May 19, 2014

The Kinsey Institute Debate

The Kinsey Institute Debate

by Dan Finn

In class we recently took sides in class over the resolution, "The Kinsey Institute should make the works in its Film Archive more accessible to researchers. As part of this exercise I chose the negative position which was at the time of choosing underrepresented, although it is not what I would call my opinion. However in thinking about this I realized I see more in cultural conservatism than I had imagined.

The resolution was formulated in response to a circumstance in which the scholar Linda Williams could not take home an access copy of a unique title in terms of its apparent rarity and its potential to offend. She was able to access it onsite, again in this instance she could not take it home. Though still in the afterglow of our honeymoon phase with on-demand streaming services competing for our moving image attentions, this type of access cannot translate to archival settings for a variety of reasons.

In terms of the Kinsey Institute, some of the issues arise given the content and position of the archive in general. During her speech that was provided to the class, Liana Zhou, the Director of Libraries and Archives at the Kinsey Institute, states how the institute has historically faced cultural, social, economic, and political opposition in a number of ways. A director of archives of an institution with a collection of sexual material must respect the potential for such interventions. Our current economic climate is unfriendly to culture and cultural heritage institutions when it comes to funding. Sexuality (or subsets thereof) has been and is currently politicized to a large extent. Such overarching forces need to be considered when (dis)allowing access to controversial archival materials. If a moving image cannot be properly contextualized, any number of things can be misconstrued during a screening. In the case of Linda Williams, she wanted to take home a DVD copy of "KKK Night Riders," which features a simulated group sexual assault of a black woman by KKK members. With such an extreme case the archive should be able to implement restrictive policies. Without contextualization, the intent of the archive can be misunderstood. Is the film saved because Kinsey Institute condones the behavior depicted, or is it preserved as evidence of a specific cultural moment in time and space?

While it is unlikely Williams would have been able to turn the DVD copy into a viral video had she tried, and also very unlikely that she would have tried, it is still a risk the stewards of the collection need to account for. Allowing access in an uncontrolled environment of such material is dangerous not only by causing offense to those that otherwise might engage in a discussion of the material in a more controlled setting, but also effectively removes control of the collection out of the hands of its stewards. One of the most essential aspects of providing access to any work is providing some kind of means to make the work intelligible. Part of this intelligibility for challenging material has to be rationales for its preservation and discussions of why it is challenging. I believe, not only because they expressly and legally do, but also philosophically that the Kinsey Institute should be able to exercise their prerogative to deny certain types of access when the material in question is of such an extreme nature.

Archivist / Curator / Record Label

Archivist / Curator / Record Label

by Dan Finn

My thesis, part of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) requirements, investigates the preservation of digital materials from independent record labels (audio, artwork, documentation, etc). The rhetoric of the conclusion is largely indebted to the concepts introduced to me in Paolo Cherchi Usai's "Charter of Curatorial Values" (Film Curatorship, eds. Usai et al, pp. 146-160). The debt comes from his discussions on the overlap between archivist and curator, and more widely his statement on the role of History (capital H) as curator.

Usai states how there is overlap between the functions of archivists and curators and that their roles are complementary. Both must "collect, preserve, and make accessible a collection" (147). In each case choices are made to actively pursue some content and not others.

Discussing the rationale for preservation and acquisition selections, Usai states a very eloquent formulation of a notion that troubles archivists, curators, and others in 'the archival community' everywhere and always. "History is the most selective, powerful, and often unforgiving curator of the cultural heritage (through a series of events ranging from cultural trends and economic influences to wars, genocides, and natural catastrophes) what posterity will have an opportunity to experience and what will be bound to disappear forever" (154). Aware that s/he is one facet of this historical horizon, the curator "has the responsibility to decide what should be preserved first" (154). In carrying out this responsibility, the curator must "make informed choices within a body of work so vast as to require a hierarchical approach to their treatment" (154).

As such in the context of my writing I would locate the independent record label owner as being a curator that (often) operates without the complement of an archivist. The label makes selections out of a vast body of potential releases and bands to create a collection of releases that either purposely or not ends up being representational of a certain time, region, genre, etc. They collect and make accessible, but preservation is largely incidental. As a result in my conclusion I try to leverage this curatorial and archival responsibility to act as one of the first lines of History's curatorial work. Passively engaging or altogether ignoring preservation leaves a label's material susceptible to a digital oblivion. Why not fight History's power and see the work you have selected live on a little longer?

Orphans Film Symposium trailer

When Dan offered the opportunity to our Curating class to make a trailer for the Orphans 9 film symposium, I jumped at it. Making a trailer for a film festival about orphan works whose theme this year was obsolescence felt like an interesting way to approach some of the ideas we were discussing in class. Plus, I knew the venue for this year’s Orphans, the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam, would be passing on some material to work with, which sounded intriguing.

My first stab at a trailer was working with early 1900’s film footage of Dutch girls smiling at the camera that had been preserved, digitized and provided by EYE. The trailer wasn't what we were looking for and ended up on the cutting room floor. (I later would go back to these girls and create a trailer with a much different feeling that would screen at Orphans.) After swinging and missing on the first try, I went back to the drawing board for an entirely different approach. Deciding to focus more on the video and digital aspects of obsolescence rather than the film qua film ones, I started a search at the ever-useful Internet Archive for the term ‘obsolescence.’ There were not a great number of results but enough to spend some time digging through and, ultimately, plenty for making a short trailer. The entire trailer, except for two clips, is comprised of audio and video material gathered from the Internet.

The trailer was edited on Final Cut Pro in a 1080p HD sequence with a 16:9 aspect ratio at 24 fps. Most of the source material was in standard definition video with a 4:3 aspect ratio at NTSC standard frame rate. To edit the source material into my FCP sequence required me to use software to convert the frame rate to 24 fps and up-res the video to a 1080 pixel width. But, in order to keep from distorting the source material’s 4:3 aspect ratio I had to up-res to a non-standard 1440 pixel width and leave black bars along side the image, or pillarbox it.  

I will now go through the trailer shot-by-shot and discuss the source material for both the video and audio clips.

Opening shot:

This clip comes from the show Computer Chronicles. This 30min show ran on PBS from 1983-2002 and covered various aspects of the personal computer industry, focusing on the most recent technological advances. Almost all of the episodes of Computer Chronicles have been made available on the Internet Archive, which is where I found this episode. It is licensed under Creative Commons License 2.0.

According to the Internet Archive this episode is titled “Optical Storage”. Since all of the episodes are hosted on the Internet Archive, it seems to have become the de facto authority on this show. There is little other information about it readily available and WorldCat search leads me to believe little to nothing has been written about the show. Another website,, claims to have “a document detailing every episode of the Computer Chronicles including season and broadcast information” complied by series creator Stuart Cheifet. Indeed, in this document there is a listing for episode number 715 from the seventh season (1989/1990) titled Optical Storage. This date corroborates the episode description on the Internet Archive:

As we entered the 1990's, the big technology news was the move from magnetic storage to optical storage. It was the year of multimedia and the CD-ROM. This program looks at several applications including Grolier Encyclopedia, PC Globe, Headstart III, PC Splash, The Listening Booth, USA Travel, PLV, the NEC Portable CD-ROM CDR-35, the Sony rewritable optical disc Drive SMO-S501, and the video laser disc application "Advanced Combat Trauma Life Support". Also a look at the CD Interactive (CDI) and Digital Video Interactive (DVI) platforms. Originally broadcast in 1990.

I used eight seconds from this episode for the first shot in the trailer. The first four seconds have the original, synced audio. The audio for the following four seconds, inserted when the guest Richard Enriquez starts talking about CD-ROM, is the sound of a record needle being placed on a record album, followed by static. The audio file was downloaded here, and is licensed under Creative Commons License 0.

The second shot in the trailer uses a clip provided by EYE:

This clip is the trailer that EYE, back when it was known simply as the Netherlands Film Museum, would run at the beginning of their screenings. My understanding is that it would also be placed before any film works that they had helped preserve. The clip appears to be originally from a 16mm film, but is has obviously been transferred to video (likely U-Matic or VHS) before being digitized. This can be known because of the head switching noise seen at the bottom of the picture. What is often considered a technical transfer mistake and an aesthetically displeasing artifact is in this case a wonderful example of different obsolete formats poking through our slick digital image. This 15-second clip came to me silent. The audio that goes with it in the trailer is the sound of a rotary dial phone being dialed, starting with 1 and going to 9. The audio file was downloaded here and is licensed under Creative Commons License 0.

The third shot in the trailer:

This shot is the title card from a short piece I found on the Internet Archive titled, appropriately, Obsolete Technologies. It is described as “short video about early motion picture technologies” and contains original footage of various motion picture technologies as well as a soundtrack playing from a functioning phonograph cylinder player, which we also see footage of. The production credits list “planet E productions, inc./dir. M. Ersoz.” There is no license associated with it and I downloaded here. I used 4 seconds of this clip for the trailer and removed the original audio. I replaced it with the sound of a “computer connecting to the Internet with AOL using a dial-up modem.” This audio file was downloaded here and is licensed under Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0.

The fourth shot:

The next shot in the film also come from Computer Chronicles. It is the opening of episode 113 “Storage Devices” from May 7, 1984, sped up to 466%. As is noticeable from this still, the clip has a serious tracking issue and something other technical problem causing the video to jump. This is how it came when I downloaded it from the Internet Archive. Similar to the head switching noise in the old Netherlands Film Museum trailer, what would normally be the mistake of a bad transfer is a welcome artifact in this trailer. The clips runs for a little fewer than four seconds and the audio is a continuation of the dial-up modem sound from the previous shot. The official title on the Internet Archive is “Storage Devices (5/7/1984)” and the episode description is:

Floppy drives, hard drives, and bubble memory. Guests: Al Shugart, Seagate; Frank Sordello, Memorex; Gary Kildall, DRI. Products/Demos: 5 ¼ inch floppy drive, 3 ½ inch floppy drive, RCA CED videodisk, 3680 1.2 GB spindle disk.

There is no licensing associated with the clip.

The fifth shot in the trailer:

I downloaded this clip from the Internet Archive but I can’t find it again! I tried all my keyword searches again but simply cannot find this clip. This makes a good example for why it is just as important to archive metadata along with actual data. (UPDATE: The clip has been found. Actually, Dan Streible found it by searching for the terms “living forever”. I had searched “obsolescence”, “obsolete death”, even “extropianism”, all to no avail.) This clip is from G4TV and has no metadata to go with it, not even a publication/broadcast date. This is really illustrating some of the weak points of the Internet Archive! It can be viewed and downloaded here.  Anyway, I used the original synced audio, which runs for about six seconds. The first three seconds are the original video. The following three seconds, and the sixth shot, is a creepy looking Dutch guy smoking a pipe that was part of the original Dutch Girls footage provided by EYE, slowed down to 22%:

The seventh shot in the trailer is another opening from Computer Chronicles. This time it is from the same episode as the opening clip of the trailer, episode 715 from 1990. The clip runs about eight seconds and it at its original speed:

The audio under this clip is a continuation of the dial-up modem sound from the third shot in the trailer.

The following shot is a 12 second long montage of the shiny, iridescent sides of CD-ROM and laser disc. It is comprised of 15 different clips that I edited together and sped up to 630%. The clips all come from three Computer Chronicles episodes that I found on the Internet Archive. One of the 15 clips comes from episode 113 whose opening was used in the fourth shot of the trailer. 10 of the clips come from episode 312 “Optical Storage Devices” which aired on November 19, 1985. I downloaded it here. The episode description:

A look at the newest mass storage devices including the compact disc ROM. Guests: Tim Oren, Activenture; Fred Lloyd, Information Storage; Bob Kalthoff, Access; Ed Schmid, DEC; Dave Davies, 3MGary Kildall, Digital Research; George Morrow, Morrow Computing. Products/Demos: Activenture Knowledge Retrieval System, Information Storage WO Drive, Encyclopedia on a Disk, ISI Worm Disk, Digital Equipment CD-ROM Drive.

The four remaining clips in the montage come from an episode titled “Lasers and Computers (1/14/1985)” on the Internet Archive. I cannot find this episode in the episode list I have been using for episode numbers. This goes to show the poor state of the cataloging of the Computer Chronicles series. I am inclined to think the date on Internet Archive is correct since it is so specific, but there is no way for me to confirm that at the moment. Also, the Internet Archive, as I mentioned earlier, seems to function as the de facto (though incomplete) archive of the Computer Chronicles series. (Though, is there such thing as a ‘complete’ archive?) Anyway, I downloaded it here. The episode description:

Laser disks and optical storage devices are changing the way we can use computers. Guests: Jeff Tully, Pioneer Video; Vladimir Langer, Sony; Rick Dyer, RDI Video Systems; Jay Eagle, Proton Corp.; Gary Kildall, DRI. Products/Demos: Pioneer Laser Disc Player, Astron Belt, Halcyon Home Entertainment Sys, Vidlink.

The audio under the montage is a continuation of the dial-up modem sound from the third shot in the trailer. A shot from the montage:

The final two clips in the trailer also come from Computer Chronicles. Both come from episode 715 “Optical Storage”, also used in the opening of the trailer. Both clips have their original synced audio.

Shot 9:

Shot 10:

The Ophans 9 logo in the credits was created by NYU Tisch School of the Arts faculty David Bagnall:

David also created a great Orphans trailer that can be viewed/downloaded here.

The EYE logo/trailer was created and provided by EYE:

The audio the runs under these clips and the rest of the credits is an:

Error Dial Answering Machine Telephone Line External Recording "We're sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again" German, French, Italian and English language.

It was downloaded here and is licensed under Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0.

The entire trailer can be viewed and downloaded here.

The other Orphans trailer using the Dutch Girls footage can be viewed and downloaded here.

May 17, 2014

Weighing in on the Kinsey Institute Debate

My argument below is a reinforcement of the following resolution, which was recently posited to the class: "The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University should make the work in its Film Archive more accessible to researchers."

Most problematic about the limitations on the extent to which scholars can access the works of the Kinsey Institute's Film Archive is the fact that they give Kinsey employees free reign to maintain an identity entirely independent from Indiana University, in spite of it having existing offices at that very location. Though it is true enough that the enforcement of the Institute's current policy is (mostly) justifiable from a preservationist perspective, an amendment to said policy is most obviously needed in order to, at the very least, bolster the historical research of the university's resident Film Studies students. 
The principles of a strict upholding of preservational strategy can be maintained if, adjusting policy stipulations accordingly, the Institute's director would deem researchers, serious-minded film journalists, scholars and other individuals who can deliver proof of their qualification were to be exempt from the inaccessibility of original film prints for research. From a practical standpoint, the institute's current two-week notice policy1 in regards to requesting film prints for research is not conducive to the deadline-driven schedule that most people interested in the Institute's resources would live out day-to-day. It seems inevitable that complications would arise from the number of people competing to reserve a print to view, and politics no doubt enter the equation when a decision must be made about whose access takes precedence over another's. 

If unwilling or able to grant unmitigated access to the archives for scholars and other individuals who can make a case to be authorized, the Institute's director, Julia R. Heiman, should, at the bare minimum, resolve students and faculty's lack of intimacy with original prints with more frequent programming that can be overseen by the Institute's employees. Moving toward a fulfillment of the Institute's archives' academic promise, programming should become the rule, not the exception2.

Perhaps it fitting to ask: should courses or theses directly dependent upon unmitigated access to the resources of the archive be vetted by employees at the beginning of each University of Indiana Film Studies student's semester? Further, by limiting access, is the Institute's preservationist bent flying in the face of interdisciplinary practices? Should the Institute be mindful of imposing its protocol on University of Indiana students taking courses on, say, human sexuality, sociology or psychology, who may or may not be concerned with the integrity of a film print so long as their research materials' presentation is simply visible? To all of these, my answer is yes. 

Although preservational concerns, which mostly address the Institute's understandably protective stance in regards to the integrity of its archival prints' physical condition, are undeniably of importance, common sense amendments to the aforementioned policy can honor these concerns while increasing access. To relegate the Kinsey Institute's prints to hermetic isolation is to do them a far greater disservice than placing them in the various hands of researchers of different professional and academic backgrounds ever would. 


1.) "The Kinsey Institute - [Libraries & Special Collections]." The Kinsey Institute. The Kinsey Institute. Web. <>.

2.) Rosen, Stephen. "Kinsey Institute Still a Touchy Subject." Los Angeles Times, 30 Dec. 2010. Web. <>. Note: My argument for increased frequency of programming for IU students and faculty at the Kinsey Institute is, in part, a counter to Kinsey's director of library and archives Liana Zhou's "preference" to "not really [offer] regular programming" in the article cited here. 

Maxwell L. Weinstein

On Jaimie Baron's Discussion of (In)appropriation

Jamie Baron's Skype session with our class on April 9, 2014 raised some pertinent questions about the proliferation of appropriative film culture: When something is being repurposed, at what point does "past" become "history"? How much time needs to go by before it is acceptable to repurpose various forms of multimedia? As Baron's selections from past years of her 2009-founded Festival of (In)appropriation demonstrate, these questions can be answered and explored, from a curatorial perspective, in more ways than one. 

One standout selection from the festival's 2009 inaugural line-up was Tasman Richardson's The Game (2007), which is described in a director's statement from Richardson as follows: "A world of remote control warfare, hyper-reality, and military crafted video games for recruitment. Emilio Estevez, Matthew Broderick and even Burroughs join in. All edits are strictly JAWA style, a.k.a. what you see is what you hear and the edits are 100% responsible for the rhythm and melody. Nothing added and nothing synched. Most importantly, this is done entirely with manual cut and paste and layering. No triggers, no shortcuts. Pure JAWA." Richardson's emphasis on his own self-designed JAWA style, which is concerned primarily with direct audio-visual connections between repurposed source materials, implicates his 3 minute and 53 second short in a greater, more sweeping discourse about mash-ups, remixes and other forms of media appropriation that Baron's festival incites. 

That the name JAWA, in and of itself, constitutes an act of appropriation (being derived from that of the creatures of George Lucas' Star Wars, whose mode of survival is the re-wiring of old forms of technology) is perhaps what Baron deemed especially fitting for our class's entry point into the mission and vision of the festival. Furthermore, the film aligns itself with young characters (Emilio Estevez's J.J. Cooney and Matthew Broderick's David Lightman) whose respective films (Nightmares [1983] and WarGames [1983]) situate them in a world in which the emergence of new technologies carries many social and political implications. Baron's choice of The Game underscores a thematic tension between the film's appropriation of source material of and/or about the innocuous-seeming subculture of video gaming and its appropriation of clips depicting the markedly more serious events of military combat and training. The film's (in)appropriation, then, might be determined by the extent to which Richardson chooses to suggest that the two aforementioned appropriated materials are inherently linked. The Cold War commentary of a film like WarGames, here, seems hardly incidental, given the context Richardson and Baron's festival has afforded audiences.

Because Nightmares and WarGames are reflective of an era that made spectacle of now laughably outdated technologies (such as the IMSAI micro-computer), Richardson's recontextualization of their audio-visual components allows for a satirical critique on the trivialization of real world warfare by foregrounding their retroness. Blips, bleeps and other dated computerized noises comprise the rhythmic thrust of the film, and answer the question posed in my opening observations thusly: past becomes history when time has rendered its mass media fit for aestheticization, and, in turn, criticism. 

Baron's festival and her discussion of the wide-ranging implications one can derive from the ambiguous term, (in)appropriation, put the spotlight on a subculture essential to the analytic and artistic progression of post-modernist aesthetics. With the curatorial efforts of Baron, Lauren Berliner, and Greg Cohen, a vital friction, between old media and fresh perspectives imparted upon said media to shape and reshape its myriad meanings, is made increasingly apparent. 

Maxwell L. Weinstein

May 15, 2014

What if you could CURATE the search engine results when someone googled your name?

Couldn't help but be a little amused by another fresh-from-the-headlines reminder of how much the word curating has infiltrated the English language. A legal scholar's op-ed in today's New York Times invoked the term when referring to the European court ruling in Google v. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos. (An interesting case, worth reading about, curating moving images aside.)

We started the semester with a microclip from Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls:

Here the girls and boy are actually talking about the art world, where curators traditionally reside. What I didn't know at the time was what reported on March 15, 2012:  "To coincide with the premiere of her new HBO show Girls on April 15, Dunham has joined forces with BAM to curate a program of eight films entitled 'Hey Girlfriend.' She's chosen some pretty cool films and has gotten some pretty cool guest [sic] to show up. . . ."  Cool. Blogs quoted the BAMcinématek press released, which quoted the first-time film curator saying "I'm thrilled to work with BAM to curate a series of films with this kind of scope and insight into girl-on-girl action."

Now of course we see the c word used in all kinds of ways, casual and otherwise. Exhibits A and B, these trade press books.

A CNBC commentator recently nailed it in his complaint about this season's overused words.
Curate. Curating used to be a word we only used in museums. Somewhere in the last year 'curate' has morphed into a word people are using anytime they pick something and want to sound like it's more than just picking something. "Our musicologist will now curate you a playlist that's perfect for your evening playing Yahtzee." "The travel itinerary was carefully curated to help you avoid other Americans." It's great we're respecting the lost art of the mix tape, thank you. But unless you put that Picasso on the wall, you didn't curate. -- Brian Sullivan, "Hack This Conversation," March 5, 2014.
And here's an excerpt from the op-ed in question, Jonathan Zittrain's "Don’t Force Google to ‘Forget,'New York Times, May 14, 2014.
The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that Europeans have a limited “right to be forgotten” by search engines like Google. According to the ruling, an individual can compel Google to remove certain reputation-harming search results that are generated by Googling the individual’s name.
. . . . What if search engine companies were to think more creatively about how such searches might work? In 2007, Google admirably experimented in this area . . .  If search engines allowed for such comments generally, they might be able to give you more influence over the information about you online — without giving you the power to censor. Perhaps querying someone’s name would result in an initial page of search results in which some form of curating was permitted for people sharing that name; the subsequent pages of results would provide the unvarnished material that a regular search now generates.
Seems that a word that recently found liberal (and illiberal) use in the vernacular has curiously re-migrated back into the studied vocabulary of this Harvard professor, but unironically retained its vernacular sense.

Perhaps the curating of everything is just a passing fad. Perhaps the word has absorbed this 'whatever' usage for the foreseeable future. Or, perhaps, this irony will continue to be noted by the ironists among us -- as when used scare quotes thusly in its 2013 headline Usher To "Curate" Macy's 4th Of July Fireworks, and in its caption for this photo of the artist:

This is a picture of Usher "curating" fireworks. (Courtesy of Macy's)

We live in a curated culture where this advertisement --

-- co-exists with this great explanation of film curating by MoMA's Jenny He (for!)

Selection, arrangement, juxtaposition, contextualization, presentation.


May 13, 2014


Last Friday May 9th I attended the student documentary showcase from the 2013-2014 Video Production Seminar presented by the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Cinema Studies, and the Program in Culture and Media at New York University.
The documentary showcase consisted of nine short films running from 10-20 minutes long, and produced, edited, directed and written by each student in the program. As a candidate in the Culture and Media program, I was interested in seeing what I should prepare for next year as I embark on the documentary production part of the course. At the end of the event I was excited, and very impressed by the works of all the students, as well as began to feel the pressure of having to meet the high standards set by this talented group of documentary makers.
The event, probably due to logistical issues, was long and with a short intermission after the screening of five short documentaries, which was unfortunate because there was not much time left for the Q&As that were conducted after every screening. It also made it hard for everyone in the audience to be able to stay until the end. However, for the group of us that stayed, it was worth the while, especially because the environment was very welcoming, and friendly and the students, and professors were open to engage in conversation after the show.
The Culture and Media program is a two-year program that is part dedicated to the theory and study of media and ethnographic film, and the second part consists of the production of a documentary from an anthropological perspective. The series opened with a short documentary by Anna Green (Cinema Studies), which was a lovely portrait of a pizza place in Green Point, Brooklyn that has survived as a local home, and restaurant in for the community, and is still surviving in this gentrifying area. The documentaries varied from cinema-vérité style portraits, such as Zoe Graham’s The Regulars, which is about a waitress at a local diner who is a peculiar and entertaining character, and provides a home outside of home for the people in the area. To a beautifully shot, sensory experience in the style of Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab about the hazardous, and intricate production process of the street manhole covers in NYC made by hardworking, and unfairly paid Indian men (Natasha Suresh Raheja, Cast in India).
The style and subject of these documentaries varied in form, structure, aesthetic, and subject, this is mainly due to the flexibility of the professors who run the program, and their emphasis in allowing the student filmmakers to create their own style by finding their own voice. This made for a diverse, engaging, and rich watching experience, and the works stand as prove of how there is no one right recipe in art or in this case in particular documentary practice. These works show us or remind us of the variety of ways that documentary can speak to a wide range of issues, and concerns through different perspectives and angles without compromising the quality, and value of their subject(s).
The curatorial aspect of the event was well done besides the unfortunate issue of having to showcase all of these works on the same night, or without having much time for discussion after every screening. However, being able to see the works in consecutive order was important to the mission and goal of the program in showing the diversity, and range of subjects that the students are allowed, and encouraged to explore. Perhaps a longer day for the event with some more room for discussion with the filmmakers about their work, or including a panel discussion moderated by a professor making the showcase closer to the style of a symposium than just the screening of the documentaries might be more enriching? Either way, this was a worthwhile, and inspiring experience, and I look forward to begin the adventure of making my own documentary!

by Ximena Amescua

Docs on the Edge website and program: