This section describes a way of doing research through filmmaking and as such it is concerned with data gathering as well as analysis and theory making. The main aim of the book is to provide practical help as we connect theoretical ideas and technical considerations to the task of ethnographic filmmaking. In this first section, I describe two techniques that help define filmmaking as a research practice and demonstrate how these can be applied to the most common filming situations found in processes, testimonies and events. This will help readers to practice the foundational elements of cinema craft that are outlined in this book in situations similar to those they might discover in the field. We then look at how other filmmakers have used collaborative, observational, reflexive and expressive methods to produce a core of approaches that can be refashioned to suit your own research subjects. Finally, a discussion of ethics and good practice is central to any endeavour that frames the lives of other people and exposes their vulnerabilities.
This section looks at what is required to ensure the success of a film project before one arrives on location. A written proposal deepens our engagement with a subject area and helps to tackle the obstacles that commonly threaten to derail a filmmaking and research journey. Due to lengthy production schedules and the limited funds available to research projects, hiring equipment can be unpractical, so ethnographic filmmakers tend to favour lightweight gear that can be carried easily and is affordable to own. In this section, we consider how to find the equipment most suitable for your project and how to practice using it with all the manual functions that help to create high quality images and sounds.
This section looks at how to apply techniques for gathering image and sound on location to serve the core ideas discussed in section one. However, before technical matters I address the fundamental skill of establishing good fieldwork relationships and maintaining a rapport with research participants to ensure your documentary project remains viable. Filmmaking for research purposes relies on a variety of recorded material that covers both the demands of cinematic grammar and those of theoretical analysis. Alongside technical advice about operating a camera and sound devices, I have included a discussion of working in situations that commonly present an opportunity for a filmmaker to gather important material, such as processes, discussions, journeys, performances, reflexive moments and major events. I encourage filmmakers to begin by working in small crews, in order to gather hands-on experience in the specific technical requirements of high quality image and sound recording. A dedicated sound and camera team will ensure the highest standards of cinematographic craft but it will also help you to develop confidence when working solo, which for most researchers becomes their modus operandi
This section describes storytelling as an integral part of the ongoing research process, as well as a means to reach cinematic expression. The focus is on the practical stages involved in an entire post-production workflow but this also involves a degree of understanding about human perception and expression and in particular the way that humans comprehend time and space. Here we discuss how recorded material is put to work through the narrating of a film, in order to extend an understanding of fieldwork, especially in terms of affect, bodily sense and experience. The opportunities that exist in broadcast television for documentary are well defined before a film is made but a research film is in a constant state of evolution right up until the final cut. In order to select a mode of storytelling and the cutting techniques that suit a project one must employ carefully positioned feedback screenings of work-in-progress and develop the ability to receive editorial advice.
This section discusses when it might be appropriate to write about your filmmaking. Typically a written statement will help a researcher to elaborate on methodology, ethics or personal and descriptive aspects of their ethnography that have escaped the confines of a film. A short written statement such as this will help peer-reviewers of on-line video journals assess the unique contribution that your film can make to an area of study. Also in this section, the role of film festivals and distributers in getting your film out to a wider audience is assessed, as well as some of the pitfalls that may be encountered along the way.
The facts that the UN and other similar inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) are operational and that their decisions affect the lives of millions, have led to greater demands for accountability of IGOs and access to justice for victims when they have caused. This chapter looks at how the primary and secondary rules of international law are upheld in different forms and mechanisms of accountability, including courts. The inadequacies of the International Court of Justice as a constitutional court have led to victims seeking justice before regional and national courts. The chapter explores the practicalities of accountability both at an institutional level and at a more local level. It concludes with an examination as to how far the UN has evolved in terms of accountability for wrongs committed by those working for it by considering sexual abuse committed by peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The first tentative indications that times were changing came in the 1960s and, more particularly, the 1970s. The sustained civil rights protests of these years contributed to growing interest by scholars in examining the strategies of protest and accommodation adopted by African Americans in earlier periods. The daily lives of black slaves in the antebellum South became an especial focus for academic study. Historian Daniel Leab's line of enquiry typified what by the 1980s had become a dominant trend in studies by cultural historians, namely to explore the origins, character and significance of stereotyped depictions of African Americans in US popular culture. The 1990s saw both rapid and unprecedented developments in the academic study of popular culture. In part this interest can be seen as reflecting the cult of celebrity that enveloped the leading stars of sport, music, film and television entertainment at the close of the century.
Israel has been made an alibi for a new climate of antisemitism on the left. Much of the animus directed at Israel is of a plainly antisemitic character. It relies on anti-Jewish stereotypes. This can be shown with near mathematical precision; in this article, Geras endeavours to show it by discussing four forms of the Israel alibi phenomenon. The first form is the impulse to treat such of the antisemitism as there is acknowledged to be as a pure epiphenomenon of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The second form is the plea that antisemitism should not be ascribed to anyone without evidence of active hatred of Jews on their part; without some clear sign of antisemitic intent. Gunter Grass's poem may serve to introduce a third form of alibi antisemitism that is rhetorical status of Israel. The fourth and final alibi phenomenon relates to the climate of complicity in Israel.
In his chapter from Josh McPhee’s important exhibition and book Paper Politics (2009) about socially and politically engaged printmaking in the US, artist and activist Eric Triantafillou takes his cue from street art in San Francisco’s Mission District and raises pertinent questions about the role of such art in a society that ‘only claims to be democratic’ (288). He asks what a truly political art might mean today, especially when such art is frequently appropriated by the system that it itself criticises. It then becomes a mere ‘aesthetic commodity’ (289).
After discussing America's historical and relationship with the screen, this chapter considers the broad political role played by fictional shows as the US transitioned into a new television age at the start of the twenty-first century. The examples drawn upon to begin to unpick the interweaving of America's politics and television are Friends and House of Cards. Through the twentieth century, America's political narratives were (re-)told and contested on the screen. The chapter reflects on the happenstance of Hollywood. Hollywood, changing audiences, and the invention of VHS helped to kill off the theatrical model. Television production shifted from New York to Hollywood, as studios realised they could join rather than beat the new medium. In its second golden age, fictional television helps to shape values, identities, and worldviews.