotic-nationalist and the more leftist assemblages (a distinction complicated anew with Greece’s post-2015 coalition government, comprised of a leftist and a rightist party united by anti-colonial; anti-austerity rhetoric). What interests me particularly about these pictures is that during the demonstrations the crowd kept looking around, following loud noises, to trace possible developments in the protest. In people’s anxious effort to see what was happening, one can grasp both the sensory landscape of Greek demonstrations, but also conjure a metaphor of a practice that most Greeks have been involved in; i.e. trying to sense and describe what it is that is happening with and to the country since 2010; their economies, relationships and spheres of daily life. This effort also concerns ethnographers, as the present phase has generated a significant corpus of work that this special issue engages. Photos by K. Kalantzis

“Chemtrails, Crisis, and Loss in an Interconnected World,” by Alexandra Bakalaki

  1. On the basis of the paper, what seem to be the challenges involved in internet research as opposed to participant observation?
  2. Why does the author explicitly refrain from categorizing the chemtrail narrative as a conspiracy theory?
  3. What are the ways in which middle class educated subjects who reject the chemtrail narrative stereotype those adhering to it? To what extent does this stereotyping draw on longstanding views on the merits of modernization?
  4. How does the chemtrail narrative relate to accounts that attribute the Greek economic crisis to the purposeful action of foreign agents?

 “Proxy Brigands and Tourists: Visualizing the Greek-German Front in the Debt Crisis,” by Konstantinos Kalantzis

  1. What does the author mean by nativism? What does nativism do for people in Greece, today and how is Crete enrolled? Give some examples of Crete’s signification that indicate how it is cast as a nativist force.
  2. What role does the visual play in the constitution of nativism in Greece?
  3. How does the locals’ approach to tourists relate to wider national trends as regards the perception of Germany? Does photography reveal things that differ or confirm wider political dynamics?
  4. How does the study of material culture help us grasp the ambiguous complexity in locals’ relationships with Germans in Sfakia, Crete? Give some examples of discontinuity between verbal and material manifestations.

5

This image depicts the faded graffiti of a now-abandoned restaurant in highland Sfakia. It depicts a man in Cretan attire (the emblematic figure of ‘The Cretan’ as found in dozens of Greek registers) and features two signs addressed to German visitors, assuring them that the owner speaks their language. The maker of the graffiti, a shepherd proud of his ability to painting, acquired the relevant language skills by living in Germany as a guest worker. His trajectory is indicative of the asymmetries and power dynamics in early Greek tourism; i.e. an ex-worker sets up a business to serve people from the (powerful) industrial host country. Such dynamics are grasped by locals’ expressions of suspicion of tourism and its demands; dynamics that are simultaneously subverted if one looks at particular material spheres, where the presence of Germans is marked by affect and admittance into local sociality.

Figure 6

Dynamics of affect and exchange are captured in figure 6 showing B&W images of local men framed at a shop mostly addressed to tourists in the city of Chania. These images were originally taken by a German woman in the 1980s. As part of her ongoing engagement with locals she circulated and gifted these images to the families of the sitters. The nephew of one of these subjects decorated the walls of his shop with these pictures. They then come to serve both as familial objects, but also as emblems of Sfakian descent in an environment that markets Cretan-ness for consumption. The practice further underscores the Sfakian use of pictures sent by visitors as a means of representing and remembering family members. The practice is replete with asymmetries, given that it highlights how rural Greeks historically relied on (powerful) outsiders to photographically visualize themselves. At the same time, the transactions and the actual sites of display encapsulate moments of affect and warm exchange; as in the dozens of stories heard in Sfakia, where Germans and other Europeans visit local families after decades from their original visit and engage (often in tears) around those early pictures. Photos by K.Kalantzis

 “The Metaphysics of the Greek Crisis”: Visual Art and Anthropology at the Crossroads,” by  Eleana Yalouri

  1. Is ‘ambiguity’ a negative or risky tool to apply in anthropological research? Are there cases where it can be fruitfully applied, for example when dealing with unpredictability and uncertainty?
  2. Think of possible reasons why an anthropologist should, or should not, choose to collaborate with visual artists when studying ‘the Greek crisis’. In what sense could (or could not) art tools and methods enhance the ways of doing and writing anthropology?
  3. If for artists activism and intervention in their field of study and creation is often part and parcel of their method, to what extent do you think that anthropologists should adopt such active involvement in their own field.

 “‘Crisis’ as Art: Young Artists Envisage Mutating Greece,” by Elpida Rikou and Io Chaviara

  1. Can you imagine an artwork as a partner in your research? If not, why? If yes, can you give an example? In both cases, what theoretical references would you choose?
  2. “Is contemporary Greek art capable of conveying the know-how of dealing with a crisis?” (p.49) At this particular historic conjuncture, would you like to “Learn from Athens” as the art project Documenta 14 proposes? What could be the arguments for and against such a project?
  3. “The images of the Greeks in crisis (…) how they become consumable commodities both inside and outside of the country” (p.55) What could be those images? Do they become “consumable commodities” and in what sense? Do you think that the artwork “T.E.O” achieved the artist’s goal?

 “The ‘Greek Crisis’ through the Cinematic and Photographic Lens: From ‘Weirdness’ and Decay to Social Protest and Civic Responsibility,” by Erato Basea

 

Tino Sehgal’s exhibition in and around the space of the Roman Agora in 2014 was one example of how art can activate public spaces and contribute to a dialogue about public life and political participation in the present. This is the photograph I took on my way out that day. The photograph captures the African-American immigrant, who was enjoying the early October sunshine. If you are as careful as I was that day, you will notice that on the pavement, an anarchist tag reads, in Greek, “skou[pa] pantou” (‘sweeps everywhere’), alluding to (and criticizing) police round-up operations and mass arrests of illegal immigrants. A public art project, immigrants, police repression, and resistant graffiti are all visible in the textured city and in this photograph. Photo by E. Basea

  1. To coincide with the November issue of Artforum on art and politics, artforum.com released a video in which artists, including Carrie Mae Weems, Matthew Weinstein and Vitaly Komar, share their views on political art. Watch the video and discuss what renders art political, according to the artists interviewed.

Link: www.artforum.com/video/mode=large&id=64336&page_id=0&ref=newsletter

  1. “The essence of politics is not plurality of opinions. It is the prescription of a possibility in rupture with what exists” (Alain Badiou, Metapolitics, 2006: 24). Can art create spheres of multiple political action and participation?
  2. This is a photo taken by the author in 2014, in downtown Athens. Describe the picture and its references to antiquity. Would you think that the graffiti resists official discourses about Greece’s ancient past? To reply to this question, you might want to consider ‘Greece | Gods, Myths, Heroes’ (2014), Andonis Theocharis Kioukas’s 12-minute tourism video funded by the Ministry of Tourism. Would you argue that the video portrays an image of the country to tourists that differs considerably from the urban cityscape that residents face daily? Photo by E. Basea.

You can find the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L0jzJTm9ug

 “Crisis and Visual Critique,” by Christopher Pinney

  1. How does Azoulay’s work contribute to to an exploration of politics and the ‘crisis’?
  2. In what way did the actual practice of photography complicate Bourdieu’s theoretical and sociological model?
  3. Consider some elements of Benjamin’s approach to photography and explain how these might be useful in thinking about political subjectivity and the ‘crisis.’
Jerome

By

February 15, 2017

The John Collier Jr. Award for Still Photography

February 15, 2017 | By | No Comments

2017 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR THE JOHN COLLIER JR AWARD FOR VISUAL EXCELLENCE IN THE USE OF STILL PHOTOGRAPHY

The John Collier Jr. Award for Still Photography is awarded periodically by the Collier award committee members of the Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) to an author or photographer whose publication, exhibit, website, or other multimedia production exemplifies the use of still photographs (both historical and contemporary) for research and communication of anthropological knowledge.  The submission must have a strong visual research perspective accompanied by high quality photographs, both technically and aesthetically and be within five years of the original publication date.

Rules for Submissions: The project must be nominated by a current member of the American Anthropology Association.   A complete submission packet consists of:

  1. A letter of nomination from the AAA member covering why the work deserves the award, as well as the name, book title or exhibit, website or multimedia production, publisher, author’s mailing address, phone and email.
  1. A letter of consent from the work’s author.
  1. Four copies of the work (if a physical copy exists). These copies should be requested by the author from the publisher to be sent directly to the committee.

Completed submission materials must be received by the deadline listed below.

Submissions cannot be nominated directly from the publisher but the copies of the work may be sent directly from the publisher to the committee. Collections of writings by multiple authors will not be considered.

The same work may be submitted a maximum of two times. The SVA Collier Award board appointed committee then reviews the submitted works to decide on its merits. Winners are announced during the SVA/AAA meetings and presented with a John Collier Jr. or Mary Collier print, courtesy of the Collier Family Collection, a certificate of recognition and award recognition stickers to place on the work.

Submissions for 2017 should be mailed to:

The Collier Committee c/o Andrea Heckman, Chairperson, P. O. Box 714, Taos Ski Valley, NM 87525.

Deadlines for 2017 Submission and Award Notification:

  • April 15:  Deadline for receipt of nomination materials and submission to SVA.
  • July 31: Committee decision will be submitted to SVA President and Secretary.
  • August 10: Award information submitted to AAA program committee.
Kate Hennessy

By

December 22, 2016

Announcing Writing with Light – an anthropological photo-essay initiative

December 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

Writing with Light is an initiative to bolster the place of the photo-essay—and, by extension, formal experimentation—within international anthropological scholarship. As a collaboration between two journals published by the American Anthropological Association (AAA), Cultural Anthropology and Visual Anthropology ReviewWriting with Light is led by an editorial/curatorial collective that aims to address urgent and important concerns about the sustained prominence of multimodal scholarship and how that changes what anthropologists can and should see as productive knowledge. This initiative addresses as a central concern the development of appropriate criteria for evaluating these forms of multimodal scholarship. By focusing on the singular form of the photo-essay, we aim to interrogate the synergistic combination of images and words, while also considering the photo-essay’s narrative affordances and its capacity to go beyond storytelling. In sum, we believe that focused attention on the photo-essay might help us to rethink a broader array of anthropological questions regarding issues of mediation, representation, methodology, etc. and and potentially shift how anthropologists conceive of the discipline itself

For submission guidelines, please visit: https://culanth.org/photo_essays
Aynur Kadir

By

November 27, 2016

InDigital Latin America Conference II

November 27, 2016 | By | No Comments

March 16-18, 2017 Save the Date

untitled333

InDigital Latin America Conference II

                                                                      Media as Witness: photograph by Krakrax Kayapó, 2015.

Location: Vanderbilt University Campus, Nashville TN.

Co-Sponsored by Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University

 

Indigenous Engagement with Digital and Electronic Media

The study of Indigenous media is a relatively new and rapidly expanding field combining innovative research in anthropology with theoretical perspectives from media studies. Currently the field is evolving at such a “dizzying” rate that it is nearly impossible to keep track of all the innovations, novel applications, and sociocultural impacts transpiring. We invite researchers and media makers to join us to share and discuss these rapid changes in Indigenous media with a focus on Latin America.

 

Call for Abstracts

untitled0000We are interested in a variety of topics and approaches (ranging from viewer/user agency to media effects), including, but not limited to how different groups may engage and be impacted by media as they:

 

  • Watch, interpret, or create television messages
  • Fashion, comprehend, and interact with radio texts
  • Construct and view their own cultural representations on film and upload them to the Internet
  • Build websites to archive culture materials
  • Construct social networks in cyberspace among themselves and other groups
  • Utilize cell phones to not only communicate but also film in culturally appropriate manners
  • Preserve disappearing languages
  • Encourage intergenerational dialog and cultural transmission
  • Record events for political leverage
  • Explore new marketing or consumption opportunities
  • Are simply expressive and creative in conceptualization of cultural identity through media

 

Keynote Speaker: Amalia Córdova (Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s Film and Video Center and New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies)

Conference discussants: Elizabeth Weatherford (Smithsonian) and Faye Ginsburg (NYU)

 

We welcome presentations on:

     Institutional analysis of Indigenous media (e.g. the evolution of traditional and new spaces and platforms for expression of Indigenous concerns, the impact of transnational networking with other Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples);

 

     Textual analysis (e.g. content analysis of themes, genres, representations, as well as current thinking on authenticity of Indigenous media in terms of hybridity and indigeneity); and

 

     Audience/reception studies (e.g. the dynamics of media engagement and consumption in local communities in terms of technological constraints, issues of ownership and access, signification of technology as material object and communication modality, displacement of public activities, creation of new habits of spectatorship, and impact upon worldviews).

 

 

Several special sessions are planned to:

Showcase Indigenous films (screenings by Kayapó filmmakers and others)

Explore the emergence of hybrid music forms (including performances of Kaya-pop and Mayan hip-hop)

Commemorate the contributions of the late Terence Turner to Indigenous Media

Explore the emergence of a Pan-American Indigenous media exchange (the Inuit-Latin American connection).

untitled11

Kiabieti Kayapó (left) and Terence Turner (right)

at InDigital Latin America I, 2015

 

Registration and Transportation/Lodging information may be found on the conference website.

my.vanderbilt.edu/indigitalconference2017

 

For more information, please contact Richard Pace

richard.pace@mtsu.edu

 

Aynur Kadir

By

November 10, 2016

LIVE Broadcast Premiere of “T​ashi’s Turbine”​ on PBS WORLD Channel

November 10, 2016 | By | No Comments

With wind, there is light in darkness. The remote Nepalese village of Nyamdok is without electricity, and therefore the residents suffer without light and the life that comes with it. Friends Tashi and Jeevan are on a mission to build wind turbines with what limited resources they have in the harsh conditions of the Himalayas so that opportunities are created for the community. Will the lightbulb flicker on? A mitabh Joshi’ s “ Tashi’s Turbine” premieres on #DocWorld Sunday, Nov. 13 at 10/9c, only on WORLD Channel. #TashisTurbine http://bit.ly/DW_TTurbine

publicity_still_2-5-1

Stream the premiere of TASHI’S TURBINE via WORLD Channel’s Facebook this Sunday, November 13th at 10/9c. Joining us will be filmmaker Amitabha Joshi and special guest Tashi Bista — they’ll be answering your questions throughout the live stream.

TASHI’S TURBINE is a Vacant Light production. The film is funded by the Center for Asian American Media, through support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Aynur Kadir

By

November 10, 2016

A PITCH SESSION FOR ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMMAKERS: DEVELOPING YOUR STORY, INTEGRATING YOUR RESEARCH, FINDING FUNDING AND DISTRIBUTION

November 10, 2016 | By | No Comments

REGISTER NOW for NEW SVA WORKSHOP at AAA!

THURSDAY, 11/17, 1 – 5pm, SVA WORKSHOP # 3-0700

Are you interested in using film for conveying your anthropological research or reaching new audiences? Watch others pitch their projects, think about your own film, learn strategies for funding and distribution and join the discussion.

 

Workshop: A PITCH SESSION FOR ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMMAKERS:

DEVELOPING YOUR STORY, INTEGRATING YOUR RESEARCH, FINDING FUNDING AND DISTRIBUTION

 

Six filmmakers have been selected from an open call to pitch their work-in-progress to a jury of funders, distributors and award winning filmmakers. Following a seven minute pitch, each filmmaker will receive feedback from the jury and audience on the effectiveness of the pitch and the substance of the film project – including strategies for visualizing anthropological content and suggestions for developing narrative and structure. Jury and audience awards will be given.

Following the Pitch session, Leslie Aiello, from the Wenner-Gren Foundation will make a brief presentation about the Fejos Ethnographic Film Fellowship.

To participate, you must register for workshop #3-0700; $20 student, $40 nonstudent

JURY

Alice Apley, Executive Director, Documentary Educational Resources (DER)

Sarah Elder, Director, DRUMS OF WINTER; Prof. Doc. Film, SUNY Buffalo

Seth Kramer, Director, THE ANTHROPOLOGIST, Ironbound Films

Camilla Nielsson, Filmmaker/Anthropologist, Director, DEMOCRATS

PITCHING PROJECTS

THE BURNING: AN UNTOLD STORY FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIGRANT CRISIS

Writer/Director/Producer/Editor – Isabella Alexander

000011

Synopsis – This character-driven documentary follows the journeys of Phino, Yasmineno, and a boy called Bambino. It invites audiences inside a hidden refugee crisis unfolding on the other side of Europe’s borders. Morocco is the primary crossing point for all Africans fleeing war and poverty in their home countries, but for the past decade, Europe has been working against international human rights conventions to mold Morocco into the final destination for all African migrations north. Brutally beaten back by guards at every attempted crossing, hundreds of thousands who have burned their pasts in hopes of a better future now find themselves trapped only miles from their dream.

 

»PLAGUE OVER DENMARK«

An ethnographic film about radicalization, contagion, and healing with Danish Muslims at the Grimhøj-mosque

00002

Directed by: Christian Suhr

Produced by: Persona Film / Eye & Mind

Synopsis: Between 2009-2012 I studied and filmed the healing practices of Muslims in my hometown Aarhus, Denmark, not knowing that only few years later the community would be described by politicians at the highest level of government as “a plague over Denmark,” “a dark Islamic force,” “a violence- and death glorifying cult,” “who preaches messages about hatred,” and who “spreads messages which aim at undermining our democracy.” This film is about the spread of hatred and fear; about conversations that should be possible, but seem increasingly impossible; and about how Feisal, Abu Bilal, and Abu Hassan—three of my closest informants—manoeuvred through the last seven years of escalating religious and political turmoil.

 

THE MAKING OF A KING

00003

Director/Producer: Nicole Miyahara

Synopsis: The Making of a King explores the relatively unknown subculture of drag kings in Los Angeles during the height of drag queen popularity. Although drag queens are widely known and largely accepted, drag kings are also artists who question gender and notions of societal norms with their performances. They are fighting for equal pay and showtime within their own drag community.

 

BADZU VILLAGE

00004

Director: Tami Blumenfield

Synopsis: In southwest China’s Na villages, families that once stayed together in matrilineal, multigenerational households are now splintering into multiple smaller family units. Many family members spend time working outside these villages, a phenomenon that creates numerous tensions and challenges for the younger generations as they strive to find their own path. Badzu Village explores how members of one family are navigating this shifting terrain, drawing on close relationships between the anthropologist-filmmaker and several generations of women in the family to offer a deeply personal window into their lives.

 

MIGRANTI DI DENTU, MIGRANTI DI FORA (MIGRANTS FROM WITHIN, MIGRANTS FROM AFAR)

000005

Director: Francesco Dragone, Produced by Awen Films in collaboration with Kriolscope

Synopsis: Migranti is an ethnographic documentary examining complex issues of race, class and belonging in the context of migration in and from Cabo Verde. By following the stories of three migrants, Evandro a Cape Verdean fisherman who migrates from Fogo Island to Santiago Island, Mamadou, a Senegalese who settles in Cabo Verde working as a tailor and Alcindo, a native from Praia, the capital city of Santiago Island who migrates to the US in search of better life conditions, this documentary attempts to analyze their crisscrossing migratory routes.

 

 

TO LOVE A RAT

00006

Producer/Director: Darcie DeAngelo

Synopsis: This project portrays the story of explosive detection rats and their handlers learning to de- mine. It takes place in Cambodia, a country contaminated with millions of landmines and follows an underfunded NGO, APOPO, that implements rats as new biological technologies for landmine detection. The videos reveal the process of learning a new technology when the technology in question is an unpredictable and, sometimes unwilling, animal. The project’s significance lies in its story of co-species learning and friendships when stakes are fatally high.

 

Anandi Salinas

By

November 1, 2016

VAR SUPPLEMENTS: Chihab El Khachab on Visualizing the Final Products of Commercial Films

November 1, 2016 | By | No Comments

Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions   

Egyptian filmmakers involved in commercial film production face a common problem: how can we visualize, right now, what our movie will look like, eventually?

This exercise is meant to illustrate the difficulties generated by this problem, and how filmmakers try to manage it. The exercise is incremental, so you can stop at any one step and reflect back on what was done, but try to follow the sequence if possible. Each step can be done on a different day.

  1. A group of 5 filmmakers are given the following scene to shoot by an experienced screenwriter and a small producer who cannot afford to shoot in an actual plane:

Scene XX – PLANE – NIGHT/INTERNAL

The lights are dimmed. Everyone is sleeping.

MURAD sits in the exact middle of the plane. An OLD WOMAN (60 y-o, tanned, with black and white hair, wearing dark sunglasses) is sleeping deeply to his right. To his left, an OLD MAN (60 y-o, tanned, white hair but looking healthy) seeks to chat with Murad by all means.

Murad lies down with his eyes closed.

OLD MAN

What are you going to do in Cairo, son?

Murad doesn’t pay attention to him.

The old man pokes Murad and wakes him up a little.

OLD MAN

Is it for a visit or for work?

Murad looks angrily at the old man, turns around, and goes back to sleep.

OLD

(frustrated)

It ain’t illegal to talk…

Murad quickly glances towards the old man and goes back to sleep.

CUT

Using any tools you need (pens, papers, smartphones, cameras, etc.), craft a short description of the way in which you would like to shoot this scene individually. Include details about camera angles, camera movements, actor direction, set design, costumes, and sounds.

  1. Gather back with your fellow filmmakers and, in turn, describe to them what you have envisioned to shoot the scene.

Question #1: Are there discrepancies in each person’s description? What are they and why do you think they arise?

  1. Once everyone has given his/her description, try to reach a consensus on how to shoot the scene.

Question #2: Are there difficulties in reaching the consensus? If not, why not? If so, what are they?

Question #3: How does each filmmaker argue his position? What kinds of arguments are brought forth? Who gets the last word?

  1. Once a consensus is reached, divide the tasks between a director (who casts the actors and oversees the action on set), a cinematographer (who holds the camera and manages lighting), an art director (who manages the set and props), a stylist (who manages costumes), and a production manager (who scouts potential shooting locations and facilitates the logistics of shooting). On another day, shoot the scene.

Question #4: Are there any discrepancies between what was agreed at step #4 and what happens on set? If not, why not? If so, how do they compare to the discrepancies observed at step #2?

Question #5: What kinds of social interactions evolve on set? How are they different from the interactions you’ve had until point #4?

Variation (1): Instead of #1, try the following: A group of 5 filmmakers is asked to collectively write a scene where Murad, a major male movie star, meets his long-lost sister Leila.

Question: What are the difficulties involved in writing the scene? How does the fact that it was collectively written affect steps 2 to 4 afterwards?

Variation (2): Instead of dividing tasks at step #3, try designating a director, a cinematographer, an art director, a costume designer, and a production manager before beginning step #1. Think about how this division of labor affects the process, and how it compares to an absence of division of labor at steps #1-2.

Additional Videos

Short videos about the making of Décor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqyGmcQScvI&list=PLuVdxg0hw7w2Le1SSFccDUCBDcESzd_ZP

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WT6mLu5bkU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fRXf-zLiL8

Readings on Egyptian Film

Arasoughly, Alia (ed.) (1996). Screens of Life. Critical Film Writing from the Arab World. St. Hyacinthe, Québec: World Heritage Press

Armbrust, Walter. (2004). ‘Egyptian Cinema On Stage and Off’ in Andrew Shyrock (ed.). Off Stage/On Display: Intimacy and Ethnography in the Age of Public Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press

Flibbert, Andrew. (2007). Commerce in Culture: States and Markets in the World Film Trade. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan

Shafik, Viola. (2007). Popular Egyptian Cinema: Gender, Class and Nation. Cairo and New York: American University in Cairo Press

Shafik, Viola. (2007). Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press

Additional Resources

http://www.elcinema.com/en/

This website is the most complete online Arabic movie database, akin to IMDB.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV18A9kbuck&list=PL0l541FH_W0TCkn1FMjAobK8j59pgyHPd

This channel includes some Egyptian movies with English subtitles. These movies are in no sense representative of contemporary Egyptian cinema as a whole, but they give some sense about its visual worlds.

Follow us to get the latest updates.

twitter facebook rss