Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Global Advocacy Doc

This film is in competition on LinkTV. This is a good example of a very short advocacy video made by local filmmaker, Salome Chasnoff. She is raising funds to make a longer film and is getting the word out using this short format.

What techniques does the filmmaker use to tell the story?

How would you define the style?

How does this approach address issues of power between the filmmaker, subjects and audience?

12 comments:

  1. I like how the film used extreme close ups when doing interviews with individual people. Especially the interview with the man with AIDS. When he talked the shot was zoomed in on his eyes and it was like you were looking right into his pain. And by looking directly into his eyes, I could sense that he was an intelligent individual, but just didn't have the knowledge to help prevent his disease.
    The style of this film I will say, in my own words, very "film and watch what happens." And what I mean is that the film does not look strategically planned. The camera shots don't look practiced or planned ahead of time. It looks like they pressed record and let the subjects of the film tell the story just by living their lives. I feel it spoke louder than specifically setting up shots or being overly formal about it.
    However, I don't know if the film helped me understand what the people were doing to help prevent AIDS. I wish it would have better illustrated how theatre and music were helping the people become more knowledgeable about AIDS.

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  2. I don’t even know where to begin to define the style except to note that it seems to reflect the lightheartedness of the group it features. It has clear cut segments which are part of a larger piece I needed to watch several times to properly follow. The whole thing has a fun chaotic air which I personally found distracting, but the close ups on faces expressing particularly relevant ideas was very helpful to understanding and following. Chasnoff used wide establishing shots to explain location and situation before the extreme close-ups and yet still felt disestablished. During the shot of the three singers/educators the filmmaker was not eye level and thus undermined the authority of the subjects. This is evident more than once and seemed unintentional contrasted with the apparent comfort most of the subjects engaged in their responses. I feel powerless though, I must admit I’m still quite confused having gathered only that AIDS is an epidemic wasting this area, there are people working to prevent and treat it, and finally there is one group in particular which uses song to spread awareness. Am I an unfocused mess or did anyone else get this feeling?

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  3. At the beginning of the film, to me, was a bit confusing. I didn't really understand what the guy was trying to say about "two things involved" and as he laughed while trying to say something- that made me not take the video too serious at the beginning.
    I really started to see the video when the 3 men who were singing a song were being interviewed. Prior to that, the film, to me seemed like the deleted scenes that usually appear at the end of a jackie chan movie.
    I do like how they use medium-wide shots to show many people present at the theather to learn about HIV/AIDS. I also like how the use close-ups when interviewing a single individual to show their emotion and expression.
    In regards to power, the subjects, I feel, had most of the control. They were the ones being interviewed and they told their story, their way. There werent that many shots in which the camera was pointed down at someone. I like how the video had a lot of close ups but i did find the film a bit distracting and somewhat difficult to understand.

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  4. The above comment was posted by me: CARLOS ACEVEDO.

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  5. It seemed to me that the director was trying to make this piece have more of an informal feel. By introducing the conversation between director and subject, as well as the 'outtakes', the piece brings the audience more inside of what is happening. The subjects were also quite likeable, with a bit of a lightness and humor about them which help alleviate the stress you might feel from the dark disease being discussed.

    Deborah

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  6. This film tells the story by interviewing the people who are within the community. I think that the interviews are very effective because we as viewers aren't relying on the film maker as much to TRY to tell the story of the people. I think as a film maker you try to portray a message or tell a story to the best of your ability and I believe as a film maker its possible to leave out information or misinterpret the life of the people your filming. The interviews allow us to really understand whats going on because we're receiving it first hand from the people who are in the community. The style of this film making is very informative. Even though that these people are millions of miles away from me I can't still find a connection and that is important when trying to deliver a message in any form.

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  7. We hear the filmmaker during a Vox Pop (voice of the people) style interview as he nudges the last subject to perform an improve style description of "two things involved". This unusual and playful style pulls us into the story. It is sometimes difficult to understand the speaker causing the viewer to listen carefully. Subtitles could make this more accessible to a wider audience. The variety of shots and content and the wonderful music and dramatizations are woven together creating a high energy presentation about a group of people with their own agency in educating their community about HIV/Aids. I'm looking forward to reading more comments!

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  8. I agree with most of the comments here. I still don't know what the "two things involved" are. The director's or editor's use of different camera angles captivated my attention, but I thought the beginning and end were dysfunctional in a sense. Was the purpose of this video to highlight the AIDS activism group or was it to leave us with a statement about AIDS awareness. I think it was more about the theatre group than delivering a message. Subtitles would have been very helpful to get the message across to different cultures.

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  9. The use of repetition and camera angles have proven to be two very powerful tools to get a point across. The mind's attention span is small (at least mine is) so when a thought is put in my head over and over again, slowly but surely, I begin to realize and see a point of view. This video is documenting AIDS awareness in a sort of on-spot interview/PSA hybrid and it really got the message across to me. I feel that if the interviewees would have had subtitles, the video would have been a bit easier to understand. I had the luxury of watching it a couple times but for someone who doesnt, it might have proven ineffective in some parts. Also, the grotesque shots on the inflamed leg with the bumps...really stuck out for me.

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  10. I agree with Carlos in that the video picked up for me when the three men were being interviewed. Their responses and their song helped focus my attention onto the story and it's progression. I too find that the shot of the unfortunate older man's leg remains imprinted in my mind. Having had time to think back on the video it has all of the elements, and more, which I value in this sort of video; I think the unorthodox editing caught me off guard.

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  11. I enjoyed viewing this piece from a "Behind the Scenes" POV, it made me appreciate the content more and focus on the overall message that was intended. I think Laurie’s point about unclear dialogue used, as a tool to make the viewer pay closer attention is interesting. I feel this may not be the most effective tool as using subtitles, which allows the viewer to read the dialogue and absorb the information better, also addressing a larger audience. Obviously taking the camera into the village and exposing there simple lives and foreign culture has proven to be effective in creating feelings of guilt and responsibility in the viewer. This reminded me a lot of Sally Struthers “Feed the children” ads, where as they use feelings of guilt and responsibility to create action within the viewer.

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