I produced the essay film The Role of We for a special topics doctoral seminar during the Fall 2017 semester. The film focuses on the #MeToo movement and argues for intersectionality and solidarity in dealing with the issues of sexual assault and harassment.
“Fake” - a word we hear a lot nowadays. The proliferation of fake news, paired with the allegations that real news is fake, leads to a lot of people not knowing what is fake and what is real. Orson Welles’ (1975) film acts as a harbinger for the ubiquity of fakeness in the 21st century and deals in themes that are highly relevant in today’s times.
Welles, as a character in the F for Fake and its narrator, says Elmyr is the second greatest faker of all time. So does that mean Welles is the biggest faker? He did fool the country with War of the Worlds and shows off his chops as a magician. Or is this film, or film in general, the biggest faker?
I understood the film to mean that we are all fake, at least in some respects. We are all trying to pull an Elmyr and get one over on other people, the world, and even ourselves. Elmyr says that when his paintings hang in museums for long enough, they become real. In other words, it’s all about perception. If something is perceived as real, then it’...
As the final project for Jan Holmevik's doctoral seminar, we were required to produce a creative Konsult in the form of a film that would intervene in a problem or public policy issue that is of significance to us. A Konsult, according to theorist Gregory Ulmer, is to the present-day EmerAgency (the collective of electrate agents) what dialogue was to the ancient Greek Academy. My film focuses on the ways women accidentally "bully" other women. My goal was to share the stories of women who have been called names or labeled in ways that are hurtful by other women.
I have been a yogi for almost fifteen years and have been instructing for eight. This video, created with discarded footage showcases my struggles with inversions, which have been a focus of my practice for the past three or so years.
For one of my doctoral seminars, our assignment was to create a video that would produce some kind of social change. Since it was Domestic Violence Awareness month, I chose that as my topic. This video shares the story of Amy and Sandy Huckabee, told by her cousin Monica Carter. It is dedicated to all those who have been victims of domestic violence.
I feel I must start by stating that this was the most impactful essay film I have watched yet for this class. I literally cried at one point. Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied (1989) is a film that I found to be near and dear to my heart. One of my best friends is a gay man, and although he is not African-American, he has dealt with many of the issues addressed by the film. As the piece begins, we hear many voices speaking almost completely in unison, but not quite. When I was searching for films I could watch for free on the library databases (thanks Films on Demand), I accidentally typed “tongues united” rather than tongues untied. Realizing I had typed it incorrectly, I corrected my spelling and was able to find the full video. After clicking play, I immediately thought the title must be an intentional anagram, although “untied” is more fitting than “united.”
The film’s story is layered and complex, just as people are layered and complex – the men portrayed within the movie most certainly...
I was initially attracted to Ross McElwee’s Sherman’s March (1986) because of my love for the film Gone With the Wind, which I grew up watching with my grandmother. Essentially, Gone With the Wind is the story of the old south. Growing up, I always felt that many things from world portrayed in the 1939 classic still persist today in South Arkansas. In watching Sherman’s March, it became clear that in the women he meets, McElwee also encounters a plethora of remnants from the old south and Sherman’s actual march to the sea.
The film is set in the Carolinas, portraying scenes ranging from the homes and bedrooms of subjects to country clubs, city streets, and lakes. There is no specified main character – some of the women McElwee meets are self-absorbed and conceited, while others seem melancholy. McElwee, too, seems melancholy in his voiceovers and occasional screen appearances, but then I remind myself that he was dumped at the start of filming. He wants to find the woman who i...
Alienation. Turmoil. Trauma. Chris Marker’s La Jetee (1962) evokes all of these emotions within its post-apocalyptic storyline. Throughout the film, the narrator, Marker himself, discusses experiences of the main character, a prisoner, or “rat,” lorded over by the victors. Aside from his trips backwards and forwards in time, the prisoner’s life is bleak, punctuated only by episodes of physical and mental anguish.
Does the prisoner believe the gruesome things he undergoes were not real? At times it seems as if at least the narrator is unsure whether the prisoner’s experiences are dreams, existential tests, or actual experiments. For example, when the prisoner traveled back in time, were all of his experiences choreographed by the captors or even previously experienced on some level? Did he remember them in some way, as he did his death? Even the woman, in what seems to be foreshadowing, calls him a “ghost.”
Marker’s use of evocative images also makes the viewer feel as if what is happenin...