I made a short documentary on the history of badminton and explored some of the legacies that it has today. One of the things I was most interested in was why badminton was seen as such an “Asian” sport today. It’s 2 minutes and 17 seconds long, with no music, but two voice overs and one interview. I watched Girl Rising, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, Right Footed, and several history documentaries for research. I mostly looked at the Internet Archive for this film.
I think the thing I’m most proud of with this documentary is that I actually filmed it. It was pretty stressful trying to find the time to track down and film my coach and find the resources and time to put it together. All in all, this was my 7th end of year project that I had during this time period and I wish I’d had more time to work on it. I think another thing I struggled with was iMovie, I’m not a huge fan of the application because in order to make an aesthetically pleasing film, you really have to have beautiful cinematography in the first place, and with a historical documentary, you’re really working with found footage. Despite that, I found a way to do side-by-side films and I think it’s a really useful aspect of the program that not a lot of people know about. (Photos also lost my interview footage at first so I spent a few hours stressing out about that and trying to figure out how to get it back.) I wish I also had more media of badminton in the 20th century and before but it hasn’t been a super popular sport until it became part of the olympics in 1992 and so there isn’t really a lot of footage/pictures/art about it online.
In my film I chose to explore the topic of gender in sports. I was interested in this topic because it is something that we have been talking a lot about in my race, class, and gender class at Lick. It is also something that Sydni (the star of my film), and I have had many conversations about, and think the topic is very meaningful. I think a strength in my film is the found footage I used, and everything Sydni had to say. I think a challenge I have is working with sound.
Synopsis: This short documentary tells a condensed version of Youssou Fall’s journey from being a college student in Senegal to beloved wood shop teacher at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. Youssou reveals how he first got involved in woodworking, how he came to Lick, why he believes shops are important, and what his hopes are for the future of the program.
About the film: I decided to make a documentary that told someone’s story who we don’t usually hear. This is important to me because it helps me recognize and use my own privilege to shine light on others who may not have the time or opportunity to share their stories. Additionally, I have a very personal connection to Youssou because I went to his village with him and other classmates last summer to finish building a schoolhouse. Youssou has a unique story that is unknown to many in our community.
My film is about 5 minutes long and was inspired by the interactive style, as it is based on an interview that I prompted. I watched a documentary by __(someone that Ms. Greer recommended)__ about JFK’s assassination. Even though this wasn’t about my topic (which is hard to find), I really liked this film because of the way that B roll was used and how and when the viewer was shown old footage, new footage, and interview footage (this was really relevant to my film). For my found footage, I used film of industrial arts recommended by Ms. Greer from the Internet Archive.
Strengths and Challenges: I believe one of my strengths in this process was having plenty of found and newly filmed footage. I had a lot of footage to choose from. A challenge I encountered was deciding how to trim down Youssou’s story and tell it in 5 minutes. Obviously, I couldn’t use everything, and that selection process was very difficult in terms of content and physical editing.
Title: A Conversation: Pressure, Stereotypes, and Asian Americans
Running Time: 5:20 including Titles and Credits (just a little bit over the 5 min mark)
Music: Perfect Circle – Nujabes
Subject: The subject of this film was how Asian Americans were affected by their identity in education. I wanted to make this film because I had read a lot about the rising Asian American student suicide rate, but still didn’t find the statistics and topic as widespread in the news, which I found kind of intriguing. So I really just wanted to interview my peers at Lick-Wilmerding because I think it would be interesting to hear the stories of the people in our very own community while also connecting their stories to a larger context. The style of documentary is mainly interview-based. I tried to use a little bit of the “Expository Documentary” tone in the beginning when I address the audience directly through text.
Reflection: I think one of the strengths of my film is that my interviewees all had interesting things to say, and I was also able to get plenty of footage from them. I think I also attain a wide range of perspectives and insight into my topic. I think one of the challenges is that I wasn’t really able to get much footage outside of interview footage. I think if I were to have more time for this project, I would want to add in more dynamic shots interspersed with my interview shots.
My film is about gentrification, specifically how it affects San Francisco and New York City residents. It is visually told through footage of the Mission murals and San Francisco neighborhoods. Currently running as 2 minutes and 9 seconds, the film is pretty short and follows a more poetic documentary style. One of the films I watched in preparation was called “Exit Through the Giftshop” about street art and how fake the art world can be. I watched this because it was recommended to me by one of the people who helped me out with this project, but it turned out to be really helpful in seeing how to film artwork well and how to incorporate those shots into a larger story. I ended up using some footage from YouTube as well as some voices from interviews online.
I think one of the challenges with making a documentary is that you kind of have to be prepared for anything. There’s not really a lot of preproduction to it so you end up shaping your film after the footage you get. I didn’t expect my film to get this deep, but after going through all the content that I had, it just became how it became. And I guess that’s what I like most about it; it is genuine and is shaped around something that’s very real and close to me.
My film is called Women in the Workforce. It examines women working, especially in business and law, and also focuses on women in leadership positions and the pay gap. This subject matters to me as a young woman who will be entering the work force one day. I took a women’s history class this past fall and we learned about women in the workforce, so I wanted to expand my knowledge and apply it more to today and to my own experience. For this reason, most of my footage is of my mom and some of her colleagues at her law firm. I was inspired by the documentary Hoop Dreams, because I love how personal that movie is with the footage it has, but my film is mostly inspired by Miss Representation, a documentary which explores the way women are portrayed in the media. I like the way that that film includes lots of facts, along with interviews and found footage. I think my film could have included more found footage, but it was often hard to find footage that could apply well to my film. All of my footage was found on archive.org or YouTube. I also had trouble finding music that worked well, and while I think the music I have is good, it could have been better. A strength of my film is the interviews. I asked really good questions and had lots of good responses from many people, and these responses are definitely the heart of the film. My process of creating the film was hectic because I had a general idea but not a specific one so I shot all my footage and gathered found footage before I even had outlined my film. This made it difficult to decide which route to take, but I did a lot of research and had many good options of footage and facts to put in the film because of it.
This is my Cuba documentary which features interviews with people I met in Havana, Cuba. I asked them what they think of Cuban government and of Americans in Cuba. Making this video has helped me to consider what I know about with America’s connections to other countries. Before going to Cuba, I really did not know much about it. I arrived eager to learn more about it and the more conversations I had with people who live there or grew up there, the more interested I became. I feel like it is important to share my interest in this with others which is why I made this video. The running time is 5:19 which I know is slightly over the time limit, but the last 20 seconds is really just a funny clip that I thought was a fun way to end my video. The music is a song I found that really captured the kind of old-time feel of Havana. The hardest part of making this video was actually the sound clip editing. I found that you cannot edit them on iMovie, so I had to import them to GarageBand and piece the clips together and then when putting each recording on iMovie I found that the sound levels were very different on each of them. Some of them had a lot of street noise and some of them were just quiet. Finding a balance was very difficult. I think one of my film’s strengths is the people who I talked to. They have very unique stories and are not just people I saw on the street, but I made meaningful connections with them and in fact I am still in contact with them. The slow motion videos were taken on the streets of Havana in all kinds of neighborhoods. Our tour led us to the richest and the poorest parts of Havana and I think this video reflects that.
The title of this short documentary is Dogs. It is based on my interest in dogs. It also follows some of the thoughts I have about dog ownership. I love dogs and I think they are wonderful creatures. For a documentary style, I started out with a poetic style, but began to freeform as I began adding more images.
For strengths, I like the video that begins the film. I found it on archive.org after spending 10 minutes searching through bad video footage. I enjoyed that video and included it. For weaknesses, I think I could have found better footage of my dogs if I spent more time searching on my computer or phone. Also, the editing was a little sparse. And my voice sounds kind of nasally (allergies…).
I was also inspired by the documentaries Dogs decoded and Dogs and their Secret Lives.
My documentary is titled “Why Do We Laugh?” In the three minute documentary I explore some of the benefits of laughter in our everyday lives as well as conduct and interview with my classmate, Jeremy Yan. Laughter matters to me, because in a world where stress is an ever present factor in our lives, I personally believe that laughter is the best medicine. I cannot imagine a life without laughter, and hopefully you won’t want to after watching my documentary. To prepare for making this film, I watched several documentaries where comedians described their ability to make people laugh. Not a single comedian could genuinely explain how to be funny, and they all said it was just a natural emotion. It is important to indulge in that natural emotion in our lives and their is strong research to back that up.
When Making the documentary, some challenges occurred as a result of only having one camera, and several different angles to film. As a result, after conducting the entire interview from one angle, I would conduct the same interview again from another angle. I had to ask Jeremy to keep his answers relatively similar each time. I think one of the strengths of my doc is the opening, The entire year I have been struggling with opening my projects with titles, so I decided to move the title past the beginning clips to really dive right into the film and get people interested.
My favorite trip while taking Bay Area Cinema were the trips to the Castro Theatre. I actually had never been to the Castro Theater anf it was awesome to see something so historical and cool for the first time. The film we watched at the Castro Theater “The Dark Corner.” however I was not the biggest fan of due to some the sexism, and lack of people of color, but just being in the Castro Theater was a great experience and was even better when we went to listen to members of Aardman Animations.
Another experience I enjoyed a lot was when we got to listen the Aardman Animations co-founder Peter Lord. I really enjoyed listening to the growth of his company and brand of film. I also learned a lot about developing an idea for a film.
I really enjoyed learning about animation, and making my first animation film. I think this is something that I would love to get into more in the future using some of the advice that and knowledge I used from Peter Lord.