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October 31, 2006

Home Training

In discussing the representation of Black women in film, specifically in Set It Off, Kimberly Springer focuses on the Sapphire model. She states, "Sapphire is not afraid to be loud and to speak her mind. Her danger lies within her words and only home training constrains her violence....Home training is about being well mannered in public, being a lady, and being middle class or working toward that class status. If one comes from a good home, one knows that tallking back and running one's mouth are verboten activities." Springer goes on to argue that the women in Set it Off embody the Sapphire model, but she does not explore further the link between home life and aggressive tendencies that is so explicitly displayed in this film.
Cleo is the only one of the four women who begins the film as a Sapphire. Cleo is not well mannered in public, a "lady", or middle class or working toward that class status at any point in Set if Off.
Frankie only becomes a Sapphire after her bank is robbed and she loses her job - thus depriving her of any hope of being middle class, and removing the necessity for her to be well mannered in life.
Stony transforms into a Sapphire after her brother is killed, which deprived her of hope of attaining middle class status, as well as the good home life that Springer asserts is essential to keep the Sapphiristic tendencies of Black women in check.
T becomes a Sapphire after her son is taken by the state, which destroyed her home life.
After reading Springer's article, the main message I take from the film Set it Off is this: "Enfranchise Black women, or they will turn into Sapphires and wreak havoc on society." My response to this message is that its good that there is media being created that supports the enfranchisement of Black women, but that any claim that powerless Black women will invariably become Sapphires enforces a stereotype. And we all already know how constructive stereotypes are in society....
so once again, I don't know what to think.

silence in Set it Off

"When Ursula comes around, the other three women usually avert their eyes. Tisean, Stony, and Frankie's silence around Cleo's lesbianism are indicative of the workings of homophobia and silence in the African American community"
Kimberly Springer ,Waiting to set it off p. 197 CP

I agree with this response to the film. Silence doesn't connote acceptance, and Springer has touched on an interesting topic in the black community. Perhaps Cleo's gender performance as a man is a response to the silence around her lesbianism. If it is unacceptable to love a woman as a woman, than it may be an adaptive for Cleo to love Ursula while performing as a man. I think this is also seen in greater society. Homosexual relationships are often more easily accepted when they have some sort of male/female (femme/butch) gender performance. Heterosexual relationships are also more easily accepted in mainstream society when they conform to traditional modes of gender performance.
It is also interesting in the film how Ursula doesn't have a speaking role. She is in plenty of scenes, at least five. But the only sound we hear from her is when she's crying when Cleo is shot on T.V. Ursula's gender performance is obvious in the film by her contrast to Cleo, and without a single line it also seems clear where the femme's place is in this film, and on an abstract level; where the woman’s place is in society.

Homosexuality in Set It Off

"It is fair to make thargument that there are lesbians who embody Cleo's brand of femal masculinity, but that does not necessitate the latent homophobia that emanates from women who are supposed to be Cleo's best friends and from the audience response.." Waiting to Set It Off Kimberly Springer (pg. 188)

"Cleo has no illusions about her chances for mobility, and the film's implicit message is that homosexuality or innappropriate masculinity will not get you any where you need to go in a society that emphasizes heterosexuality or femininity for biological women." Waiting to Set It Off Kimberly Springer (pg. 189)

Although Set It Off focused on empowering women who were oppressed by the system (which is portrayed as run completely by men, mostly white), I found it disturbing the way lesbianism was explicity condemned. As Springer put it, the movie portrayed lesbianism as a characteristic that should be acted upon and displayed only in private. Whenever Cleo's girlfriend is around, Frankie, Stoney and Tiesan look away making comments about keeping her romantic endeavors out of their sight. This reinforces the belief that homosexuality should be kept private; out of sight from the public. Showing that Cleo's best friends are unwilling to support her tells audiences that homosexuality is indeed something that doesn't need to be tolerated. Also, the fact that Cleo was the only one spoke frequently about how she was doomed for the ghetto and a life of crime can enforce the belief that lesbianism is a setback for women. This is reinforced by Stoney's heterosexual romance with Keith which saved her life in the end. Being a movie that empowers oppressed women to take matters into their own hands, I thought that it would show homosexuality in a positive way. To me, the movie tells the audience to overcome social and economic circumstances but not sexuality circumstances.

October 30, 2006

Set It Off Response

"Cleo, on the other hand, is never given a motive for her violence and is therefore is depicted as a stereotypical "bulldagger" with violent tendencies." writes Springer on pg 187 of Waiting to Set it Off

I think this statement is slightly inaccurate. Cleo does have motives for her violence. Her motives are new cars, expensive gifts, and lots of cash. These motivations are similar to the black men portrayed in the beginning of the film robbing the bank. Because her motivations are not as "honorable" as her sisters in crime, they are disregarded by the author. To Cleo money buys temporary happiness. She lives for the moment, and at that moment she wants a car with rims and hydraulics. Obviously this is very different from the others in the film who rob banks for social injustice or for custody of their children. But just because it is different does not mean it should be disregarded. In fact, Cleo's motivations help strengthen the argument about her feminie masculinity.

Set It Off, Detectives have feelings too.

On page 193, fourth paragraph, in "Waiting to Set it Off," author Kimberly Springer makes the comment that, "As in 'Thelma and Louise', the women of 'Set It Off' ar pursued by a white male police officer, Detective Strode. The difference is that this man was responsible for Stevie's death and ,yet, has no sympathy for the women's plight."

I completely disagree with author Kimberly Springer's assessment of Detective Strode. I believe it's the sympathy he has for the women's mission that makes him take the situation so personal and serious. First off, Stevie is not killed directly by Detective Strode. Strode is apparently the man who organized the police raid that got botched, but he did not shoot Stevie himself. I believe that he wasn't even the one who yelled out "He's got a gun!" Detective Strode's only fault is that he and his men mistook Stevie for the bank robber and murderer they were after. You can see it in the detective's eyes that he is visibly shaken-up over their mistake when he's looking over Stevie's body.

When Detective Strode watches the bank surveillance tapes and realizes that it's Stony and her friends who are the robbers, he immediately understands their motivation behind the women's crime – they want revenge on the system that's screwed them, hurting Stony the worst. Detective Strode relates closest with Stony. He believes that it he is in some way responsible for the women's choices. This is most evident in the final bank robbery. When Detective Strode and his partner stop the women before they are about to make their exit, he pleads with Stony to not continue with their actions, to just surrender. He looks to be in tears as he tells Stony that what happened to her brother was an accident and a terrible one at that, but turning to a life of crime isn't the way to remedy the situation.

The final action that Detective Strode performs that proves he does sympathize with the women is by letting Stony escape when all he had to do was say a word and they (the police) would have brought her to justice.

Download file
"The Face of a man who sympathizes with women retaliating against a prejudiced government system."

If Detective Strode did not in anyway feel for the women and their cause he would not have acted in manners which I described.

Set It Off

My quote is from Waiting to Set It Off by Kimberley Springer. It can be found on pages 181-2 of her essay, or 193-4 in the course packet.

"By robbing banks and, most importantly, getting away with it, the four women of "Set It Off" engage in a form of revolutionary expropriation: they steal what has already been stolen. Frankie uses this logic in trying to convince the other women, "Look, we're just taking away from the System that's fucking us all anyway, you know?""

I remember this quote from the movie as it was the beginning of the main plot. With this arguement, Frankie wins her debate and the planning for the robberies begins. By "stealing what has already been stolen," they justify what they are doing as right and even that they deserve what they will be getting. This thought kind of explains their role within society. By having willingness to commit such illegal and dangerous crimes, they are, in a way, saying that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. They portray themselves as lower class or the working poor and are to the point that they would do anything to change that. Earlier in the movie even, anything really did mean anything when Stony sells herself in order to help her brother. As a female, she takes advantage of what she has been given and sacrifices herself to improve her brother's life which would hopefully lead to an improvement in her life in the future. Again, this quote is an important part to not only the plot of the movie on the surface, but also can represent the minority and feminst issues being represented. It supports the idea that these women are desperate to improve their lives and have lost the hope of doing it any other way.

Waiting to Set It Off

"In their own class-based ways, these two films [Waiting to Exhale and Set It Off] move toward a redefinition of how African American women are portrayed, yet continue to uphold dominant stereotypes of them as prone to violence." "Waiting to Set It Off," by Kimberly Springer, pg. 173.

Set It Off is rife with stereotypes of the African American woman as prone to violence. Pinkett's character experiences it directly and indirectly. First, she must prostitute her body, submitting to a form of sexual violence, to earn money. Second, her brother is shot for being in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time, and Pinkett suffers emotionally from this loss.

Queen Latifah's character plays on the stereotype of both the "angry African American man" and the "butch" lesbian. She's the most agressive gun-toting robber in the bank scenes, threatens her friend by shoving a gun to her temple over a petty argument, and is the most comfortable as an agressive, violent character.

All four woman are seen as violent African Americans, though to varying degrees, in the scene where they practice firing weapons at a shooting range, and in the bank robbery scenes. Furthermore, all but one of the women is shot to death end, the ultimate reinforcement that low income African American women are likely to face violence.

Heterosexual norms

One of the most striking things to me in the movie was how all the characters illustrated a very heteronormative society. Although they were seen as pretty strong women considering the daunting task of robbing banks that they accomplish, almost everything about them was dictated by sexual and gender norms. This to me was very obvious in Cleo and Tisean. Springer discussed Cleo and her homesexuality in depth. She says "aspects Latifah's portrayal of Cleo are played as one-dimensional stereotype of the big, tough bulldagger. Cleo spends most of the film in overalls, often letting them sag around her waist. She loves cars and is a competent mechanic." (Springer 188)

Although the fact that Cleo is present as a lesbian and friends with these pretty typical hetersexual women she is there in a very stereotypical way. She is the epitome of the butch lesbian dressing very masculine, drinking, smoking and being intimidating and violent. There is nothing feminine about her except for her girlfriend who is a very obvious lipstick lesbian, the femme to her butch. Cleo's homosexuality is not seen as something novel, but as something very mediated by lesbian norms. Despite her friendship with the other women they still do not fully accept her lesbianism as seen by the fact that they turn away when she is with her girlfriend.

Tisean is portrayed as extremely feminine. Throughout the film she is wearing very feminine clothing, dresses and skirts when the other women are wearing pants. The way that she walks and moves is in a very typical feminine way always seeming a bit scared and hesitant, not sure of herself at all. Her personality is very meek and she is dependent on her more independent friends for support. She is very emotional and rash, both of which are seen as typical feminine qualities. The fact that she is a mother onl adds to her maternal, feminine portrayal.

Set It Off Response

"Cleo. . . may have a natural penchant for rebellion and violence, but the other three want desperatly to make it into middle-class comfort and respectability and have simply reached their limits of frustration" (Springer 180).

I think this quotation is very important while considering the intentions of the four female bank robbers in the film. Cleo is an off the wall character that shows mild violent intentions at various times in the film. A viewer can tell that she has lived a life around violence, especially considering the fact that she has grown up in the projects. Her bad mouth and temper illustrates that she has a natural penchant for such actions as seen in the film. The other three females have contrasting objectives, however. For Frankie, the object for her actions is a combination of revenge and opportunity. She is fired from the bank at the beginning of the film primarily because she knows the suspects. After she is fired, she can no longer get a job at any other banks, and must subject herself to low wage labor at the same cleaning service as her three friends. Robbing banks is easy money, but there is probably no greater reason for doing so than payback. I think this is evident right before she dies at the end of the film. The police officer attempts to talk Frankie down, but instead she points a gun to his head and reitterates the same words that came out of his mouth when he was interrogating her about the bank procedure during a robbery. I think she was trying to make a last effort point because she knew that her life was about to end. For Tisean, her motive was fairly simple. She needed money in order to raise her child. She wasn't making much money at the cleaning service and thus couldn't afford to raise him off of it. If she could raise some quick cash, she could provide a good living environment for him. Stony's motive is much more like Frankies. She does want to be in the comfort of the middle-class. This is evident at a number of parts in the movie. She wants to provide for her brother and send him to college, thus prostituting herself to a local business man. Even at the party she attends with her boyfriend later in the film illustrates her attempts at trying to fit in with a more classy society. The thing that pushes Stony over the edge, however, is revenge for her brother. Before her brother's death, she has the good sense to push back any ideas about robbing banks. Once Stevie is murdered by the LAPD, she decides to take part in the scheme. It's basically her rebellion against society. She tried to live life straight up, but it kept beating her back so she decided she wasn't going to do that anymore. Coincidentally, Stony is the only one to survive.

Nicky's Set It Off Response

“ Frankie saw that working for The Man in his bank will get you nowhere
because you are still guilty by association.? –Waiting to Set It Off,
Kimberly Springer (193-194)

I think this quote is significant to the findings of the movie. You don’t get the impression that these girls were showered with the idea of opportunities. I think they finally hit their low in terms of social depression when Frankie was laid off just because the guy that robbed the bank she worked in happened to live in her “hood,? for Tisean when her baby was taken from her, for Stony when her brother was killed even though he had no criminal record and graduated from high school and Cleo had a number of things on her record and never believed she was “better than that? as evidenced when she and Stony had that conversation about “where do you see yourself in five years? after their fight. The fact that their first bank robbery was successful gave them a false sense of opportunity… that they didn’t have to worry about their economic situations and it happened so quickly. I don’t really think they ever really expected to get out of the hood. I think they just let the hood engulf them until it seemed to be the only thing left to do.

Kelly's Post

This was a very interesting movie to watch critically. The element of the film that stood out strongest for me was the reasoning behind the bank robberies. Unlike other movies where black men are depicted as being violent, black women apparently need social and economic reasons to warrant the same action. Each woman had something traumatic happen to her (with the exception of Cleo but as viewers we are supposed to read her as the shallowest of the quad). Springer points this fact out in her essay, but she leaves out the comparison between how black men are portrayed as violent versus how black women are portrayed in Hollywood cinema. Apparently, black men do not need any reasons for their violent behavior, but women do.

Set It Off response

“Tisean, who commits the only murder in the film by one of the four leading women, is shot by a security guard as she and Stony are about to surrender. Cleo and Stony shoot their way out of the bank, but Tisean subsequently dies from her wounds in the getaway car.?
Waiting to Set It Off, Kimberly Springer pgs.191-192 (course packet pages 198-199)

Tisean’s death was in a way the most tragic of the women’s deaths because she was trying to surrender when she was murdered. This scene reinforced an overall theme of the film, that these four women were victims of the system and turning to crime was their only hope of escape.
During the film I was very frustrated by the fact that neither Frankie nor Cleo surrendered just before they were killed, because they were given the chance to. But with this quote in mind, I see how appropriate it was that they died instead of surrendering. Tisean’s death seemed to reinforce the point that even if they wanted to, the women were unable to surrender. They were in such a position where they were destined to die by the hands of the system that made living so difficult for them. Frankie and Cleo’s deaths seemed to be a conscious decision on their part that they were through being held down by an unjust system. They had decided to fight the system when they agreed to robbing banks, and their refusals to surrender were their last efforts to uphold that decision to the end. It seemed that it was an act of defiance on their part to not give up, even though they would die for it.

Home training

"Her [Sapphire] danger lies within her words and only home training constrains her violence...Home training, is about being well mannered in public, being a lady, and being middle class or working toward that class status" (Springer 177).

This quote perfectly embodies Stony for me. Stony spends much of the film trying to attain middle class status; she seems to always be wavering on the brink of reaching this goal. She is non-violent when she celebrates her brother’s graduation, she is poised to step into the middle class world, she hosts a party and is a happy and pleasant host/friend. When her brother dies and she looses her ticket to the middle class she is plunged into a world of violence.

When she meets Keith, Stony is presented with a new vehicle to the middle class world. While she is with him, her hard street talking manner drops, she becomes calm, beautiful and much more passive than the aggressive strong Stony we see arguing with her friends and robbing banks. Keith, for me, represents the home training perfectly. He asks Stony to stay with him and ride alone his success; he makes her over to be appropriate for his upper class world. He presents a different, well mannered lady-like Stony to his business associates and it seems once again, the Sapphire is being pushed back down by this middle class dream just within reach. Her violent acts subside; she no longer wants to rob banks. The strong Stony who stands up to her friends and the authorities is squashed along with her anger and violence by the home training provided by Keith and the dream of a middle class life.


Daaaaaaanng. That’s all I gotta say.

No seriously, Set It Off is a highly significant film. It portrays the struggle against “The Man? in a clear way. After the opening bank robbery I instantly knew what the film was going to be about and completely sided with the black woman (Ms. Fox). I understood the unfair treatment and total injustice dished out to her by the white male cop and the white male bank manager (owner?).

I actually cried several times during the film. I felt how terrible all of the black women had been treated by white men. And, when three of them were killed, I cried even harder. Me, crying over the deaths of bank robbers!? I understood their desperation and determination to fight. I understood that they tried their best to fight in a legal moral way. I understood that it didn’t work. Instead of staying broken and left hopeless, these women stuck together to fight men the only way they could think of.

The black women were also abused by black men. Their black boss for the janitorial service disrespected them with in the way he spoke to them. The black guy who only agreed to give Ms. Pinkett an advance if she had sex with him obviously mistreated her. As the movie progressed, their cause expanded to fighting against all men, not just white men.

My favorite line, which triggered the first set of tears (that I remember), was after the first bank robbery. The women were splitting up the take when a disagreement broke out about if the women who didn’t participate should get a cut. She was crying and said that she needed the money. She needed to get her son back. Vivica recoiled her position of not giving her a cut with something like…I’m sorry; you’re not the one I’m mad at. Then, she gave her her share. I doubt that would ever happen with a pack of male robbers. The way they stayed together, kept their battle against “The Man? and friendship in front of anything else, was a deeply emotional side to the story which led to my tears when they were murdered.

Another thing, I appreciated the style in which the love making was captured. When Ms. Pinkett and the bank guy had sex, I thought the moment must have been directed by a female. It was sensual, slow, and there was a connection between the two characters. It didn’t seem like a typical movie f@$# scene, but a break through love making scene.

I thought this movie was a strong example of feminist film. I loved it and will recommend it to all of my friends and family.

Set It Off

I chose a quote from Kimberly Springer's piece "Waiting To Set It Off," from page 187 (196 in CP)
"Most of the women in Set It Off are provoked to violence by their economic situation, believing that
robbing banks is their only recourse."
In this film all four women are struggling to come up with enough money to support their different lifestyles. Frankie, in the beginning loses her job at the bank because she is suspected of helping the bank robbers. She is then forced to get a job with her three other friends working for a man cleaning buildings, because she needs the money. No one is making very good money but they are getting by until problems in their lives begin to arise. First of all, Stony has to pay for her brother to go to college. She isn't making enough money where she works so she has to resort to prostitution. Then Tisean loses her child because of suspected child neglect. Tisean had to bring her child to work because she couldn't pay for a sitter and the boy got into some of the cleaning chemicals and was poisoned. So Tisean needs money to get her child back. In the end they all decide that robbing banks is the only way to get themselves out of the situations that they are in and out of there social class into a better life. It turns out that robbing banks isn't as rewarding as the women thought it would be and when they become greedy and money hungry they begin to turn on each other and resort to violence to satisfy their hunger.

Set It Off

"Cleo has no illusions about her chances for mobility, and the film's implicit message is that homosexuality or inappropriate masculinity will not get you where you need to go in a society that emphasizes heterosexuality or femininity for biological women...Cleo even admits, in a conversation with Stony, the allegedly innate limits that her class and sexuality circumscribe her" (Springer pg. 187).

While watching the film, this aspect of Springer's argument seemed really interesting and important to me. Throughout the film, Cleo was the most excessive one, either with drugs and alcohol, or through behavior. She was always drinking, flirting with her girlfriend, or yelling and creating a scene. From the initial scene, it was obvious that she could not be successful in society, because she was not a "civilized lady." This is even more emphasized when put in contrast to Stony. While Stony is being courted by a middle-class man who has money and a stable job, Cleo is spending her robbery money on a sexy outfit for her girlfriend and flaunting her new wealth. Cleo's character was the most interesting to me, because she was the most extreme character with many messages attached - class, overt sexuality, and race. To the audience, Stony has the potential to survive in society because she is attractive and finds heterosexual and civilized love. Cleo, in contrast, will not survive (therefore showing a negative view of masculinity in women or lesbianism) because she is too masculine and is a lesbian. Through this lens, it is obvious some of the messages Set It Off expresses through the characters of Stony and Cleo.

Set If Off

Quote: "You can take a Negro out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the Negro."
Author: Kimberly Springer
Waiting to Set it Off page 182

I do not agree with this quote because it is very steriotypical and very derogatory. Basically it says that that African Americans can't change their life style even if they change the sitution they live in; or they can't change their behavior and attitude even if they change their setting. In the movie Set it Off, we see African American women strugling to take charge of their lives and change it. I don't necessarly agree with the method they used, but we see that they still take steps toward change (even if it is robbing a bank). We also see the character Kieth who is African American and has a very stable life financially and emotionally. He graduated from Harverad, lives in a lavish house, and has a stable job as the head of a bank. He is the image of a successful male, by both white and black standards. He introduces Stony to his life style, who starts to think about her own life and how to improve it. We see that when she asks her friend Cleo where she sees herself in five years; just like Keith asked her (Stony). We also see how she can fit in and adapt when Keith takes her to the ball in a beautiful black dress and introduces her to his coeworkers and friends. She does not act "ghetto" but acts like a lady. Of course we can tell she is nervous because of the change, but at the same time she is willing to embrace it. After that night she keeps the dress she wore to the ball with her, and takes it out to look at it in various scenes; allowing us to see that this is the life she seeks. In the movie we hear Stony say that all she wants is enough money to get out of there and live a comfortable life. We see that she is not greedy because she was satisfied with the money from the first bank robery and did not want to rob another bank; she saw the money from the bank robery as a start not a way to get rich. We see her change into an ambious person and stray away from the "ghetto" steriotype throughout the movie. She even goes as far as to slap Cleo when she puts a gun to her head threatening her to rob another bank with them. So we see that even before she leaves the "ghetto," she starts to shed the "ghetto" image and attitude.


According to Ebert, poverty and racism are approved rationales in film for committing crimes against an uncaring capitalist system, and indirectly the state. By robbing banks and, most importantly, getting away with it, the four women of Set It Off engage in a form of revolutionary expropriation:they steal what has already been stolen." (Springer 181)
This film bothered me because it seemed that there wasn't much rationale in the women's decisions. I can understand being angry for a white man insisting on Frankie's involvement in the first bank robery in the film causing her to loose her job and also for that same man killing Stonie's brother, but their were so many more options that the girls didn't even consider. When Stonie sold her body for her brother's college education, she could have kept the money she unfortunately, rightfully deserved, and helped Tisean with the money to prove herself to Social services. I think this film just overemphasized the stereotype of the saphire and how the need for money brings out the beast within. The anger towards society, the state that has done wrong to them, leads the girls to inevitably rob a bank. I felt that Tisean was the most innocent up until she shot the man who caused her baby to be taken away. It all seems too cliche. None of the women seemed to think about the effects their actions would have on others in their lives, such as Tisean's child. To me this is just a typical hollywood gangsta movie, women replacing men, attacking the state they felt attacked them.

set it off response

"The women in Set It Off cannot keep Sapphire in check" (Springer, p. 182)

I have to definately disagree when she says this about the women in the movie. It was not that they couldn't keep sapphire in check, which she defines as evil, treacherous,bitchy,stubborn,hateful, etc, it was that situations kept popping up that forced the women to have to keep robbing banks and forced them to be violent and hateful. The first bank robbery, they only got $3000.00 each. If they were trying to get out of the hood, that is not nearly enough money. That makes them rob another bank and they hide that money in a vent at work, which gets stolen by their boss. The reasoning behind their bank robberies and turn to violence is not a result of them not being able to keep this notion of sapphire in check. They have obviously kept it in check all their lives of having to live where they live, of having to work where they work and barely making enough money to survive. Them robbing banks is the result of black women pushed over the edge; women that have taken all that they can take.

Set it Off

“The scene that best illuminates their individual leanings toward violence shows Stony, Cleo, Frankie, and Tisean going to a neighborhood friend, Black Sam, for weapons. Through character development, this scene establishes who will be tough, who will live, and foreshadows who will die.? - Kimberly Springer, pg. 189

When watching the film I didn’t realize this was what was being shown, but when re-reading the article it really hit me. I really agree with Springer about the showing of violence. I think the best showing was when they were actually firing at the targets and the most showing character was Cleo. She was known to be the one of the biggest instigators of the burglaries and it really showed when she was shooting two large caliber weapons in succession. Not only does it show her aggressive behavior, but being a marksman myself I know the shear strength that is needed to hold such a large weapon steady when firing with one hand.

I don’t know if I agree entirely with Springer about foreshadowing who lives and who dies. I don’t think when I watched the movie for the first time I could have deduced that Stony was the only one that ends up living. I think it may show the fashion at which Cleo and Tisean get killed but I don’t think that can be deduced without first seeing the entire movie.

"Set It Off" and bell hooks

"All attempts to repress our/black people's right to gaze had produced in us an overwhelming longing to look, a rebellious desire, an oppositional gaze." (bell hooks 198)

Cleo from "Set It Off" is the basis of my analysis of hooks' quote. Throughout the film, there are close ups on Cleo's face where you can see that intense and furious stare. It is evident when her of one of her friends is being treated unfairly and unjustly. She fights the system in multiple ways. She fights the heterosexual norm through her relationship with Ursula. She fights the white capitalist supremecist system through bank robbing and cheating the very people who steal from her. She is bold and outrageous: challenging the "feminine" roles in society. Cleo utilizes her stare and her gaze to fight against repression and the injustices that happen to her and her friends. She continues to gaze up until the point when she steps out of the car and continues to start shooting.

October 29, 2006

Good Times at Hood Rat High?

"Later, in a Mexican motel room, Stony cries over the money scattered across the bed and remembers the good times she had with Cleo, Tisean and Frankie, now dead." Springer p199 CP

I'd like to call into question what constitutes "good times" in this montage. Most of the shots include the women surrounded by money post bank robbery. Very few shots deal with the characters before their entrance into a criminal life. I'm sure they had good times that didn't revolve around their criminal escapades. So are we to understand that good times can only found when fighting heterosexual patriarchy? They may not be economically or socially up, but they have their own culture between them—"good times? had to have happened.

Good times must refer to the life of an the anti-hero. These women commit crimes and are therefore not privy to commendation for fighting a system they find to be rigged. In most films, we would side with the officer, but in this case these women market themselves as robin hoods—robbing from the rich and giving to themselves. This kind of "good time" could have been avoided and I don't think the criminal activity fights stereotype. In my opinion, it can only solidify it.

The way to avoid crime would be through Keith. He's rich and definitely has to have some connections and would help Stony in any way that he could. But what about the other three you ask? Well, Stony isn't the kind of person to leave her friends in the lurch, therefore the entire group of friends could have benefited from Stony asking Keith for help. Some would probably argue that it would only support the patriarchal system: Keith is a man and the women can only prosper through him. I could understand that argument, but wholly disagree. Most of the women in this film are strong, Stony especially. Her gaze was dominant over Keith's(e.g. the love scene focused on the naked body of Keith) and she dictated where and when they would meet. This is control, not a relationship, but it demonstrates that she would be able to be "liberated" through someone else's help--even if that someone is a man. Alas, that would make for a very boring movie and to get the point the filmmaker wanted, the plot would need more punch.

In the end only one character “liberates? themselves from their economic and social strife. But, is it really liberation? She is in exile and can never again see her friends who have died. Were the "good times" worth this liberation? One over three?

"Set it Off" and Kimberly Springer

"The capitalist, white patriarchy provokes them to commit a bank robbery by pushing them over the edge of social disenfranchisement. Though they are bold, these four women will subsequently die for their actions because dreams of middle-class respectability failed to tame their Sapphiric violent tendencies."
- "Waiting to Set It Off" - Kimberly Springer - p.193

I had mixed emotions about both this article and the film. I believe the first part of this quote is an oversimplification of a complicated film that can be understood in many different ways. It is obvious that the conditions created by the white capitalist patriarchal society are what led the women to believe they had no options other than bank robbery, with the exception of Cleo. If Stony had not felt the need to sell her body to send her brother to college and then see him murdered by police, or if Tisean had enough money for her child's babysitter and did not have to bring him to work, or if Frankie had not been fired unfairly the robberies would not have entered any of the women's minds. It was a very interesting point of view watching these crimes from the point of the criminals committing them, and not from the point of view of the "good guys", the police. People watching movies, television, or even the news have the tendency to assume every person that commits a crime is simply violent and evil, but this film forces the viewer to look at crimes from a new point of view. People are not born evil criminals; the system that oppresses them for their entire lives and makes them desperate for survival turns them to crime.

I also find it interesting that Springer states the women die because they are unable to tame their Sapphiric violent tendencies. Although an argument could be made for this belief because Stoney seems the least violent and is the only woman at the end that does not take a stand against the police, I do not entirely agree. bell hooks describes the Sapphire as black women that were "evil, treacherous, bitchy, stubborn, and hateful, in short all that the mammy figure was not". Although people in the movie such as the police may have seen the women this way, the viewer does not. The viewer actually sympathizes with the bank robbers, understands their reasons for doing it, and hopes that they do not get caught. The viewer is also forced to think about what would have happened to the women had they not robbed the banks. Although they may not have been violently shot to death, it is unlikely that they would have lead happy lives; they may even have still died horrible deaths. Tisean would most likely have lost her son, and in her own words she would die without him. Losing her son would have forced her to other drastic measures, possibly even suicide.

Set It Off Stereotypes

“Set It Off relied on stereotypical icons of African American women, they were a move in a more positive direction compared to past depictions.?

Springer, “Waiting to Set It Off: African American Women and the Sapphire Fixation? pg. 196

I have really mixed feelings about the movie Set It Off. From the reading, I gathered that this movie was supposed to defy the stereotypical portrayal of black women but I don’t really feel it did that. It did give black actresses staring roles and they weren’t the “Aunt Jemima? or “nagging background noise? characters. I felt though as if the movie portrayed other stereotypes instead. There’s the irrational black woman, Frankie, who after being wrongly accused and fired decides that it’s a good idea to rob banks. There’s the black lesbian, Cleo who is constantly referred to as “Mr.? or “him,? wants a pimped out ride, and enjoys watching her girlfriend wear a little number that rides up her ass and dance sexually. Tisean is very innocent and a very naive single mother struggling to support her son. Lastly, Stony is a smart and determined piece of eye candy that, in a way “dies? when her brother is murdered because in her mind the two are one. She keeps saying “we? got into college and “we? are going to UCLA. I guess that these stereotypes are more modern day than the mammy’s and jezebels of the past but I feel that it’s not very progressive if you are replacing discriminating stereotypes with discriminating stereotypes. Why do the black female characters need to be violent, insecure, and irrational?

I was very upset with the character of Stony. I couldn’t understand her rationale. She wanted more than anything to live in suburbia, live the middle class life. Yet, when given the opportunity to do so she takes the “hood rat? path. She meets a banker who went to Harvard, has traveled, and goes to balls. Everything that she dreamed of handed to her on a platter and he even tells her that he’ll grant her every wish. Yet, she still robs the banks with the other girls. I can’t grasp how she thought that rejecting the banker and robbing banks would grant her the life she wanted?


“Black women’s identities are not rigid, fixed entities, but fluid - contingent upon personal, cultural, political, and social variables. Identity (re)formation is a continuous process of (re)positioning within meaningful socio-historic structures.? gloria j. gibson-hudson “the ties that bind: cinematic representations…? (p. 214)

This quote captures the changes experienced by the four main characters in Set It Off. At the beginning of the movie, each woman has her own identity which is influenced by the environment she lives and works in. The character of Frankie has carved out a new identity for herself by working hard and moving up in her bank job. Unfortunately, her identity is destroyed when someone from her neighborhood robs the bank. To Frankie’s boss, her identity is based on social variables that she has no control over.
The character of Stony is also an example of how fluid identities can be. At the beginning of the movie, Stony is a young woman from the bad side of town who has worked hard to raise her younger brother after her parents die in a car accident. Her hopes and wishes are all tied to helping her brother go to college and escape the neighborhood. However, her identity is forever changed when her brother is shot and killed by police who mistakenly believe he is a bank robber. After her brother’s death, Stony feels she has nothing to lose and joins her friends in a bank robbery scheme. Her identity becomes even more fluid when she begins to date a successful banker and moves back and forth between the world of the projects and the world of the upper class. Stony’s identity changes as her environment and circumstances change. The characters in Set It Off are a strong example of identity (re)formation.

Set It Off Response- Springer Essay

The quote that I chose to focus on considering the film "Set It Off" comes from Kimberly Springer's essay "Waiting to Set It Off".
" In popular culture and accepted historical iconography it would be redundant to speak of 'African American women's violence' or the 'violent African American woman.' Black people depending on the icons in current usage, are thought to be inherently violent. I maintain that when it comes to women, race, and violence, white North American women are assumed to have been provoked to violence; they are not permitted violent impulses. Oppositionally, African Americans are thought to be always already violent due to their 'savage' ancestry..." (Springer 174).

When you first begin watching Set If Off, the opening scene is the bank robbery that Vivica A. Fox's character, Frankie, gets fired for, and potentially blamed for because of her African American status. The police assumed that because the bank robbers happened to be black, that Frankie was somehow conspiring with her "friends" in the robbery. You immediately side with Frankie since she is being discriminated because of her race. Springer reestablishes this concept when she discusses the stereotypical idea of inherent violence among African American women. White North American women also knowingly commit crimes, but they are not born with the "violent tendencies" that African American women are. Frankie's co-workers for the most part were white, specifically one female co-worker that is standing right next to her during the bank robbery. However, the police never discriminate the white woman co-worker and threaten her with conspiracy charges. Instead, they focus the blame on Frankie because after all...Frankie is an African-American woman working at a bank during a robbery by three African-American men. This, in turn, helps you to continue siding with Frankie throughout the film. Even while the women are planning and then actually robbing a few banks, deep-down inside you are rooting for them to come out victorious! For so long they have felt oppressed or discriminated because of their race, and now it was their turn to take a stand (in a very bold and drastic way). This is because you, as the viewer, and unlike the police questioning Frankie in the very beggining of the film, are aware of the proposterious association with innate violence due to "savage ancestry" in African American women (Springer 174).


“Though Waiting to Exhale and Set It Off relied on stereotypical icons of African American women, they were a move in a more positive direction compared to past depictions.?
Author: Kimberly Springer
Title: “Waiting to Set It Off: African American Women and the Sapphire Fixation?
Page: 196

Compared to other Hollywood movies that I’ve seen that are either by Black directors or have a predominant Black cast, Set It Off struck me as different. I feel that Set It Off was a nice change from the popular “gangster? movies that have Black men as the main characters. In these movies I saw young Black women actors either as quiet “arm-candy? or as annoying nags. They were the Jezebels or Mammys. In Set It Off, I saw these images as well in Ursula, Tisean, and Stony. Ursula was depicted as a Jezebel in her relationship with Cleo. She was quiet, skinny, and very feminine. She was there to look nice on Cleo’s arm. At times I saw Tisean as a quite, shy Mammy. She wanted to always do the right thing. She never smoked with the others, she never stood up for her self, and she was the last one to agree to the robbing. In the movie when Stony yelled at her brother before he was shot, it reminded me of the nagging girlfriends, mothers and sisters that I see so much of in other Hollywood “gangster? films.
Despite these and other stereotypes in the movie, it was refreshing to see young Black women played in a different role. I saw these women as strong and smart, taking their lives into their own hands. In the end, these women didn’t rely on men and they didn’t let the fact that they were women stop them from doing what they wanted. But these women were also depicted as Sapphires, and this could lead to more stereotyping. In Kimberly Springer’s essay, "Waiting to Set It Off", she also says, “Now that the dominant culture is finally beginning to understand that Aunt Jemima representations are racist and sexist, Sapphire could easily take over as a “natural? depiction of Black women? (p.195). In the movie Set It Off, Cleo, Stony, Tisean, and Frankie are portrayed as the stereotypical Sapphires, but at least it is a different representation of Black women. Hopefully in the future more films by and about Black women will be made so that these stereotypes disappear.

Set it Off... Home Training

" Historically, for African American girls and women, Sapphire is a dangerous model not to emulate because she has the potential to be violent. Sapphire is not afraid to be loud and speak her mind. Her danger lies within her words and only home training constrains her violence. Most African Americans are familiar witht he concept: "That girl ain't got no home training." A lack of home training marks a deficiency in breeding. Home training is about being well mannered in public, being a lady, and being middle class or working toward that class status. If one comes from a good home, one knows that talking back and running one's mouth are veboten activities."
Waiting to Set it Off: African American Women and the Sapphire Fixation
Kimber Springer, Page 191 (176-177)

This quote is so interesting to me. My background is exactly this ideal of how a woman should be raised. Although, to note, I am a White American who comes from an upper-middle class family and was raised in Wisconsin, but my mother is from Nashville, TN... which made my upbringing very Southern oriented as far as manners and being lady-like goes. I, too, was raised in the idea that women are supposed to be gentle and well-mannered. It was always unaccceptable to talk back under any circumstances even though as I got older my mother and I would always play the "Last Word" game. Something that I learned from this was that the idea was also prevalent in the African American culture as well. I did not know that the same expectations were in place for another race.

The one thing I did notice right away while watching the film was that their families were never shown, with the exception of Stony's brother and Tisean's son. There is a lack of parental guidance for the girls all throughout the movie. All of the girls had grown up in a bad, run-down neighborhood, where the idea of getting out and making something of themselves was often clouded by the reality of a lack of money, needed to actually make a move. The desperation was clearly shown in the scene where Tisean's son was taken by the social worker and she realized she had to do the bank robbery if she ever wanted to get ther son back. That middle class standard is something that they could only dream of achieving.

The violent part of the Sapphire was most prevalent in Queen Latifah's character Cleo throught the film. She is the quintessential Sapphire with the violent behavior and the loud mouth. She was the one who had connections with the gun dealer and had a criminal background and dirty mouth. This is evident in two scenes where she gets the guns for them to do their first robbery by getting him to do her a favor.. showing that she has ties with him already. And, she is shown as being very loud after they first rob the back and are excited about the money they got, she is in the background just shouting and being obnoxious.


“Halberstam rightly observes that the female masculinity of Black lesbians is circumscribed by race, but at the same time aspects of Latifah’s portrayal of Cleo are played as a one-dimensional stereotype of the big, tough bulldagger.? (Springer, “Waiting to Set It Off,? pg.188)
“ ‘In other words, lesbians were constructed as aberrant women who wanted to be men, and so, they acted more like men than the ‘real’ men acted: the only thing missing was the penis.’? (Springer, “Waiting to Set It Off,? quoting Omosupe’s description of a “bulldagger,? pg. 189)

Immediately as we are introduced to Cleo in the film, I thought to these statements above, as well as the positioning of Cleo as tied implicitly to the material; in fact, it is a materiality that harkens immediately to the construction of black men from the projects in film and video: she is sitting in her car, and is “shown up? by two guys who sidle up to her with hydraulics on full display (am I right in thinking that F. Gary Gray makes a cameo as the driver?). Stony and Frankie tell her that she’ll be able to match that someday. When in fact they do steal the money, Cleo immediately tricks out her car, mimicking the display of the men who initially showed her up, and in yet another harkening, she buys her “girl? Ursula (who doesn’t speak once in the film) fancy lingerie and has her perform for her on top of her new status symbol, while simultaneously drinking from a bottle (it is only Cleo that drinks from the bottle in the first scene – Frankie and Ursula both drink from glasses), and smoking weed (Cleo is the provider, even when the others do smoke, it is Cleo that instigates it – already she is transgressive and “reckless?); it is also Cleo that is brash enough to pull a gun, even as it is met with the appropriately feminine “catfight? of a slap. In that scene alone there is a tension between Cleo’s display of masculinity (pulling the gun – a threat of violence towards a woman), which is masked as her “being high,? and in turn, when she is slapped by Stony, that display immediately renders Cleo as feminine, displacing her masculinity.
The relationship of guns with Cleo could be easily read as attaching the “bulldagger? to that which she desires, or that which she is attempting to perform – the phallus. It is after all Cleo that negotiates the acquisition of guns from Black Sam, in part reasoned by the fact that she used to steal cars for him, but also by virtue of the fact that she is “equal? with him, suggesting that Cleo is seen as potentially equally masculine (also evidenced ad infinitum by Luther’s continual addendum of “...& gentleman?). When Black Sam suggests that the exchange of guns link to exchange in women, it is complicated by Cleo as friend of Frankie, and also by the suggestion that Cleo may also be attracted to Frankie (the groping scene on the rooftop, which reaffirms Frankie’s heterosexuality despite the lack of romantic interest in the film). Thusly, it suggests the inherent power relations between black men and black lesbians, complicated yet again because the object in question is also the phallus.
When at last Cleo is killed, she goes out, as Springer states, in the typical “hero’s blaze of glory,? which in some way ties her to her masculinity, yet I also read it as its inverse: because of her female masculinity, because of her strength in openly being a black lesbian, specifically a bulldagger, she is the most punished for this transgression. Placed in a filmic situation in which her bravura is met with unnecessary gunfire, there is a discontent between both seeing her as “an outlaw,? and thus, somewhat gaining pleasure in the fact that she is both willing to challenge the police and die (tying her to Larenz in the beginning of the film), or that she is “bad? enough to need to be stopped, as well as recognizing that as the only character that challenges the norms, she is also the most grandly, and vividly dispatched.

Set It Off - response

"Luther's murder is the point of no return for the women in Set It Off."
Kimberly Springer
Waiting to Set It Off
page 191

As Springer states in this quotation, it is after Luther's murder that the women have sealed the deal of their fate. Prior to that event, I believe it would have been possible for the women to survive this ordeal, even if they were not able to avoid criminal charges; they may have even been able to resume their original lives. After Tisean kills Luther, however, everything changes. The film displays these changes in a few subtle ways, including the new angle of the camera as well as the costumes the women choose to wear in their final robbery. This last robbery is also different than the previous ones, this one is committed out of true desperation. The women realize they have no other choice but to steal as much money as possible, and leave the country; it is no longer a robbery to lead a more comfortable life, it is a robbery to have a life, any life.
I especially appreciated Springer's inclusion of this quotation while reading the article because it gave me a hint as to what to watch for in the film. Because I had no yet seen the film when I was reading this article, I didn't really know what the film was about, but this quotation definately helped me to take note of the many changes that followed the death of Luther.

October 27, 2006

Jen's Post

"Theres a wonderfully written scene where the women are siting on a rooftop, smoking pot, looking at a factory and observing wistfully, "Before they strated laying people off, they were paying $15.00 an hour at that place."
Kimberly Springer
Waiting to Set It Off
Pg. 181

I thought this quote was great because it gave a ton of perspective on the whole film. The women in this film were constantly scorned. They used any and all means neccesary to remain afloat in society. When things were looking up they automatically crashed back down. I liked this quote because it gives the perspective of just how oppressed these women were. I as a college student, nannying for other peoples children make $15.00 ann hour. Compare that to working in a factory doing hard manual labor. It just shows how backwards the system is. I get to sit around watch television and eat other peoples food, while the women in this film would have done just about anything to be making $15.00 an hour. Its a horrible thing to know that your future does not just solely rest on your ambition and talent. It relies also on your class, sexuality, sex, etc. This quote made me really think about how the money I make seems so unimportant, but to them it was an unattainable dream that they could only view from a distance.

Set it Off

“Stevie’s murder and “good kid? status translates into Stony’s redemption for her part in the violence that ensued.? Author: Kimberly Springer_Title: “Waiting to Set it Off: African American Woman and the Sapphire Fixation.? _Page numbers in the article: 191

I took this quote because I feel that it bared weight. Stony’s the only one that got away with her life. She should have been caught but the detective let her go because of all the death he had witnessed. Also thought-out the movie she was the only character that had showed a deeper side to the crimes they were committing. She often spoke up about how they were wrong and shouldn’t be going through with the robberies. While the other girls were fairly one-dimensional for example Cleo wanted to rob banks from the get go and Frankie wanting to take what was theirs from these big businesses. These other girls seemed almost doomed from the start, as we were able to watch greed step in. All of the accounts that lead these women to robbery were extremely awful to help justify their actions but at the same time it changed who they were, besides Cleo. So by showing Stony’s drive to be above the robberies we were able to feel that her escape was warranted and believable.

Set It Off - Response

< Throughout this entire film the thing that I noticed most was the concept of agency. The women in the film had to make decisions based on the restrictions of their options. One woman chose to rob the bank only after her brother was mistakenly killed. Another only decided to do so after her son was taken by social services. These types of obstacles forced the characters of the film to difficult positions, and their only way out was too make more difficult and dangerous ones. The portrayal of the women was very blunted...Bell Hooks says "Since movie culture is one of the primary sites for the reproduction and perpetuation of white supremacist aesthetics, demanding a change in what we see on the screen - demanding progressive images - is one way to transform the culture we live in." I agree with this statement, and I feel that if it were implemented into films, the audience/public/society would begin to view race differently - because it is being presented differently than it has been in the past. However, in Set It Off, even though it was directed by and African American male, it still projects and portrays black people - and women especially - in a certain way (a negative one). The use of violence, swearing, and drugs promotes the stereotypes that Hollywood films use to "make the big bucks". The fact that the cast was almost entirely black (Except for the people 'in charge' - the cops) only reinstates these prejudices. It makes me wonder why the cast was chosen to be black? Was it to portray the reality and harshness of living in the projects? Or was it to conform to societal consumerism - and make more $? With all of the explosions, gun-shots, and money flying around in the movie it is difficult for a viewer to look beyond that and see what the director is trying to convey. I feel as though the movie was more about crime, loss, and rebellion than it was about the women in the film. Their stories are the ones that should have been told - and not exploited to fuel a bank account. Tell me if I'm wrong, but this film is probably one of the most 'non-feminist' films I have ever seen. Until directors can break the images that American society is used to seeing, the mental images of Americans will remain sadly stunted. >

October 26, 2006

Set It Off! More than you think...

This is the second time that I have seen "Set It Off". The first time was a few years back when I was flipping channels and saw it was on TV. I remember deciding to watch the film instead of changing the channel only because I recognized Jada Pinkett Smith and liking her and Will Smith as a couple wanted to see her in a film. When I began to watch the film I didn't know the title and had missed seeing the opening scenes but I watched it anyway because of Jada. Besides the fact that Jada was in the film and that almost everyone dies at the end of the film, that was all that I remembered of the film when I was sitting in class thinking about the film waiting for it to start. Once the film began I was shocked to see continuous acts of violence on the screen, which I didn't remember from watching the film a few years ago. When Stevie was killed I got tears in my eyes. At other scenes in the film I also got tears in my eyes because I could relate with the pain that the women in the film were going through. Being able to empathize with the women made the film more powerful to me in it’s second viewing. When viewing films like this I almost wish the film wasn't made because then those characters wouldn't have to go through the pain that the director makes them go through. Films like "Set It Off" are more powerful and more realistic to me than films like "The Piano". This is because I can't necessarily relate as much to a film, which has a setting that is so unlike the atmosphere and setting of my life. I have never been in the socioeconomic position that the four women in the film "Set It Off" were in but this film did take place in America and in a metropolitan area, not in a lush jungle atmosphere like in "The Piano". I really enjoyed this film but was sad when it was over for a reason other then the ending being sad. I was sad because I really don't like the films "Boys Don't Cry" and "North Country" and am really not looking forward to watching those films in class. I understand why we will be watching them but I just don’t like viewing sexual violence, it makes me mad and really uncomfortable. However this time when I view these films in class I will try to watch the film from a feminist perspective, attempting to analyze the film and not merely 'watch' it. I'm not sure if I can separate 'watching' a film from 'analyzing' a film but I will try my best, otherwise I seriously doubt I will be able to sit through both of these upcoming films. When I mentioned these feelings that I have about these films to my Fiancé he said "sometimes you have to be uncomfortable in order to see life in a different light". I agree, but it’s hard to voluntarily put your self in a situation where you know you will be uncomfortable, but I will do it for the sake of Feminist Studies!

Set It Off, women still prone to violence

"In their own class-bass ways, these two films move toward redefinition of how African American women are portrayed, yet continue to uphold dominant stereotypes of then as prone to violence."

This quote from page 173 of Kimberly Springer's essay "Waiting to Set It Off: African American Women and the Sapphire Fixation" I feel is an excellent summarization of the attempt the film that we just viewed in class, "Set It Off" makes at changing stereotypes of African American women.

Violence is what begins the film, ends the film, and creates plot disturbances during the middle of the film. Gray did attempt to create a film that redefined how African American women are portrayed but the way in which he structured the film left me with a feeling that only violence resulted in these four women robbing a bank. The film begins with a violent scene of death and chaos when three men rob a bank that Frankie is working at. A woman at the bank is shot in the head and dies and the loud and stressful scene where Frankie was fired after the robbery at her bank successfully ends the opening scene of this film with a heavy feeling of violence. As the film progresses the character Stony is shown needing to get money to pay for her brother Stevie's college tuition. In order to do this she sleeps with a man who has made advances towards her in the past. In this sex scene Stony is seen crying over the man's shoulder because of the mental pain that having sex with this man is causing her. This scene can be seen as a form of sexual and emotional violence. The death of Stevie is a violent scene, which depicts physical violence. The scene were Tisean's son is taken away from her is an emotionally violent scene. At the end of the film the deaths of first Tisean, then Cleo, and lastly Frankie at the hands of police attempting to stop their bank robbery get away concludes this film with obvious physical violence. Although the character Stony does survive and rides away on a bus with the cash, the fact that she gets away does not undue the countless acts of violence that F. Gary Gray continually showed throughout the film.
Although Gray did make an attempt to redefine how these four African American women in particular were portrayed, I feel that his attempt was unsuccessful. Though Gray did portray each of the women very differently in a social context (Stony taking care of a younger brother, Frankie nicely dressed working at a bank, Cleo as a lesbian, and Tisean as a young single mother) Gray’s film still resulted in depicting these four women as woman whose lives are stereotypical of African American women in the sense that they are prone to sexual, emotional, and physical violence.

Jillian Schwantz

Quote: "Stony is worth saving because she aspires to be more than a "Hood rat."
By Kimberly Springer in "Waiting to set it off African American Woman and the Sapphire Fixation" pages 193-194.

I love this quote because it is so true to any type of cinema and conflict. The object is always to eliminate or domesticate. And much like a horror film, those who die must be just because they are dying to fullfill how society really feels about them. The way our society is, we do not like those who don't have big aspirations, or aspirations for the "American Dream." Everyone's reasons for robbing the bank were vain, but Stony's reasons fall into the cliches of society. We want to believe that everyone wants the "American dream" (which is to be middle class or above, have a home, some kids, and completely blend in like a conformist). She stays alive because she is as cinema would claim "pure." Stony is someone who wants life better for herself, whereas we view the other characters as wanting money for unecessary needs. This movie is really quite sickening when you think about the fact that it tells the audience that middle class is right, and if you aspire to it then you are pure and a good citizen.

October 25, 2006


“Stony is worth saving because she aspires to be more than a ‘hood rat.?
Author: Kimberly Springer
Title: “Waiting to Set it Off: African American Woman and the Sapphire Fixation.?
Page numbers in the article: 193-194

This quote is from the Springer article. Basically, the quote claims that every other main-black-woman character in the film died, because they didn’t have Stony’s aspirations (for the future) “to be more than a ‘hood rat.? I agree with this, because the story really seems to support Stony’s choice of character, family, and relationships. Additionally, Detective Strode, a white man, doesn’t arrest Stony in the end, because he sympathizes with her for her association with the following ideals: Stony believes in a college education (wanted her brother to go to college) and she “hopes for middle-class mobility? (while denying her state of “poverty?). Furthermore, we see that she gets involved in a mainstream “heterosexual alliance? with a Harvard-educated boyfriend, Keith. On the other hand, Tisean is a “black single mother,? Cleo is a “black lesbian,? and Frankie gives up “working for the man? because a black woman like her will never succeed (she ends up working with the other girls at Luther’s janitorial services). Given the examples above, this quote applies the feminist analysis of “intersectionality?: if you don’t fit in the perfect white, pro-education, hetero-sexual, and family orientated category, you won’t survive. Consequently, Stony’s choice to pursue this conventional life makes her survival appear to be more oppressive than liberating.

Rachel L's Set It Off Response

I chose a quote from Kimberley Springer's piece "waiting to set it off," from page 180 (193 in CP)
"The capitalist, white patriarchy provokes them to commit a bank robbery by pushing them over the edge of social disenfranhcisement. Though they are bold, these four women will subsequently die for their actions because dreams of middle-class respectability failed to tame their sapphiric violent tendencies."

My Response:
I think that although this film has some positive potrayals of women and black women, such as they were independent, intelligent in their strategy planning, and can aim a gun just as well as men! it also enforces some negative stereotypes about black women. Springer's last sentence above is exactly what I mean. Their problems arose because of violence. Examples being Franky's incident at the bank and Stony's brother being killed. They expressed their anger and pain from those events with more violence and crime: stealing cars, robbing banks, and killing.
This not only enforces the angry black woman "Sapphire" stereotype, it also produces this cycle of violence consuming the black womens lives and not letting them live happier ones or ever actually getting out of their class and financial situation. After the women rob their first bank, the money they earned only perpetuated their violence towards eachother, Cleo actually holds Stony at gun point. The women become unsatisfied with the amount of money earned and their anger leads them to more roberries and eventually all but one are killed. I feel that the film established yes, black women are strong, smart and brave but their anger and tendencies towards crime will leave them struggling in lower-class.

Midterm Resources

Here's a copy of the Midterm Question - click HERE to download pdf file

I suggest that you re-watch the film you choose to write about for the midterm paper assignment. I advise you to watch significant scenes again, first without sound - think about analyzing shot by shot - then re-watch with sound to think about sound design (use of music, fx, v.o.). Think critically, specifically, and write in detail.

Feminist Media Center (FMC)
468 Ford Hall
Fall 06 Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

There are DVD copies available for in-lab viewing of:

The Piano

Live Nude Girls Unite
fyi - this is the original cover image (you can see it on the homepage too), but instead the distributor chose the stripper pole image. hmmmm.

Set It Off

For Barrier Device, you can watch on itunes on FMC's Station 02 or purchase off of itunes yourself for $1.99. See the lab attendant for help (and there is an "Instructions for Barrier Device.doc" on the desktop. Or, you can download for $1.99 on itunes.


Set It Off Assignment

Using the readings about Set It Off, Black women, representation and authorship, etc:

Pick a quote (or short block quote) from any of this week's reading (Springer, hooks, gibson-hudson, and weblinks about F. Gary Gray) and post your response in a paragraph or two.

Your post must include the following:

*Cite the author and page number and include the quotation in your post.

*Cite specific examples from the film to support your claim (or to counter the argument you select from this week's reading).

Note: This post is worth 2 points.

Be prepared to talk about the film and the readings in class next week!

DocuLens Asia: Forum & Film Series

DocuLens Asia: Forum and Film Series
November 2 - 4 (on campus in various locations)

For Forum (Conference) Schedule, Click HERE
For Film Listings, Click HERE
For Bios on Visiting Filmmakers, Click HERE

DocuLens Asia is a fall film series and forum conceived and planned by the Institute for Advanced Study's Asian Film Collaborative—a group of faculty from various departments at the University of Minnesota who share an interest in Asian cinema. DocuLens Asia provides scholars, students and the public in the Twin cities metro area with a unique opportunity to witness new and exciting achievements in Asian documentary filmmaking.

The collaborative will host an international film series and forum over three days November 2-4, 2006, featuring major documentary filmmakers from Taiwan, mainland China, India, and Japan. Q & A with directors will follow screenings and panel discussions will discuss trends and views on Asian documentary filmmaking—putting films in the context of the contemporary global condition.

Further information can be found under events on www.ias.umn.edu or www.doculensasia.umn.edu.


October 23, 2006

10/30 - Actress Meg Tilly in Minneapolis

Monday, October 30, 7 p.m.

Meg Tilly
with Kirsten Dierking and Patricia Weaver Francisco


Amazon Bookstore (feminist bookstore in Minneapolis)
4755 Chicago Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Meg Tilly will be here to read from her new novel, Gemma. She will be joined by two local authors reading from their works on the same topic-Kirsten Dierking (One Red Eye) and Patricia Weaver Francisco (Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery).

Gemma is a compelling, yet disturbing, twist on the theme of Vladimir Nabokov's infamous novel Lolita. This time, however, author Meg Tilly explores both sides of a story about child molestation and sexual abuse, allowing us to hear not only the voice of the adult predator, but that of his young victim as well.

Gemma has been abused for years by her alcoholic mother's boyfriend when she is kidnapped and taken on a cross country journey that tests the very limits of her endurance. It is only Gemma's childlike resilience and fertile imagination that protect her from the worst of the abuses she suffers. And in the end, it is only the healing power of unconditional love that gives her the courage to speak out against her abuser and to reclaim her dignity as a human being.

Meg Tilly is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Singing Songs. Working as an actress before focusing upon her writing career, Meg Tilly is best known for her movie roles in The Big Chill and Agnes of God (for which she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Oscar). She lives in Vancouver

Amazon Bookstore Hours:
M-F 10-8 (Later on event nights)
Sat 10-6
Sun noon-5


*** Attend this Event, post a critical response & get extra credit!!!

Monday, 10/30 - Jila Nikpay

Veil: An Exploration to Liberate the Body

Jila Nikpay
Filmmaker and Photographer
She is an expatriate Iranian artist and educator living in the United States. A filmmaker and photographer, she has received numerous awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board as well as the Jerome and McKnight Foundation for her evocative black and white images and films.

Monday, October 30, 2006
400 Ford Hall

3:15 - 3:30 Refreshments
3:30 - 5:00 Talk

Nikpay will elaborate on her cross-cultural approach that transforms the veil from an icon of repression into an artistic tool that liberates the body. Using examples from her work with women, she will expand upon her artistic process that gives form to that which is hidden beneath the threshold of the body consciousness.

To see samples of her work, visit www.jilanikpay.com

*** ATTEND THIS EVENT! Post a critical response & get extra credit!

October 22, 2006

NPR- Black Actors in Love Scenes: No Need to Apply

All Things Considered, October 17, 2006

If you go to IMDB.com, the Internet Movie Data Base, you'll find a disturbing statistical blip. Of the roughly 350 films that have earned more than $100 million, about 50 of them have love scenes. You know the drill: Boy kisses girl, they sink together onto a bed, more kissing and touching, fade to black...
If you scan the same list for American films with non-white leads (again, there are about 50), you'll find love scenes in zero percent. That's right, zero. No blacks. No Latinos. No Asians. Hollywood makes such films; you can find them further down on the list. But America won't watch them.


& read this sociology professor's take HERE on her blog (Rachel's Tavern)

What do you think??? Why is this the case? It is American audiences? American values? Ideology? Strange phenom? Why ZERO people of color in these roles in top grossing film?

October 21, 2006

Library Resources for Students

Library Research Guide

From designing a research strategy to citing sources, this tutorial guides you through the research process.

Research Quickstart

Quickstart provides resources organized by subject to aid students in their research.

Assignment Calculator

This tool helps students plan an effective timeline for completing their papers and assignments.

Library FAQ Database

Library Resource Center

The LRC provides non-book resources for research and course enhancement.

National Conference on Media Reform

Tired of corporate consolidation of media ownership? Interested in supporting independent media? The National Conference on Media Reform might be just what you need! The three day conference will feature speakers, workshops, musical performances and panel discussions on media policy and reform. Confirmed speakers include Amy Goodman, John Nichols, Bill Moyers and Jesse Jackson.

For More info on the conferenceclick HERE

Student scholarships available!Click HERE for info

The Feminist Future: Theory and Practice in the Visual Arts - Scholarships Avail!

NYC Museum of Modern Art (MoMa)
January 26–January 27, 2007
9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. both days
Titus Theater 1

This symposium addresses critical questions surrounding the relationship between art and gender, bringing together international leaders in contemporary art, art history, and related disciplines. After the activism of the 1960s and ’70s, and the revisionist critiques of the 1980s and ’90s, this symposium will examine ways in which gender is currently addressed by artists, museums and the academy, and its future role in art practice and scholarship.

Keynote speakers:

Lucy R. Lippard, writer and activist
Anne Wagner, Professor of Modern Art, Department of History of Art, University of California, Berkeley


Ute Meta Bauer, Associate Professor and Director of the Visual Arts Program, Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Connie Butler, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art
Beatriz Colomina, Professor of Architecture and Director of the Program in Media and Modernity, Princeton University
Valie Export, artist
Coco Fusco, artist and Associate Professor, Columbia University School of the Arts
Guerrilla Girls, Frida Kahlo and Kathe Kollwitz, two founding members of the feminist activist group
Salah Hassan, Professor of Art History and Director of African Studies and Research Center, Cornell University
David Joselit, Professor and Chair, Department of History of Art, Yale University
Geeta Kapur, independent critic and curator, New Delhi
Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University
Richard Meyer, Katherine Stein Sachs CW'69 and Keith L. Sachs W'67 Visiting Professor, Department of History of Art, University of Pennsylvania
Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator of Exhibitions, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University
Wangechi Mutu, artist
Griselda Pollock, Professor of the Social and Critical Histories of Art and Director of Centre for Cultural Analysis, History and Theory, University of Leeds


Catherine de Zegher, curator and art historian
Linda Nochlin, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Tickets (per day: $12; Museum members $10; students and seniors $5) can be purchased at the Museum lobby information desk and the Film and Media desk. Tickets are also available at www.ticketweb.com.

A limited number of scholarship stipends to help offset the cost of attending MoMA’s The Feminist Future symposium will be offered to qualified undergraduate and graduate students.

An infrared sound amplification system is available for all programs held in the Titus Theaters.

The Feminist Future is made possible by The Modern Women’s Fund.

The Feminist Future Symposium Scholarships
DEADLINE: Monday, November 27, 5:30 p.m. EST

A limited number of stipends to help offset the costs of traveling to attend MoMA’s The Feminist Future symposium will be offered to qualified full-time undergraduate and graduate students. Only students traveling from outside the New York/Connecticut/New Jersey metropolitan area (i.e., students traveling over 150 miles to New York City) are eligible.

$500 for students traveling within the United States and Canada (outside of the NYC metro area), plus one complimentary ticket to both days of the symposium
$1000 for students traveling internationally (outside the United States and Canada), plus one complimentary ticket to both days of the symposium

Please apply by e-mail to Alexandra_Schwartz@moma.org by Monday, November 27, at 5:30 p.m. EST.

Your application must include:
A letter of interest from you, outlining how attending the symposium would benefit your studies; your resume or curriculum vitae; a letter of recommendation from an academic adviser or department chair at your home institution. (This recommendation must be emailed directly from the referee to Alexandra_Schwartz@moma.org.)

You will be notified of decisions by mid-December. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. No phone calls, please.

October 18, 2006

Minnesota Women in Film

Local Resource: Minnesota Women In Film


The Minnesota chapter of WIFT was formally established in 2005. It joins 40 other Women in Film chapters with 10,000 global members. Locally, we are a growing, all-volunteer organization, made up of women who work in film, television and new media in Minnesota. We exist to educate and support women in these industries. In the process, we share ideas, connect with each other, and create momentum that benefits careers. We also have fun.

MN WIFT’s MISSION › Empower women of all ages to reach their highest potential in the film, television and media industry › Provide international access to a broad network of resources, education and support › Promote events that showcase work; engaging audiences in open-forum discussion › Inspire the public and marketplace with diverse voices

If you’re not already a member, we hope you’ll consider becoming one because we’re stronger with your input. If you are a member, we’d like to see you apply your talent to exciting work on committees. This organization thrives on the ideas and input from people involved in the industry. Together, we’re strength, a voice, a force.

Watch these videos!

I've been finding some really good stuff on YouTube.


Dove Real Beauty campaign:

On skin tone, hair, dolls and beauty standards, A Girl Like Me:

October 16, 2006

Tahmineh Milani

Tahmineh Milani is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and producer. She was born in 1960 in Tabriz, Iran. She is arguably the best known female Iranian fimaker. In August 2001, she was imprisoned for her film The Hidden Half. She was accused of "supporting those waging war against God" and "misusing the arts in support of counterrevolutionary and armed opposition groups" even though her film had already received the necessary approval of the Ministry of Cultural Guidance. She continues to make films and defend her choices in those films.

She has multiple awards including;
Grand Prix for Best Film, Geneva Film Festival, 2003
Audience Award, 14th Annual Festival of Films from Iran, Chicago, 2003
Cairo International Film Festival, 2003
Festival of Films from Iran, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2003

Films she has directored include:
Children of Divorce 1989
The Legend of a Sigh 1991
What Else is New? 1992
Kakado 1996
Two Women 1999
The Hidden Half 2001
The Fifth Reaction 2003
The Unwanted Woman 2005
Atash bas 2006

I have seen Two Women, The Hidden Half, and The Legend of a Sigh. I suggest viewing all of her films. The films themselves offer unique windows to world we typically assign unrelenting stereotypes.

As I said, I had seen some her films before and have kept an interest in her and Iranian film in general. I think she is a fantastic director and a wonderful example of women of color directing film that portrays their realities.

Trying to find more information about Tahmineh Milani was difficult. I knew she had been imprisoned and released but any more recent information was lost.

Cheryl Dunye

Cheryl Dunye was born in Liberia and recieved her MFA from Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Jersey. In her many of her films, she portrays her pride in being an African American lesbian and also the oppression she has experienced. She wrote, directed, and starred in her first film, The Watermelon Woman, which was the first African American lesbian feature film. Currently, she teaches at Temple University in the Department of Film and Media Arts.
Here is a list of the movies she has directed:
My Baby's Daddy (2003)
View Trailer
Stranger Inside (2000)
The Watermelon Woman (1996)
View Clip
Greetings from Africa (1994)
The Potluck and the Passion (1993)
Untitled Portrait (1993)
Vanilla Sex (1992)
She Don't Fade (1991)
Janine (1990)

I only found clips/ trailers on The Watermelon Woman and My Baby's Daddy. I found that My Baby's Daddy seemed pretty typical of a Hollywood blockbuster while The Watermelon Woman seemed to have a much deeper purpose. I was surprised at how different the two films were.

I found Dunye on the Sisters in Cinema website under filmmakers. I picked her because she had a variety of different films, all which seemed to be personal and honest films.

At first it was hard for me to find a WOC filmmaker, but once I got into a couple of good sites, such as Sisters in Cinema, I was able to find many more.

Kelly's W.O.C. Post

Here are three women filmmakers that I came across:
Lidia Estrada- Born and raised in Los Angeles. Attended USC and wrote, directed, and produced her thesis film "First Days." She received her Master's in Film Production.
Seema Shastri- Completed MFA in Film and Video at Columbia College, Chicago. Her largest production to date is a film entitled "Why is God...," which incorporates her personal themes of spirituality and ethnic identity in the US.
April Faith Hirschman- Opened Leap of Faith School of Middle Eastern Dance in Occidental, CA, her hometown. Her film "Blood and Monkey" brings together her love of painting, photography and dance.

Shereen Noon

shereen noon picture.jpg

Shereen Noon is an independent filmmaker who is of Swedish and Pakistani decent. She grew up in Illinois, Michigan, and Pakistan. She is the founder of Santa Fe's Tano Media Institute, an educational program that guides and supports women filmmakers and the International Women Filmmaker’s Organization (IWF) which is based in L.A. Noon attended CSULB and began her work on films in 1993.
She wrote, directed, and co-produced Body: The Value of Women, a documentary on body image and self-esteem of women in America. She also produced the indie film Paper, Rock, Scissors about a man who leads a very successful life but is depressed. She is in the process of writing a script on the relationships between women.

The website to Body: The Value of Women was down so I wasn’t able to view any clips for the film. Hopefully it will be up later. http://www.thevalueofwomen.com/

It was harder than I thought it would be to find “Women of Color? filmmakers. Noon’s films are shown at festivals and screenings, but as much as I looked, unable to be purchased by the normal consumer. I found out about Shereen Noon at the website http://www.whirledwydeweb.com/iwf/shereennoon.html and at http://imdb.com. I did look at the top 25 list at the website for the magazine Filmmakers and was surprised of how few women filmmakers there were.

Lourdes Portillo

Mexico-born and Chicana identified, Portillo's films have focused on the search for Latino identity. She has worked in a richly varied range of forms, from television documentary to satirical video-film collage.
Portillo got her first filmmaking experience at the age of twenty-one when a friend in Hollywood asked her to help out on a documentary. Portillo says: " I knew from that moment what I was going to do for the rest of my life. That never changed. It was just a matter of when I was going to do it."
Click to Read More

As you can see below, Portillo has had an extensive career, and has won many awards for her efforts. By clicking on the link you can read more about her accomplishments.

2004 - Collaboration: My McQueen (20 min. experimental documentary) the legacy of Steve McQueen in San Francisco after "Bullit" with Kyle Kibbe and Vivian Hillgrove for the School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.

2001 - Producer/Director Señorita Extraviada/ Missing Young Woman (74 min. Documentary film) on the mysterious killings of hundreds of young women on the border town of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Funded by ITVS, MacArthur Foundation, Soros, and the NEA.

2001 - Video Producer Culture Clash: Mission Magic Mystery Tour (theatre performance at Brava Theatre) a satirical comedy about the Mission District in San Francisco. Funded by Flintridge Foundation, Rockefeller Multi-Arts Production Fund, The NEA, Fleishhacker Foundation.

1999 - Producer/Director/Writer Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena (47 min. video documentary) on the impact that Selena Quintanilla had on her fans, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Film and Video Fellowship and Mexican Fine Arts Museum Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

1998 - This is Your Day Hoy es tu Dia Video installation funded by the U.S. Mexico Fund for Culture

1997 - Multi-Media Director for the Theatre Play, 13 Days a San Francisco Mime Troupe National Tour .

1994 - Producer/Director: The Devil Never Sleeps/EI Diablo Nunca Duerme (82 min. documentary ) Funded by the Independent Television Service and the National Latino Communications Center.

1994 - Producer/Director Sometimes my Feet Go Numb Experimental Video (2:23 min., performance video)

1993 - Producer/Director/Writer: Mirrors of the Heart (60 min. documentary ) Produced by WGBH in Boston PBS's series, "Americas" National Broadcast in 1993.

1992 - Producer/Director/Writer: Columbus On Trial (18 minute video). Funded by The National Endowment for the Arts Inter Arts . National Broadcast in 1992.

1989 - Producer/Director: Vida (lOmin. narrative) Producedby AIDSFILMS.

1988 - Director/Co-Producer/Writer: La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead (60 min. documentary ) Funded by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.

1986 - Director/Co-Producer/Writer: Las Madres: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (60 minute documentary ).

1979 - Director/Co-Producer: After the Earthquake/Despues del Terremoto. (27:00 min. narrative ) Funded by the American Film Institute Filmakers Award.

Although I have not had the pleasure of viewing any of her work, this research/blog post has conjured couriosity for her vision.

black female filmmakers

I found three black females that have left quite an unforgettable mark in the film industry. The first was Maya Angelou, most people know her as a famous poet but she actually directed the movie Down in the Delta in 1998. The second one is Gina Prince Bythewood who directed the film Love and Basketball in 2000 starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. And last but not least Kasi Lemmons who directed the film Eve's Bayou in 1997. Below is a link to the website for anyone who wants to find out more about these and other black female filmmakers


women of color

My first choice for a filmmaker of color was Tania Kamal-Eldin, because her work is really close to my heart. Her work is mostly about women in the Middle East, where I was born and raised. She is like me, Egyptian. I know we usually don't think of Middle Eastern people as people of "color" but they do have a different culture than the one we are used to; and since that they are located in mostly North Africa and western part of Asia; one can argue that they too are people of color. Tania Kamal-Eldin's work has been screened in several venues and festivals throughout the world. Her two videotapes "Covered: The Hejab in Cairo, Egypt" (made in 1995 and is 25 minutes) and "Hollywood Harems" (made in 1999 and is 24 minutes) both addressed women issues. Her film "Cairo Chronicles" (made in 2001 and 37 minutes long) was in the 2002 Women of Color Film Festival. The first one talked about wearing veils in Egypt and the second one took aim at Hollywood’s obsession and fascination with all things from the east. She is currently a lecturer at the University of California at San Diego in the Communications Department. She is also currently working on a personal essay documentary that takes place in Cairo, Egypt.

Jenni Olson

1. Jenni Olson was born and raised in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. She received her BA in Film Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1990. She was the founder of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Lesbian, Gay, Bi, & Transgender Film Festival in 1986 and went on to be co-director (with Mark Finch) of the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival from 1992-1994. She is the editor of The Ultimate Guide to Lesbian & Gay Film and Video (1996, Serpent's Tail). Her feature-length collections of coming attractions trailers (Homo Promo, Neo Homo Promo, and Trailer Camp) have played at film festivals around the world, as have her two short videos (Levi's 501s Commercial and Sometimes). (From her personal summary found on http://www.imdb.com)

2.The Joy of Life (2005)
Afro Promo (1997)
Blue Diary (1997)
Trailers Schmailers (1997)
Trailer Camp (1995)
Homo Promo (1993)
She's Safe!: A Curated Package of Woman-to-Woman Safer-Sex Videos (1993)

These are the films she has directed

3. Her film The Joy of LIfe (2005) appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. I do know from looking at the synopsis of her films that they do deal with gay and lesbian issues a lot of the time. She also does work mostly on documentaries.

4. As I said earlier, I found her film The Joy of Life on the Sundance Film Festival website for the year 2005. The Sundance is a relatively big festival and certainly one where great independent films can become discovered.

5. I thought it would probably be easy to find a woman director on the Sundance Festival site because they deal with a lot of independent films. I have to admit however that I looked up about ten films on imdb from the list in Sundance before I came across a woman director. It didn't take very long, but like I said, I came across about ten male directors of films in the festival before I found Jenni Olson.

Deepa Mehta

View image
Deepa Mehta, who has been described as "Canada's most internationally renowned woman film-maker" (Levitin, An Introduction..., p 273), was born in 1950 in Amritsar, a city on India's border with Pakistan. Like many other Hindu families, Mehta's parents had fled the newly created Pakistan at the time of Partition in 1947. Mehta's father was a film distributor and owned a number of movie theatres. As a child, Mehta watched hundreds of movies in her father's theatres but did not have an early interest in becoming a filmmaker. Mehta studied philosophy at the University of New Delhi.
After graduating from university, Mehta had her first experience in the film industry when she went to work for a company that made educational and documentary films for the Indian government.
1974 - At 99: A Portrait of Louise Tandy
1985 - Traveling Light
1987 - Martha, Ruth and Edie
1988 - Sam and Me
1995 - FIRE
1998 - EARTH
2000 - WATER - due to increased controversy, had to stop shooting this film.
2003 - Republic of Love
Mehta has developed a well-earned reputation as innovative and courageous filmmaker whose movies often address the universal issue of identity and tradition. Mehta herself notes: "If you think of Sam & Me, Fire, Earth, even Water, all of them were about where does one's own voice stop and the baggage of tradition begin. It's the conflict between the individual voice and the voice of tradition…I don't sit down to write a script with these ideas in mind, in as much as they always seem to come out in my films." (Wise, p. 36)

vivian price

1.vivian is a professor of GLBT studies at UCLA as well as of film and gender studies at various colleges in the uc system.
if you'd like to view her picture you can check out this website:
aside from a phd, vivian has worked in the film industry for over ten years and also has worked as a unionized construction worker, some of her work encompasses this aspect of her (highlighting females working non-traditional jobs). her films have screened across the world.

2. vivian produced "Faces of Tradeswomen", which was commissioned by the U.S. Women's Bureau.
"In My Own Words, Against All Odds", is a film about the first african american woman the l.a. electrician's union. this film was selected for the Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 1993.
"Gender in the Global Construction Site" was produced for the Beijing Women's Conference.
she also has a new film out called "Transnational Tradeswoman" and can be found through the WMM website.

3. unfortunately i can't really comment on any of these films because i haven't seen them, but i thought she was relevent because we are about to dig into documentary.

4. i found vivian price through the WMM website. after doing the reading i figured this was an easy place to start. and yes i do realize that she herself is not a "woc" but the gaze that she is projecting is an alternative one, and represents an aspect of feminist film theory that got left out in the initial understandings. isn't that what is important here?

5. this wasn't a very hard investigation, but by reading the course blog i realize how much about film makers i don't know. before taking this class the director (the gaze setter) never really mattered much to me. now i realize the importance of being informed on who is setting up the images. i see that it's not just a movie screen, but somebody's canvas.

Zeinabu Irene Davis

1. I researched Zeinbu Irene Davis. Davis was born April 13, 1961 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a producer, director of independant films who is most concerned with the depiction of women of African descent. She has worked in narrative, documentary and experimentat videos and films. She has recieved
numerous grants and fellowships from sources such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts to fund her films.

2. Some examples of her work:
1.) Compensation (1999)
2.) Cycles (1989)
3.) Mother of the River (1995)
4.) A Powerful Thang (1991)
5.) A Period Piece (1991)
6.) Kneegrays in Russia (1990)
7.) Trumpetistically, Clora Bryant (1989)
8.) Sweet Bird of Youth (1987)
9.) Crododile Conspiracy (1986)
10.) Re-creating Black Women's Media Image (1983)
11.) Filmstatement (1982)

3. I found Davis by googling women " of color" filmakers. Her name was listed on a Women's film festival site. I thought her name was the most interesting so I did some research on her and found information on Women Make Movies website.

4. I thought that it was fairly easy do find a woman "of color" to research on. All I had to do was google Women "of color" filmmakers and there was a list of websites related to women filmmakers "of color".

Photograph of Zeinabu Irene Davis:

WOC Filmmaker

The woman "of color" artist that I choose was the filmmaker or producer/writer Susan Racho. Susan Racho is a Los Angeles-based Producer/Writer, and her work reflects around the diversity of issues and themes that attract her attention. Her earliest work included the landmark Chicano television series "Reflecciones", in which she was a co-creator. The most recent and the largest work she has done is "The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood Cinema" which was a HBO/Cinemax presentation. The "Latino Image" presentation that she worked on was produced, wrote and directed by her.

Most of the other work Susan Racho was involved in includes production credits in such films as "Taking Back the Schools", from the series "Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement", and the "The Buried Mirror".

Along with her work with film she also was the co-author fo the recently published, “Yo Soy Chicano: The Turbulent and Heroic Life of Chicanas/os in Cinema and Television"

Susan Racho's work has also been featured at the San Sebastian Film Festival and was even screened at The White House. She has also recieved several awards for her work including EMMY as Producer of the Best Special Events Coverage, the IMAGEN AWARD as Producer of Most Outstanding Documentary, the PREMIO MESQUITE for Best Documentary and others.

Gina Prince-Bythewood

1 - Gina.jpg
Gina Prince-Bythewood is an African American filmmaker. She studied at UCLA Film School, where she graduated in 1991. Not only has she directed films and TV episodes, she always has written, produced and acted in them as well. Currently, she lives in California with her husband and two sons.
2 - Gina wrote and directed the very popular "Love and Basketball" in 2000, which she premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Other movies, or TV episodes include: Biker Boyz (2003), Felicity-episode-(1998), The Bernie Mac Show-episode- (2001), Disappearing Acts (2000), Friends-episode-(1999), CBS School Break Special "What About Your Friends" (2005), which landed her 2 emmy nominations for writing and directing.
3 - I loved the movie Love and Basketball when it came out and I know that many people were intrigued not only by the main characters relationship, but also because you got to see an inside glimpse of the struggles of a woman basketball player.bball.jpg

4 - I found Gina Prince-Bythewood's name off of the website "Sisters of Cinema" from our course blog. I also viewed clips of her videos from IMDb. Today, most of Gina's work is Hollywood, not Independent. For instance her first feature film as a producer was the film "Biker Boyz" (2003), a Dreamworks film, co-written and directed with her husband. However, I was very interested to know that her most highly acclaimed film, Love and Basketball, was premiered at Sundance Film Festival!
5 - Gina Prince-Blythewood was a relatively easy Woman of Color filmmaker to track down. One of the reasons it was easier, though, was because she is not anymore, an independent filmmaker. Instead, she does big budget, Hollywood movies, and TV episodes after the breakthrough success of "Love and Basketball".

Shaohong Li

1 - Filmmaker: Shaohong Li (Chinese)
Shaohong Li is the only woman in the Fifth Generation Chinese Filmmakers which include Zhang Yimou (Hero)and Kaige Chen (Farewell My Concubine). She attended the Beijing Film Academy and entered it's Directing Department in 1978 and graduated in 1982. Since then she has gone on to direct 8 feature length films and her films have won numerous awards from various worl film festivals. She is known for her strong visuals and colors.

2 - The Door (2006)
Stolen Life (2005)
Baober in Love (2004)
The Red Suit (2000)
Blush (1995)
Family Portrait (1993)
Bloody Morning (1992)
The Case of the Silver Snake (1988)

3 - I was not able to find her films available anywhere in the U.S. but there are plenty of stills from her works and I found this website which has a trailer for her film Baober in Love, only the trailer is in real media format. The trailer however is spectacular and the visuals are on par with the likes of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's films and Zhang Yimou's films. Reading the reviews and the previews online made me really interested in her work especially her films, Stolen Life and Baober in Love. They sound really wonderful and interesting.

4 - I found her when searching for asian female director in google. Her name was mentioned many times in several articales. Since she is the only fifth generation director in china she really stands out. I really hope she is able to break through to the american audiences. I think it would be possible with the praise that Stolen Life has be recieving from the media in europe and asia.

5 - It was somewhat difficult to find a female director from Eastern Asia. I looked but there the film industry is male dominated and woman rarely make films apparently. An article I read said that there was a three year gap from the last time a woman made a movie there until now.

Christine Choy


Christine Choy was trained as an architect, receiving her Master of Science degree from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Soon thereafter, her life took a different direction-direction. Christine crossed the country to Los Angeles, studying at the American Film Institute where she earned a Directing Certificate. Christine has produced and directed about seventy works in various forms, receiving over sixty international awards. Among them are numerous fellowships such as the John Simon Guggenheim, the Rockefeller, and the Asian Cultural Council, as well as an Academy Award Nomination for the documentary film, Who Killed Vincent Chen. Christine has an equally impressive history as an educator, teaching not only at NYU at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, this year once again as Chair of the former, but also at Yale, Cornell, and SUNY Buffalo. She was also a visiting scholar at Evergreen State College, as well as the Oslo and Volda Film Institute in Norway. (http://filmtv.tisch.nyu.edu/object/ChoyC.html)

Some of the films she has directed include:
1. Ha Ha Shanghai (2001)
2. In the Name of the Emperor (1998)
3. The Shot Heard 'Round the World (1997)
4. Wrongful Death: Hattori vs. Peairs (1997)
5. Best Hotel on Skid Row (1990)
6. Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987)
7. Permanent Wave (1986) (co-director)
8. Mississippi Triangle (1984)

I did not find any trailors to her films, but I did find a good background page of hers that also talks a little bit about her most famous films: http://cds.aas.duke.edu/film/2002happening/guestchoy.html

I found her by searching under google and women of color filmmakers. Her name came up under the african and asian group. She speaks at film festivals and also is a professor at a film school.

She was not very difficult to find. I thought that it would be harder to find someone, but she was one artist who came up right away.

Ann Hui

1. She was born in China in 1947 and moved to Hong Kong when she was young. She graduated from Hong Kong University with a degree in comparative literature. She attended film school in London for 2 years. She started as an assistant but soon joined TVB and directed some short documentaries and drama series. She made a few films in between but in 1979 she made her first feature film called The Secret. Sorry, couldn't find a picture.

2. She has directed 23 films in her life:
1 Yi ma de hou xian dai sheng huo (2006)
... aka The Postmodern Life of My Aunt (Canada: English title) (International: English title)
2 Yu guanyin (2003)
... aka Goddess of Mercy (Hong Kong: English title) (International: English title) (USA)
3 Laam yan sei sap (2002)
... aka July Rhapsody (Hong Kong: English title) (International: English title) (USA)
4 Youling renjian (2001)
... aka Visible Secret (International: English title)
5 The Making of 'Youling renjian - Visible Secret' (2001) (V)
6 Qian yan wan yu (1999)
... aka Ordinary Heroes (USA)
7 Boon sang yuen (1997)
... aka Half Life Fate (literal English title)
8 Gei diy chun fung (1997)
... aka As Time Goes By (Hong Kong: English title)
9 Ah Kam (1996)
... aka The Stunt Woman
10 Nu ren si shi (1995)
... aka Woman, Forty (International: English title)
11 Boy and His Hero (1993)
12 Jidao zhuizhong (1991)
... aka Zodiac Killer
13 Ketu qiuhen (1990)
... aka Song of Exile
14 Xiao ao jiang hu (1990)
... aka Swordsman
15 Shanghai jiaqi (1990)
... aka My American Grandson
16 Gam ye sing gwong chaan laan (1988)
... aka Tonight's Starlight Is Splendid (literal English title)
17 Shu jian en chou lu (1987)
... aka The Romance of Book & Sword
18 Xiang xiang gong zhu (1987)
... aka Princess Fragrance
19 Qing cheng zhi lian (1984)
... aka Love in a Fallen City
20 Tou bun no hoi (1982)
... aka Boat People
21 Woo yuet dik goo si (1981)
... aka God of Killers (USA)
22 Zhuang dao zheng (1980)
... aka The Spooky Bunch
23 Fung gip (1979)
... aka The Secret

3. Most of her work was done in Cantonese so it was hard to understand. I did however find one of her trailers on the internet and it seems that she does mostly murder/drama/suspense films. Here is a link that you can watch the trailer to her most recent film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0470984/trailers

4. I found her by searching for wormen directors on google but most of the information I used came from www.imdb.com.

5. I found it very difficult to find a women filmmaker of color that someone in the class had not already used.

WOC Filmmakers

1. Mira Nair- film director/writer/producer. Mira was born in India, and attneded college at Delhi University and Harvard. She's worked on many films, such as Vanity Fair.
Biography =

2. Gurinder Chadha - Gurinder was born in Kenya and grew up in London. In 1990 she set up her own production company called Umbi Films. She has worked on many films, such as Bend it Like Beckham.
Biography =

3. Euzhan Palcy - Euzhan was born in Martinique and her films focus on social change and cultural issues. One of her most influential films is A Dry White Season.
Biography =

The Women of Color Film Festival

The first website that I found references the Women of Color Film Festival at the University of California, Santa-Cruz in 1992. The participants were independent women of color filmmakers, some of which are listed here:

Patricia Diaz
Mona Smith
Ngozi A. Onwurha

The website can be found here: http://www2.ucsc.edu/woc/1992.html

After further reasearch, I discovered that this film festival occurs each year at UC, Santa-Cruz. In 2006, it was celebrating it's eleventh year, and featured many more women of color filmmakers. Again, a few are listed here:

Christine Choy, Sparrow Village
Victoria Comune, Swimming in English
Angela How, Sleepwalking

The website on the 2006 festival can be found here: http://bampfa.berkeley.edu/pfa_programs/women_of_color/current.html
This website also allows you to link to any previous festivals.

This website also produces a fact about women filmmakers each time you visit a new page on the site. This fact is one that I found particularly interesting:

Nearly half the top 100 films from 1997 had no women writers, producers, directors, cinematographers or editors.

By searching "Women of color filmmakers", almost of the hits produced on google led to this film festival at the Universtiy of California. This tells me about how popular the festival is and how much involvement there has been over the past eleven years. Many, many names of women of color filmmakers and their films produce hits that link to this festival - that there are too many to list on this blog post.

October 15, 2006

WOC by Jillian Schwantz

I happen to have found a very cool website at www.sistersincinema.com, and while the name really stands out, it has tons of information on Black film makers. This website has a huge list of film makers and also pictures included. The first name on the list under film makers was Maya Angelou. This really surprised me because I had no idea Maya Angelou had her hands in film. This website also really focused on independant films and documentaries, which is great!
The next website I checked out was www.nalip.org, which is a website based upon latino film makers. This website was not as detailed as the sisters in cinema site, but it was more aimed at representing extremely local and independant female latino film makers. The highlight of the website was to reward the winners of contests, which seemed to be help by the nalip organization.
The third website I visited was www.kinoasia.com. This website was probabaly my favorite because it listed all of the asian filmmakers, and listed them by country. This website was very detailed, a little less pretty, but very informative. This website highlights on male and female filmmakers, and lists a section of names on the right hand side of the site. This type of categorizing made it fun and interesting to compare artists from country to country.

Julie Dash

Julie Dash.jpg

Julie Dash is a Black woman and was born and raised in New York. Her first film, "Daughters of the Dust" was placed in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. "Daughters of the Dust" was a film depicting the making of an African American Women's film and was released in 1992. Julie Dash was the first African American woman to have a full-length general audience film in the United States. Her second work is the short film called "Brothers of the Borderland" which plays at Ohio's National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum. She recently directed the TV movie, "The Rosa Parks Story" and won many awards for it. She has also created many short videos and music videos.

1975 - Four Women
1977 - Diary of an African Nun
1983 - Illusions
1992 - Daughters of the Dust
1996 - Give Me One Reason
1997 - Thinking of You
1998 - Funny Valentines
2002 - Rosa Parks
You can get more information on her fims and videos at:

I found Julie Dash in a review of Gwendolyn Audrey Foster's "Women Filmmakers of the African and Asian Diaspora". You can read it at:

I thought it was very difficult to find women of color filmmakers. I found a few women, but it was harder to find information about their films and their lives. Even with Julie, it was hard to find a decent biography.

Safi Faye

View image

1.) Safi Faye (born 1943), the Senegalese filmmaker and ethnologist who has made her home in Paris, is the best-known woman filmmaker in sub-Saharan Africa. Safi Faye was born in 1943 in Fad Jal, Senegal, a village south of Dakar, where she made the ethnographic films that brought her international acclaim. Faye's documentary films on Senegal were related to her training as an ethnologist. She was interested in showing the real problems of people's daily lives from their perspective, an advantage she had as a member of the society she filmed. Safi Faye is acknowledged as one of the most accomplished women filmmakers in sub-Saharan Africa. However, because she has lived and worked in Europe, far more Europeans have seen her films than have Senegalese and other Africans.

2.) Faye made her first films in France. Revanche (Revenge; 1973), made collectively with other students in Paris, is about a madman who wants to climb the Pont Neuf, a bridge in Paris. She acted in her second film, La Passant (The Passerby; 1972-1975), about an African woman in France, which reflects in part the solitude she felt in Paris at that time. This film has a soundtrack of music and poetry, but no dialogue.
Kaddu Beykat (Peasant Letter; 1975), the first ethnographic film Faye made in Senegal, brought her international attention through film awards at FIFEF (Festival International du Film d'Expression Française), FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma d'Ouagadougou), and the Berlin Film Festival and through receipt of the Georges Sadoul Prize in France. It remains her most widely reviewed and analyzed film.

Films as Director:
1972 La Passante (The Passerby)
1973 Revanche (Revenge)
1975 Kaddu beykat (The Voice of the Peasant)
1979 Fad'jal; Goob na ñu (The Harvest Is In)
1980 Man Sa Yay (I, Your Mother)
1981 Les âmes au soleil (Souls under the Sun)
1982 Selbé et tant d'autres (Selbe and So Many Others)
1983 3 ans 5 mois (Three years five months)
1984 Ambassades nourricières (Culinary Embassies)
1985 Elsie Haas, femme peintre et cinéaste d'Haiti (Elsie Haas, Haitian Woman Painter and Filmmaker); Racines noires (Black Roots)
1989 Tesito
1996 Mossane

3.) I was not able to view any of her work on-line and unfortunately I don’t think Faye has her own homepage (because I couldn’t find it).
4.) I actually found Safie Faye through an introduction of women’s work on movies about the third world and globalization and so I decided to click on her name. I read a couple of her profiles and thought she was extremely interesting.
5.) Because Safi Faye is pretty well known, it was pretty easy to find information on her through the internet; however, I couldn’t find any link that would direct me to any of her films.

Ann Kaneko

Ann Kaneko graduated with an MFA in Film and Television Directing from UCLA. She is an independent filmmaker and cinematographer in LA. She is of Asian descent, probably Japanese. I did not find much personal information on Ann herself.
Against the Grain: about political artists resisting censorship in peru; she was a Fulbright Fellow.
100% Human Hair: a 'musical extravaganza' set in a wig shop in LA while she was in the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women.
Overstay: documentary about foreign migrant workers in Japan, funded by the Japan Foundation, local and international screenings
Lucy Goes Shopping, A Shortness of Breath, and Displaced. She also has shot many short films and documentaries.
Her Website is


I found Ann's work just by searching in google for women of color independent filmmakers. I chose a random site about a film festival and read the discription of Against the Grain. I searched for a biography on Ann, but found little information. It seems that most of her work has shown at film festivals.
It wasn't that hard to find the women thanks to google, but i did have much trouble finding good background information. I don't really feel Ann Kaneko's work is easily available. If someone had no access to the internet or film festivals, they may never hear of her work. I did, however, find a few blurbs from magazines or newspapers, but they were very small and could be easily overlooked.

Ngozi Onwurah


1. Ngozi Onwurah was born in Nigeria and grew up in Great Britian, graduating from UK's National Film and Television School. Her first short film, entitled "Coffee Coloured Children" won first place in the BBC Showreel competition in the UK.

2. After searching multiple sites, these are her films that I found:
• Coffee Coloured Children (1988)
• The Body Beautiful (1991)
• And Still I Rise (1993)
• Monday's Girls (1993)
• Siren Spirits (1994)
• The Desired Number (1995)
• Welcome II the Terrordome (1995)
• Siren Spirits: White Men Are Cracking Up (1996)
• Mama Africa (2002)
• Who Stole the Soul
• Best Wishes
• Fruits of Fear
• I Bring You Frankincense

I was not able to find anywhere to view these films, although they are on sale for educational institutions. However, Coffee Coloured Children was described by the WMM website as a "semi-autobiography" which "conveys the experience of children of mixed racial heritage." Their summary of this 15-minute film is as follows:
“Suffering the aggression of racial harassment, a young girl and her brother attempt to wash their skin white with scouring powder. Starkly emotional and visually compelling, this semi-autobiographical testimony to the profound internalized effects of racism and the struggle for self-definition and pride is a powerful catalyst for discussion.?

3. I was unable to find a site which let me view any of her films, but the Women Make Movies site contains some information about her films, and this link has information about various awards she has won and where her films are shown, which is primarily in Britian.

4. I began looking for filmmakers with a simple google search, which led me to an article from “Literature Film Quarterly? that mentioned Ngozi, and from there I just googled her name and found lots of information.

5. It was a bit difficult at first to know where to look for women of color filmmakers, but once I got a name there was plenty of information and one site led to another.

Michelle Parkerson


1. Michelle Parkerson is much more than a producer. She is also a poet, writer and known as an activist. Michelle was born in Washington D.C. She Later attended Temple University in PA. There she studied filmmaking. Her first achievement came while at Temple when she received a "Student Oscar" for her film Sojourn. She then did many films for Public Television. On many sites it was said that her biggest hit so to say was But Then, She's Betty Carter, which came out in 1980. She now today is a professor at Temple University.
2. Michelle has a long list o f films she has worked on. It includes: But Then, She's Betty Carter- It is a documentary about Betty Carter who is a jazz vocalist. Gotta Make This Journey-Showed a story about a black womens capella ensemble. Urban Odyssey-This about a black biker and his journey. The newest is Odds and Ends- about black Amazon warriors in the year 2096 and their struggles. This is not all of her Films but a good chunk of them.
3. I tried to view some of her work but I could not find anything without purchasing it. There is alot of information on what the movies are about and their plot descriptions but I could not find a place where i could even view a short piece of any of her films.
4. I found all the information on Michelle Parkerson by typing in Independent women filmmakers into Google. It produced alot of information for me. I then Looked at many of the women and thought that Michelle was the most interesting because not only was she African-American she is also lesbian and she was working at a time where being both of those things was not accepted. However, I got most of my information from a site called Independent Women Filmmakers . I got Information about the films themselves from IMDB .
5. It was very easy to find women of "color" however since i chose someone from a little while back it was hard to find a place where i could view her work. I thought however, that this was the most interesting blog posts we have had to do. I enjoyed having to look at one of these filmmakers.
Erica Koby

Trinh T. Minh-ha

Name: Trinh T. Minh-ha
Short Bio: Trinh T. Minh-ha was born in Vietnam in 1952, and immigrated to the United States in 1970 after studying in both Vietnam and the Philippines. Trinh studied music composition, ethnomusicology, and French literature at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where she received M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees. She is currently Chancellor's Distinguished Professor of Women's Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and associate professor of cinema, San Francisco State University. She has also taught at Harvard, Smith, the University of Illinois, and the National Conservatory of Music in Senegal.
Background Info: She is a filmmaker, writer, poet, literary theorist, educator, musical composer, and (un/non)ethnographer.


2. Her works include:

•"The Fourth Dimension" (87 mins, 2001)- examination of Japan through its art, culture, and social rituals.
•“Night Passage? (98 mins, 2004)- tells the story of three young friends traveling for a brief moment together on the train between life and death. Their journey into and out of the land of ‘awakened dreams’ occurs on a long ride on a night train.
• "A Tale of Love" (108 mins, 1995)- follows the quest of a woman in love with ‘Love’. The film is loosely inspired by THE TALE OF KIEU, the Vietnamese national poem of love which Vietnamese people see as a mythical biography of their ‘motherland,’ marked by internal turbulence and foreign domination.
• "Surname Viet Given Name Nam" (108 mins, 1989)- a film on culture, art and politics in China
• "Naked Spaces: Living is Round" (135 mins, 1985)- a film on identity and culture through the struggle of Vietnamese women.
• "Reassemblage" (40 mins, 1982)- a complex visual study of the women of rural Senegal.
• “Shoot for the Contents?- is a unique excursion into the maze of allegorical naming and storytelling in China. The film ponders questions of power and change, politics and culture, as refracted by Tiananmen Square events.


3. I haven’t seen any of her films, but this is her homepage.

4. I went to the WMM site and just browsed through the filmmakers. I chose to look up more about Trihn T. Mihn-ha because her films sounded interesting.

5. It wasn’t very difficult for me to search because there was the link to the site on the assignment post.

Tomonari Nishikawa

1/ Born in Nagoya, Japan/San Francisco-based. Received a BA in Cinema and Philosophy, SUNY Binghamton, 2003, and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.

2 & 3/ Filmography includes: Sketch Film #3 (2006, super 8, US); Market Street (2005, 16mm, US); Sketch Film #2 (2005, super 8, US); Sketch Film #1 (2005, super 8, US); Apollo (2003, 16mm, US/Japan); Frame Work (2003, 16mm, US). Also, an installation entitled: A Pinhole Behind Fences (2005, mixed-media, filmstrips, screen, and projectors), which can be seen here:

This was the only piece I was able to view, and based on this piece, and the description of the “Thread, Frame, and Flicker? film (described below), I’m a bit upset that I’m unable to see them; the stills from the works screened at the avant-garde film festivals, alongside the descriptions of the visuals are intriguing because Nishikawa is not only using tenets of avant-garde film in her work (exploration of space, time, non-narrative, non-linear structures), but she is also exploring the role of film itself, and manipulation of actual film to achieve new ways of representing and experiencing film.

“The Ninth Annual Views from the Avant Garde? at Film Society of Lincoln Center featured Nishikawa’s work, Market Street, which appears to be available by DVD purchase (independent marketing means), it also featured a later work from her, entitled Clear Blue Sky(2006, 4m; US) in “The Tenth Annual Views from the Avant Garde.?

Her most recent work is being screened through San Francisco Cinematheque:
Sunday, October 22 at 7:30pm
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street (corner of Third)
Tickets: 415-978-ARTS
Thread, Frame, and Flicker
Angelina Krahn and Tomonari Nishikawa In Person

The art of cinema may be ultimately optical and auditory, but its processes are chemical, electrical and material. Two young Bay Area-based film artists, Krahn and Nishikawa refract landscape and gesture through the technology called cinema and orchestrate its traces into expressive nuance and delicate visual pleasure. They will each screen a selection of their work with rent and re-sewn 16mm film, hand processed emulsions, pinhole and slit-aperture videos and pixilated films. Nishikawa is currently an artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

4/ As stated above, it seems that Nishikawa’s work remains largely a part of either major avant garde screenings (such as The New York Film Festival), or she is actively working to promote her own work (as in the Microcinema website), as well as using local and community-based experimental projects (like SF Cinematheque) as sites for screenings.
I stumbled upon Nishikawa’s work somewhat haphazardly: I visited a filmmaker named Vanessa Renwick’s website, whose experimental work I enjoy, and followed a link of hers to a Cinema Project site, which alerted me to a program being presented by Irina Leimbacher, a curator and artistic director of San Francisco Cinematheque, entitled, “First-Person in a Globalized World,? which was a springboard for a new program entitled Women’s Perspective in Film. An excellent jumping off point, yes? Alas, I was unable to find anything but a negative review of two short films (written by a man, with little content description to go on), and with most leads failing, I visited the SF Cinematheque website and reviewed their calendar of upcoming films, where I found the description of Nishikawa’s collaborative film.

5/ It was actually rather roundabout finding Nishikawa’s work at all, and even more difficult to determine any personal biography, beyond birth and education (no age even); also, with the exception of the short installation film, it was difficult to view any of the films I was able to find for free, or any of the actual length films at all. However, a review accompanying a screening of Apollo in an academic quarterly in the last year cited Nishikawa as a “film artist to watch,? so hopefully I will be seeing more of her work available soon.

Fina Torres

To see a photo of Fina Torres http://images.allmoviephoto.com/2000_Woman_on_Top/tn/fina_torres_woman_on_top_001.jpg

Fina Torres is a Venezuelan film director born in Caracas on October 7th, 1957. According to Wikipedia Fina Torres “studied design, photography and journalism in Venezuela and later on film at the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques in Paris.? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fina_Torres Fina Torres has worked as a film editor, camera operator, and script supervisor. After graduating, she made short films and documentaries.
Fina Torres’ major films are Oriana (1985), Luna Llena (1991), Celestial Clockwork (1993), Women on Top (2000), and Leap of Love (2005). For Oriana, Torres was the director and screenwriter, for Luna Llena, she was the producer, for Celestial Clockwork she was director, producer, and screenwriter, for Women on Top Torres was the director and executive producer and she wrote Leap of Love. For all the plot summaries of her movies I am using IMDb. Oriana is about a young girl is sent to a South American hacienda, where she learns about the life of her reclusive aunt and is a drama. Luna Llena is a 90 min film in Spanish and that is all IMDb has about it. The movies2 website says the filmis about two lovers that communicate their love despite being inmates in a Venezuela prison. http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=145131. Celestial Clockwork is a comedy about a woman who bolts from her wedding altar and flies from Venezuela to Paris to realize her dream of becoming a great opera star. Women on Top is a romance comedy about a Brazilian chef who moves to San Francisco when her husband, frustrated by her motion sickness, cheats on her. Leap of Love is a romance about a woman, who is a strong believer of the soul mate theory and rejects all men. To look at the plot summaries click on link to IMDb below.
Though I haven’t seen any of Torres’ films, after reading about the plot summaries I am happy to see that she uses women as her man characters. Luna Llena’s plot looks very interesting and unique. I would never have thought to make a movie about lovers in a prison.
Finding Torres was not that hard once I found the Wikipedia list for women filmmakers. Then I just went down the list and tried to find women that were outside of the USA. Then I just googled her name for images and other sites that had information about her and her movies. IMDb was also a great site that I have used before. It gives you a ton on information about all the movies out there. Here is the link to Torres on IMDb http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0868643/maindetails .

Lourdes Portillo


1. Lourdes Portillo is a filmmaker, producer and writer. She was born in Mexico, and has directed and produced a number of films. She has also written one film called “El Diablo Nunca Duerme?. Lourdes Portillo was first introduced to film making when a friend of hers asked for her help in making a movie. She was then 21. One of her most famous films that she directed has “Senorita Extravaida, Missing Young Woman?. This film is about an incident in Juárez, Mexico where hundreds of young women where raped and killed.
For a more on Lourdes Portillo visit http://www.lourdesportillo.com/index.html
For more on “Señorita Extravaida, Missing Young Woman?, visit http://www.lourdesportillo.com/senoritaextraviada/index.html#description
2. List of her works from the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0692409/):
a. Señorita Extravaida (2001)- This film is a documentary about and incident in Juárez, Mexico where hundreds of young women were and are still being raped and killed. Lourdes Portillo directed and produced this film.
b. Corpus (1999)- A home movie about Selena
c. Sometimes My Feet Go Numb (1996)- a short film interpretation of a poem by Wayne Corbitt. It discusses physical and psychological effects of AIDS drugs.
d. Diablo Nunca Duerme, El (1994)- A documentary about the murder of Portillo’s uncle. Lourdes Portillo directed, produced, and wrote this film.
e. La Ofrenda (1989)- A documentary about the Day of the Dead
f. Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (1985)- Lourdes Portillo directed and produced this film
g. Después del terremoto (1979)
3. I have not been able to see any of her work. Here is a link to her homepage where you can read about her and about her work: http://www.lourdesportillo.com/index.html
4. I found Lourdes Portillo by going to the Women Make Movies website (http://www.wmm.com/). There is a long list of women filmmakers and I chose her because I am very interested in Central and South American culture.
5. It was easy for me to find this filmmaker only because I knew where to look. Before this class I didn’t know of the organization Women Make Movies and I would of never of thought to look on the web site. If I didn’t know of these links, then I think that it would have been extremely difficult to find information on colored independent women filmmakers.

Women Filmmakers

Wenonah Wilms

Pamela Mathews

Nicole Auginash

Wenonah Wilms

In the past five years Wilms has really started writing, she has finished six feature-length screenplays and many short scripts. Using her grandmother’s stories about her life in government boarding school she was able to write Beaded Road. This script was selected by the 2006 Tribeca All Access Connects professional development program at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. In 2005 she had released her most recent work Sunshine she had support from the IFP-Minnesota. She currently works at a homeless for indigenous children shelter and as a graphic artist while living in Minneapolis.
I chose to look at Wilms because she seems very ambitious and I found it really impressive that she was able to complete six feature-lengths, show obviously has a very strong drive and passion. I wish that I had more of this or just time to spend. Also I was drawn to the topic of her film Beaded Road, in my American Indians in the cinema class we were learning about the government pressuring the assimilation of Indians through governmental acts this one taking place around 1879.



Here is a little more information on the IFP you should check it out, very helpful for area filmmakers.

Pamela Mathews

She is an accomplished actor, playwright, and director. She has one many awards for her work. In particular her film Only The Devil Speaks Cree won many awards in 2002 from multiple film festivals. As a playwright she excelled with countless pieces. Many that she is known for as far as Norway have been, The Virgin Sister Brigette Regina Virginia Grigid Explains It All For You 2000 Riddu Riddu Festival. Also working with Reel world Film Festival as the programmer and then as director for the 10th Annual Festival of New Native Plays and Playwrights. With a number of her plays winning awards she has become a well known.
After seeing the title of her film I wanted to know more about her and that was the main reason for choosing Mathews.

http://www.nativenetworks.si.edu/eng/rose/matthews_p.htm - open


Nicole Auginash

from Columbia Heights, Minnesota has been working with digital video. Currently working with a youth media organization known as In Progress based in Saint Paul. By focusing her schooling on media arts she has already became a peer instructor at Four Directions. Also she is developing a media course “Teen Drug Culture Through the Eye of a Camera?. She has participated in many local film festivals like Girls in the Director’s Chair Festival and New Voices Video Festival.
I found it was happy to see Auginash amongst the list of all of these very accomplished people. I couldn’t find her age but she looks young and by the groups she is associated with she seems to be. This is one of the main reasons that I chose to take a closer look at her. Also I always have to support the locals. The only film work that was listed on the website was her piece called A New Day In A New Life. This is a documentary of her little sister who has had many heart problems and surgeries. As director, writer and editor she has taken a lot of tenacity and I think its great she’s gotten credit for this.



Pratibha Parmar

1. Pratibha Parmar was born in 1967 in Nairobi, Kenya. She studied at Bradford University and did her postgrad studies at Birmingham University. She is now a Board member of Women in Film and Television in the UK and also a member of The Directors Guild of Great Britain.

2. She received a number of awards for her work, including the Frameline Award in 1993, the Pink Peacock Award in 1995, winner of the Public Prize in 1994, and the winner of the Public Prize for Best Foreign Film in 1992. Her films include Warrior Marks (1993), Khush (1991), and Sita Gita (2000).

3. I was unable to find a link to watch Warrior Marks, however I did read a summary of it. This film is a one-hour documentary about the female genital mutilation custom that is practiced around the world in a variety of cultures, including 25 African countries and parts of the Middle East and Asia. I feel that it is incredibly admirable for someone to bring this issue to the attention of the public, especially in such a public arena such as filmmaking, as it is a practice that needs to be stopped! It is not uncommon for women to die after having this excruciating procedure, not to mention to shame and degradation it is associated with.
Here is a link to Parmar's website, where you can read the summary

4. Parmar is a very well known filmmaker, so her works can be found quite easily. I did a search for her on Amazon.com and a variety of her films are available. She also presents many of her films at various film festivals.

5. This filmmaker was not difficult to find, mostly because she is so well known. She has had a very successful career, and was even featured in a tribute at the New Festival in New York in 1999.


1.) Christine Choy was born in 1954 (I couldn't find a definate place of where she was born, but one article mentioned that she was "half-Korean") and at age 14 moved to the United States. She originally graduated from college with a degree in urban planning from Princeton and didn't really get into filmmaking until she was studying architechture in St. Louis, where she took part in the production of an animated film called "Dead Earth." She went on to form Third World Newsreel and helped collect foreign films, civil rights films, feminist films, and other community activist documentaries.
2.) Some titles of her works include: Ha Ha Shanghai, In the Name of the Emporer, The Shot Heard 'Round the World, Best Hotel on Skid Row, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, and Mississippi Triangle. She recieved an Academy Award nomination for "Who Killed Vincent Chin?," which is a documentary about "the murder of Vincent Chin, an automotive engineer mistaken as Japanese who was slain by an assembly line worker who blamed him for the competition by the Japanese auto makers that were threatening his job" (from imdb.com).
3.) I couldn't find a website just about her, but there is a page in the faculty directory at NYU that you can view here .
4.) She was recently featured at the Women of Color Film Festival .
5. It was difficult to find a biography about her, even though I was able to find a list of her films at imdb.com. I think the fact that she was nominated for an Oscar and that she teaches at NYU made it a little easier to find out about her.

October 14, 2006

Ayoka Chenzira


1. Ayoka Chenzira is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, and the first African American woman animator. Born November 8, 1953 in Philadelphia (Penn.), Chenzira attended New York University and Columbia University/Teachers’ College. She is also an advocate for film education, and has taught countless individuals around the world—including special projects in Africa. Notably, Chenzira helped to develop the graduate program in Media Arts Production at City College in New York and was the first person honored with the William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Chair in the Arts at Spelman College. As of 2003, she is part of the faculty at Spelman where she runs their Digital Moving Image Salon.
2. Her films include: (from the Internet Movie Database)
1) Flying Over Purgatory (2007)—which is currently in production
2) Alma's Rainbow (1994)—a comedy/drama about a “good-mother? and her “sexually repressed? daughter
3) Zajota and the Boogie Spirit (1989)—an animated film that documents the origins of popular African culture while addressing the issue of slavery
4) The Lure and the Lore (1988) (V)—a short film that uses traditional Jamaican lore in order to dramatize performance artist Thomas Pinnok’s move to New York in the 60's.
5) Hair Piece: A Film for Nappyheaded People (1984)—a short animation/satire that addresses this personal hair issue among African Americans.
6) Syvilla: They Dance to Her Drum (1979)—a short film that documents the famous African American concert dancer, Syvilla Fort
3. I have not yet seen any of her works, but she does have an amazing homepage that shows all of the work she’s done, the current projects she’s on, and a way to contact her at Red Carnelian Films. There’s also a cool trailer that features her Red Carnelian Films collection.
4. First of all, I would like to say that I was incredibly disturbed to find that I—a film major—could not really think of any indie-woman filmmakers. However, we are all still learning, and will all continue to learn about new and amazing things in life. It’s only disheartening when we choose NOT to be open. This results in both a loss and a growing cultural barrier in our world. For this blog, I followed the “Sister’s in Cinema? webpage. Although I seemed to have chosen Ayoka in a somewhat random fashion, I did learn a lot about this very talented woman. Fortunately, most of her films appear to be available—so I think that I’ll have to go and check them out some time.
5. After researching Ayoka, I thought that she was very well known in the indie/woman category, but not as much outside of that—however, being the first African-American woman animator does put her on a higher pedestal. Amazingly though, she appears to disprove the stereotype that only big-budgeted films get all of the awards. Overall, I believe that she is an incredible and highly respected professional in the film industry, who appears to make movies that actually mean something and inspire us on many different cultural levels.

Deepa Mehta

1. Deepa Mehta is a Indian filmmaker based out of Toronto. She graduated from the University of Delhi. In 1973 she moved to Canada.
2. Her most famous work is her elements triliogy, Fire (1996), Earth (1998) and Water (2005). The trilogy is set in India. Although the films often have the same actors, the films are very much seperate with each taking place in different time periods. They are more of a trilogy in tespect to their similar themes and subject (women in India).
3. Water
Another interesting thing I found was a article from an assistant on Water and the difficulty they had in making the film. That story is located here.
4. I remeber Water screening at the Landmark Theater chain last year. Her films are not the types you would see playing at the mall, so their distribution beyond that is limited.
5. It was easy for me to find her, when Water came out I wanted to see it but was too busy to make it to the theater. Its out on video now and I am planning on renting it.

Women Film Directors of Color

<http://www.geocities.com/okieprof/OSUWomenFilm.htm> Hey group! I was browsing around on the Net looking for a good site for this blog and I came across this one. As I read about the different documentaries that were being shown on the site, including :"Voices Heard, Sisters Unseen", "Fire", "Nobody Knows My Name" and "BLack Women On: The Light, Dark Thang"....I noticed a familiar name! Ms. Rachel Raimist! Her documentary is about women of color that are connected through the music that they enjoy and love - hip-hop. Along with her documentary there is a brief overview of Deepa Mehta - the director of "Fire" which dipicts sexuality in India, a highly acclaimed, and highly controversial film. To learn more about Deepa Mehta visit http://movies.aol.com/celebrity/deepa-mehta/192088/main?sem=1&ncid=AOLMOV00170000000009
Grace Poore is another mentioned female director, her documentary is "Voices Heard, Sisters Unseen". To find out more about Grace Poore http://www.wmm.lfchosting.com/filmcatalog/makers/fm294.shtml


As a woman born of Mexican Parents, Aurora Guerrero always had a strong desire to learn about her background and family's culture. Guerrero earned her Bacheolor's degree in Psycology and Chicano studies from the the University of California Berkeley and later recieved her Master's degree in Filmmaking from Cal Arts.

Guerrero uses her talents as a director in filmmaking to express her cultural roots to audiences everywhere. “I’ve been motivated to write from a personal place because there’s such a huge absence of Chicana/Latina/queer/female-centered stories in the film industry that resonate as real and that offer a smart, critical perspective on our communities,? she said.

Some of her most famous works include "Pura Lengua," a film which debued in 2005 at the Sundance Film festival and "Viernes girl," a film which won the 2005 HBO/New York Latino International Film Festival short film competition. Another of her more notible works is Mosquita y Mari. Guerrero wrote feature-length script for the film which won her the Sundance Ford Fellowship and Paul Robeson Development Grant in 2005 and was selected for this year’s Tribeca All Access program.

Aurora Guerrero has several articles on her in numerous film magazines and websites. She was recently voted #13 on Film Maker Magazine's list of the top 25 Faces of Independent Film in 2006. Although these sources talk about Guerrero's background, accomplishments and projects past and current, they don't actually tell you about the movies themselves other than a brief plot synopsis.

Guerros's work show at film festivals all around America, but none ever appear in major theaters.

If you do a search for "independent filmmakers," you'll have to dig a little deep, but you should run into articles that have been written about the latin Director/Writer. I found her listed on "Film Festival Today," "Hispanic Magazine," "Hispanic Business," and "Filmmaker Magazine."

October 13, 2006

Tahmineh Milani

Tahmineh Milani is an internationally renowned Iranian filmmaker. Born in 1960 in Tabriz, Iran, Milani graduated with a degree in architecture and began writing screenplays and doing behind the scenes work in 1980, a year after the revolution. She is now one of the most famous directors in Iran. On August 26, 2001, Milani was arrested and held by Iran’s Islamic judiciary for several weeks following the release of her film The Hidden Half. The film was the first that dared to deal with the events of the revolution.

Her Films (from the Internet Movie Database)
Atash Bas (2006) aka Cease Fire
The Unwanted Woman (2005)
Vakonesh Panjom (2003) aka The Fifth Reaction
Nimeh-ye penhan (2001) aka The Hidden Half: tells the story of Fereshteh, a wife of a Tehran judge who is charged with investigating a female political prisoner. Fereshteh slips a diary into his suitcase, disclosing her own history of political activism and romantic affair with a married man, hoping her husband will listen to her and the prisoner.
Two Women (1999)
Kakadu (1996)
Digeh che khabar? (1992) aka What Else is New?
Afsane-ye-ah (1991) aka The Legend of the Sigh
Children of Divorce (1989)

I have not seen any of her work yet. However, I have just found that several of her movies are available through Netflix so they are now in my queue.

I decided I would like to find an Iranian filmmaker so I simply entered “Iranian women film directors? into google. I found an article about Iranian women filmmakers and Tahmineh Milani was one of the directors discussed. I googled her name and found several interviews and articles written about her. Although I have not been able to view any of her work yet, it was quite interesting to read some of the interviews. This is a link to one of the better interviews. In it, Milani discusses among other things, the role that the government plays in the film industry and how she approaches her own films. Milani says, “As a person who thinks about the health of my society, I try to make films that will create a movement — for example Two Women — so there will be discussions and debates. I'm even willing to pay the price, really, even if they swear at me, make me look really bad, as long as the issues are talked about and the opponents and proponents exchange their opinions.?

So Yong Kim


So Yong Kim was born in Pusan, Korea in 1968. She moved to the United States when she was 12. She lived in Korea Town with her family until she was 17 when she moved. She met her husband while attending art school in Chicago and since meeting him, they have lived in London, New York, Tokyo, Iceland, and now reside in a secluded house in New York.

So Yong Kim's recent recognition has come from her involvment in the 2006 Sundance Festival where she was showing her film "In Between Days." Although I was unable to find clips from the film, I have learned it is a love story with unknown Korean actors and filmed mostly in Korea. It is a story that, even if you're not Korean or an immigrant you can still relate to it. I was able to find a video interview of So Yong Kim where she talks about her filmwork at the following website...


I originally found information on this director from the Film Maker magazine website. With her involvement in the Sundance Festival, however, I was able to find other information on her somewhat easily. Reading a few reviews on her work on "In Between Days" make it sound as though she could be someone to look for in the future. With her next film already being planned, it will be interesting to continue following her.

For another interview with So Yong Kim go to http://www.indiewire.com/people/2006/01/by_indiewire_ja_2.html

Stephanie Scott's Women "of color" Filmmakers


1. Nielu Patekar is an independent filmmaker who also acts, writes, directs, and produces. Patekar noted on her website that she prides herself in coming up with creative concepts for films. She is active in the field of education and is currently writing plays and scripts. She completed her B.Sc. in Physics in 1975 and was awarded 'National Scholarship' a few years before in 1971. Her most recent short film was a film that she scripted and directed and was called "Life is Beautiful". This film was about the success story of a girl who had cerebral palsy. Another film that she has recently completed is a film entitled, "Hello, It's Us", which is about the work of the social activist Baba AmteIn. Patekar also scripted and directed this film. In her free time she practices solar plexus yoga and hattha yoga, which she has been doing since she was seven years old.


2. Nisa Jaie McCoy is a filmmaker, writer, producer, musician, and an actor. She has graphic design-multimedia degree, attended Gov. Magnet School of Arts where she focused on Performing and Visual Arts and is currently working on her B.A of international business in marketing and a minor in communication arts at Old Dominion University. McCoy created her own media and production company called Clear Rain Entertainment, which she is now using to establish new ways to enhance the artistic creativity of international entertainment. Currently she is working on film, writing, and music projects. One of the scripts that she is working on is a dark comedy called "Hollyweird".


3. Madeline Anderson is a film editor, producer, director, and documentary filmmaker. She made her first film in 1961 while she was working for Andover Productions. This film was called Integration Report 1, which documented the first year of American's sit-ins. Anderson produced this film on her own very small budget. Between the years of 1964-1969 she was the associate producer at WNET-TV in New York. In the early 1970's she was the supervising film editor, producer, and director on Sesame Street and The Electric Company. During this time she also founded her own production company called Onyx Productions. In the year 1977 she became the first African American woman to produce a television series called Infinity Factory, which was a math show that targeted inner-city youths. Currently Anderson is the Associate Director of the Office of Black Ministry in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.

Mira Nair


1. Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair Was Born in India and Studied there and at Harvard. She began in acting and then switched to directing. Her first films were documentaries. Her films span many different genres including romance, drama and comedy. They also focus on many different cultures. She has worked with Denzel Washington, Uma Thurman Reese Witherspoon and many others including a host of talented actors from her home country of India.

2. Some noteworthy films include
Vanity Fair- an adaptation of the novel set in post colonial England starring Reese Witherspoon
Monsoon Wedding - the story of an upper middle class family in India and the traditions surrounding arranged marriages
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love- set in 16th century India it is a story that explore the caste system, friendship and love
11.09.01- A documentary following an Indian family in Queens and their suffering after a son is lost on Sep.11 and they are later accused of terrorism

3. I love this director. I own both Monsoon Wedding and Vanity Fair have seen Kama Sutra and are counting down the days till the Namesake comes to theaters. This post was really exciting for me because I never knew how extensive her filmography was, and now I have a very long list of movies I need to watch. Her films are always so incredibly beautiful and have made me fall in love with India. The colors she uses are always so rich and the stories are equally fantastic.
The Namesake

watch this trailer, I defy you not to fall in love with it :)

4. I fell in love with her films freshmen year in my 3rd World Lit class. We watched Monsoon Wedding after reading The God of Small Things (an amazing book everyone should read) I went out and bought it right away. Then I bought Vanity Fair without ever having seen it. I had no idea she directed Kama Sutra but I saw it several years ago when it happened to be on tv.

5. his one was easy for me because she all ready is one of my favorite directors. I really am pleased with her success and that her films are starting to be more publicized.

YouTube Created by former St. Paul student

Hey everyone! I didn't know this. Did you?

Jawed Karim, now 27

One of the YouTube creators graduated from St. Paul's Central HS. He just sold YouTube for 1.65 Billion dollars.

READ the story: The Star Trib article HERE

See his first YouTube video HERE

October 12, 2006


View image
1.) Yvette Smalls, is a African-American lecturer, folk artist, director, hair sculptor and historian. She has directed film nad music videos. She has done numerous presentations on hair and the culture of hair. She has done presentations of this kind across the country. She currently teaches at Temple University. She is also the current president of The Delaware Valley Chapter of The National Braiders Guild.

2.)"Hair Stories" 1998 40 Min. Color 16mm
This short film uses interviews with members of the African-American community to look at the culture of hair. The film discusses the cultural and historical aspects of beauty in African-American Culture. The main emphasis of the film is on hair and the standards that are set regarding hair in the African-American community. Smalls, interviews people such as Joe Lewis, and Erykah Badu.

3.) I was not able to view the piece. I can imagine that I would enjoy it though. I think that films on subjects like beauty and social norms that have been developed surrounding beauty are more interesting when it looks at multiple sides of the issue. I can imagine that the perspectives given by Lewis, and Badu differ making this a probably quite interesting film.

4.)I found Smalls on "The Women of Color Film Festival" website. I found her bio and information on the film under the category "Past Festivals". The film was screened in 2002, at the festival.

5.) I did not use any of the suggested links to start with so my journey seemed to take awhile. Even though I ended up at one of the recommenede sites I still started at Google and went from there. I was surprised that there was not more on the subject, or that the links I did come up with were not very useful. I found alot of information on the Women of Color Film Festival website. It was a valueable resource with lots of helpful and useful info.

Women of Color Make Film!

1. Since 1991, a Women of Color Film Festival has taken place annually at UCSC. This festival is free and anyone can attend. It features film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, lectures, and music relating to or created by women of color. More than 300 films have been sceened at this festival over the past 15 years. Each year has a theme to which all of the festival materials relate, at least loosely. This festival, and others like it, are important in gender and racial struggles for equality because they create high visibility forums for women of color to share their art, speak their minds, and work together to create change.
2. One director that has been featured at the UCSC Women of Color Film Festival is Aurora Guerrero. Guerrero was born near San Francisco to immigrants from Mexico. She has created many films, most of them short. Her film Pura Lengua, about a girl who survives hardship by expressing herself through poetry and art, was screened at the 2005 UCSC Women of Color Film Festival, and went on to be a 2005 Sundance Film Festival selection. In 2005 Guerrero also won the HBO/NYILFF short film competition with another film entitled Viernes Girl. Guerrero co-founded Womyn Image Makers, and is still active in making film today.
3. Another director that has participated in the UCSC Women of Color Film Festival is Anita Wen-Shin Chang. Chang's films are generally shorts that tell political messages through the stories of people she knows or has met. She combines political content with aesthetic experimentation. Her most recent short that was screened at the UCSC festival was about how she discovered that her 100 year old Taiwanese grandmother had some radical ideas, and had been an activist when she was younger. As well as making films, Chang teaches university courses.

October 11, 2006

Grace Poore


1. Grace Poore is a South Asian lesbian writer and filmmaker who was born and raised in Malaysia and has been living in the United States for the past 20 years. Poore uses her films to advocate for the end of violence against women and girls. One area she focuses on is the sexual abuse seen in South Asian communities. Along with filmmaking, Poore has worked for the United Nations and the US-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Her films are used in battered women's programs, workshops for community and campus groups, as well as mental health agencies around the world.

2. The two films by Grace Poore that I found are:
The Children We Sacrifice, a documentary about incestuous sexual abuse of the South Asian child. Poore includes her own story, other survivors' stories, interviews with South Asian mental health professionals, art, and statistical data. The result is a personal as well as historical narrative of this violent aspect of South Asian communities.
Voices Heard, Sisters Unseen, a film about how survivors of domestic violence are trying to change the way the justice system treats victims of domestic violence trying to find help and safety. This is seen through personal narratives, poetry, and music.

3. I was not able to see any of the films, but after reading about her and her films I really want to find them. Here are two sites with her biography and information about her films: http://www.speakoutnow.org/People/GracePoore.html and http://www.wmm.ifchosting.com/filmcatalog/makers/fm294.shtml

4. I started looking at the W.O.C festivals from the links on the blog, and dug from there finally ending at the Speakout! website.

5. Even though we had the advantage of the recommended websites, it was still difficult to find information about specific filmmakers and what their work was. I googled Grace Poore and found very little significant information. I had never really thought about the lack of female filmmakers in Hollywood, but after this assignment it is pretty obvious and frustrating. One thing that was helpful, however, is that Poore's films seem pretty well known, which helped the search for information about them.

Tracey Deer

tracey deer.gif

1. Tracey Deer. She is a documentary filmmaker and a Native American. She grew up in the Kahnawake reserve near Quebec. She realized she wanted to do documentaries after working for a local news show and found that there are many real stories that need to be told. She got hired by “Rezolution productions? and promoted to co-director for the film “One more River: The Deal that Split the Cree.? After the success of “One more River? she pitched her own idea, “Mohawk Girls? which deals with three Native American teenagers growing up in the 21st century. “Mohawk Girls? was released in 2006. Deer is committed to expressing the views of Native Americans and to make a difference in how others view Native Americans.
2. Two films:
-“One More River: The Deal that Split the Cree? (Co-director), a documentary that follows the events leading up to a vote on agreements between the Cree nation and Quebec.

-“Mohawk Girls? (Director), the story of teenage Native American girls and the struggles they go through. She focuses on three girls from Kahnawake (her home reserve).

3. I was not able to view either of these films. The Women Making Movies site had two pictures from “Mohawk Girls? but that was all.

4. I found Tracey Deer through on the Native Networks page . I then decided to see if she had any other work so I went to the WMM site and surprisingly she came up right away. A note about “Mohawk Girls? was on the home page.

5. I knew that I wanted to look up a Native American filmmaker so I google searched it. A search for “Native American women directors? did not work but when I took out ‘women’ I got one useful link to the “Native Networks? page. It was difficult to find any film or video clips from the movies. The only things I found were interviews with her. Her homepage is just a link to email her.

Do You Know...

that you can make TV/Video on campus at the CLA Studios?

Free Screening at the Varsity in Dinkeytown (just RSVP)

Co-director and cinematographer Lisa Leone began her career as a photographer, shooting celebrities such as Moby, Lauryn Hill, and Spike Lee. As a cinematographer, Leone has shot a number of independent films and served as Second Unit Director for Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut."



Iraqi Filmmaker

Amidst exploding bricks and death threats, Baghdad's Independent Film and Television College has sprung defiantly to life, teaching young Iraqis to wield cameras in place of guns. The school, established in 2004, is the first "free-of-charge film-training centre" in the city. Its goal is to train citizens in the art of video making, while providing access to equipment.

The first class of students to graduate has produced four films. I'll focus on a Kirkuk woman, Hiba Bassem's creation.

Bassem's 35-minute tale recites her experience in Baghdad after the war, when she returns to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. Through the year she tackles school, finding a home, dealing with her family, finding a job, and how "to come to terms with her position as a woman on her own."

The film won the Silver Prize at March's Al-Jazeera Film Festival.


Kasi Lemmons


So much so little

What was interesting about this short vlog was the black shading around the screen that allows viewers to only focus on what it is that the creator wants them to and makes viewers feel like we are seeing it through her eyes and her POV (it reminds me of Being John Malkavich). Also I found it interesting that the creator of this vlog used video clips in the shape of photographs and kind of created a scrapbook of photos from here life. To me it is representative of our memory. Our memory is not continuous, similar to film, it is made up of shots, bits and pieces. So in order for her to give viewers a look into her life she first indicates that it is through her eyes, how she sees herself and how she sees others view her, and also that it is the bits and pieces she can seem to recall. I'm not sure how to attach a link so here is the direct link in case it doesn't work.


Gina Prince-Bythewood



Gina Prince-Bythewood

Gina was adopted by a primarily white family as a child. She graduated from UCLA

Gina began working for the mainstream media before she became an independent filmaker.Her early credits include "A Different World" and "Felicity." She worked as a producer/consultant/ writer at different times for both series.
Her ascent into independent stardom came when she wrote, directed and co-produced with Spike Lee "Love and Basketball." The film debuted in 2000 at the Sundance Film Festival. Following that, it received seven awards and was nominated for four others.

Her film deals with feminist attitudes from the begining. In the trailer it opens up with a young girl playing basketball with boys who don't think she can play ball. The gaze is neutral in this film as both the main male and female characters are subject to each other's gaze during the dance and during the strip portion.

This film touches on the theme that women have a harder time breaking into any male dominated field. We talk about film, this movie addresses sports and in particular basketball. "There's no red carpet laid out for me."

I find the premise of this film not straying away from cliche. It may be ground-breaking in the respect that a female directed it and it may display more emotion than a male director, but like the other basketball film directed by Spike Lee, it reinforces that the only goal African Americans can aspire to is to make it in the NBA.

I found this director through the "Sisters in Cinema" page.

She was fairly easy to locate since her film grew in popularity.

October 9, 2006

Artist Talk: Wednesday, October 11, 7-9pm



Aviel Goodman, Ashley Wilkes, Shannon Bangs, and Kevin Barlow, the four artists featured in our current photo exhibit, Channels: 4 Digital Artists, will be in-house to discuss their work at an intimate Artist Talk on Wednesday, October 11 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Discover how these cutting-edge artists produce their work using digital cameras, computer graphics, and their own creative compulsions. Ask questions, soak up the vibe. The event will be facilitated by the show's guest Curator, Mark Wojahn.

Artist Talk: Wednesday, October 11, 7-9pm
Exhibition Dates: September 16 - November 21st

All events are FREE and open to the public.

* * *Extra Credit for anyone who attends and posts about it! * * *

October 8, 2006

Hard Candy

Hard Candy is a film I watched this weekend. The film was directed by David Slade and written by Brian Nelson.

This film definitely falls under the "Feminist Film" category. It's a film about a 14 year old girl and a 32 year old man. They meet on-line, and their relationship unravels from there. At first, I felt that she was going to fall victim to this older man, but then she drugs him and takes charge. I would love to reveal more, however, I don't want to give away the good parts because I hope you will all watch this film.

I thought this was significant in studying feminist film due to the age of the lead character. It brings feminism into the realm of teenage girls. Feminism and feminist film doesn't need to be about adults, it can also be about girls. I thought this movie inspired and empowered girls to stand up for themselves, and it served as warning to men who seek to take advantage of them.

Another reason why I thought this film is significant in studying "Feminist Film" is that it was directed and written by two men. I spaced out during the title credits, so I missed the gender of the director and writer. I was absolutely shocked to discover they were both men, and not women. I think it's great that men can also produce feminist film. And, since the film industry has been accused of following a patriarchal system, it helps to have male advocates of feminism on the inside.

Assignment: Research Women "Of Color" (& Indie Women) Filmmakers

"Feminism is the political theory and practice that struggles to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, disabled women, lesbians, old women-as well as white, economically privileged, heterosexual women."

-Barbara Smith, ed., But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies, 1986.

Are you still wondering about feminism(s)?, read some quotes - here

Want to remind yourself about "Women of Color Feminisms", read here and here

Some great articles (available online) about Women of Color Feminisms - here

+ + + +

Assignment Details:

For this blog post, you are to research women "of color" filmmakers (or independent women filmmakers (meaning no Hollywood $ to make their movies)). First, consider what you've seen/who you may know - search names, film titles, key words and see if there's something you have seen. Second, browse through the many links on this blog (right sidebar, scrolling down). There are links to feminist distributors (WMM), many w.o.c. film festivals, and some sites like "Sisters in Cinema" (about Black women filmmakers). Magazines like - Filmmaker often do "best of" lists and articles like this one (which includes a number of new/emerging filmmakers of color).

Post Requirements:
1 - name, short bio, background info on filmmaker (and image if you can find it)
2 - names, short summary of any of their work
3 - any reflections on their work (if you are able to view), and post link to the work and/or homepage
4 - where you've found them (and/or where their work shows)
5 - how easy/difficult it was for you to find these women (the where are the women ?)

* Post by NOON on Monday, 10/16!

+ + + +

Rachel's W.O.C. Filmmaker Post - EXAMPLE

1 - Filmmaker: Eunhee Cho (Korean, US based)

Korean-born Eunhee Cho, 29, began her first feature, Inner Circle Line, as an MFA project at the Art Institute of Chicago. Blending an experimental narrative — the synchronous story of a man (a depressed subway operator) and a woman (a techno DJ), both named Youngju — with a melancholy DV-shot depiction of downtown Seoul, Inner Circle Line is an international hybrid. From its Chicago origins it went on to attract production funding from the Korean Film Council and postproduction funding in the U.S. after Cho met producer Alan Chan at the IFP Rough Cuts Lab.

2 - Inner Circle Line seems to be her only work listed anywhere. This is a student film and has screened at many film festivals like SXSW and AAIFF.

3 - Watch the trailer here


I found the trailer visually moving. I'm not clear on the narrative (story), beyond there are two characters - one male and one female - who share the same name. She's a DJ. What moves me most is the visuals (the cinematography), the movement, rhythm and pacing (the editing). I am a sucker for beautifully shot llandscapes and movement.

4 - I found Eunhee through Filmmaker magazine's "Top 25" to watch article. I read this magazine often and love to see who is coming out of film school. In this 25, I was excited to see one of my old students (Ham Tran) and lots of emerging women filmmakers. I chose Eunhee because her work sounded really intriguing so I went to her website to view. Unfortunately, most filmmakers in the festival circuit see little light of day. With alternative DVD rental houses (like Netflix), I'm hoping she gets picked up for some kind of distribution and I can see this film somewhere I can access.

5 - It was easy for me to find many "w.o.c. filmmakers". This is my professional field, my area of research and interest, and I am a w.o.c. filmmaker so I know where to find women making movies, like me!

Dinosaur Comic

This is one of my favorite web comics and it is constantly littered with higher level learning terms.
I thought people would enjoy this one.
The Male Gaze

October 4, 2006

The Colors of "The Piano"

< While I watched the piano, I was shocked at how much colors affected the mood, ideas, and actions of the characters. I consider myself an artist (or at least an aspiring one) so I instinctually notice the use of color in media. I found that Jane Campion truly used her pallet of colors to create the beautiful canvass and masterpiece onscreen. While blue was a constant reminder of the sorrow, pain, and lonliness that Ada felt throughout the movie...it was the use of black that interested me more. Campion's use of the color black created a morbid and funeral like ambiance for me while I watched. With Ada shrouded in a thick black dress and bonnet for the majority of the movie, it seemed to me that she was either on her way, or preparing to go to a funeral. That suspicion kept the suspense very high throughout the movie. It is not until the end that the viewer learns that the death would be her own (metaphorically speaking). When she throws her piano overboard, it is as if a part of her is dying...part of her soul has been bruised so deeply by the whole experience, that it too is now black. Furthermore, once she is plunged into the dark blue water, she seems to have no fear...she allows the darkness of the water to engulf her. In addition to her wardrobe, she requests of Baines to be able to "work off" the black keys instead of the white ones. (While there are clearly more white keys than black ones on a piano, and therefore less for her to "work off" this also made a impact on me). It seemed as though the pure white keys were too sacred to her to allow them to be tainted by Baines's advances. Although later in the film, when she falls in love with him, it is the white key that she gives to him. Of all the colors implying things throughout the film, it was Campion's use of black that stood out to me....any one have any other thoughts? >

A bit more on Bluebeard

In class yesterday we discussed the relationship between The Piano and the Bluebeard story. I just want to clear up some info on the story. In class the story was summarized, however someone asked if Bluebeard kills his wife after she gives him the bloody key (in some versions its a bloody egg) I know the answer given was that yes she does die, but that is incorrect. Of course it is impossible to know how the story was told originally in the oral tradition, however in the original literary versions, the young wife does not die. The text by Charles Perault is generally accepted as the original. The Brothers Grimm also wrote a version and they were familiar with the Perrault text. In neither of these is the young woman murdered. Her brothers come to rescue her and they kill Bluebeard. What exactly this does for our analysis of the Piano, I’m not sure, but it is a key portion of the story. I just wanted to clear that up. Its a fascinating story, the Perrault version is very good, and Its very aplicable to feminist theory actually. Its super short so if you are interested I would definately read it. However, I do think that if Jane Campion was trying to use the Piano as a way of retelling of the story, she really missed Perrault's original intent for the message.

October 3, 2006

Bell Hooks, 'The Piano', where do I begin?

Viewing part of the film "bell hooks: Cultural Criticism and Transformation" today in class was interesting to say the least. I was intrigued when I learned that Hooks was an English Professor in New York and that the film was going to discuss Cultural Studies and Representation. However, once the film began I was shocked at the content. Hook's conversation with the camera and the viewer was very intellectual and interesting but the film clips seemed to have been dropped in at random. Also the film clips were so extremely graphic in content, and I was more disturbed then educated about 'motivated representation', 'enlightened witness', and the other terms that Hooks defined. I feel Hooks could have discussed the topics of feminism without such graphic film clips that end up completely distracting the viewer from the conversation at hand. What I was left with after watching part of this film and from reading the articles in the course packet is that feminists only want to discuss how women are displayed as sexual objects. This was reaffirmed in the first film that we watched, 'The Piano', as Jane Campion portrays the main character Ada as a sexual object. The characters Bains and Stewart both want to have sex with Ada. The film does show Ada naked and does show Ada having sex; hence she is a sexual object. What part of feminist belief was being shown here? Mulvey states that a spectacle fantasy is where "women are objects of visual pleasure". 'The Piano' is a perfect example of this. In my opinion the gaze in this film was always male since Ada was exploited as a sexual object in many ways. Overall, I would have to say that I am confused right now on what feminism is. At this point in time I see feminism as women who want to be portrayed as something other than a sexual object but when making feminist film end up portraying women just how they do not want to be portrayed.

October 2, 2006

Laugh out Loud

So.. I recently had just a wonderful weekend... I'm being totally sarcastic. After the events, I really wasn't in the mood to watch something that couldn't make me laugh. While I did watch en entry from The Faux Press on Vidlicious Vlogs that was about her emotional healing from childhood trauma, my own psyche wasn't ready for any more of that. So... I started looking around and I found, quite possibly, one of the funniest things I have seen in a while. I found an entry called Biff's Question Song (Stand-Up Comedy) on YouTube. It was just what I needed to cheer myself up. It consists of just Biff (Tom Wilson) up on stage singing a song with a guitar. He is positioned directly in the middle, with a camera positioned almost straight ahead of him. The content is all about his experiences with people asking him about his time on Back to the Future. He makes a joke about being asked all the time about Michael J. Fox, and if he can do the things he did in the movie in pictures with fans, and if things were real or not. I guess this isn't the most sophisticated of vlogs, but it sure make my day.


Persephassa Vlog


Putting on lipstick...
Talking about birds...
Keyhole & secret exhibitionist

First, I think it is key to give you some background on Roxanne Carter, the author, and often subject, of the vlog Persephassa. Carter is not a filmmaker, but a grad student at Brown University pursuing a degree in the Literary Arts; namely, she is a fiction writer. That said, I find that her vlogs are particularly interesting because her usage of the medium is, in a manner, to comment on questions of filmic “truth (the active presence of fiction in even “documentary?-style narratives),? of the creation of the subject (and thus, a self), and of vulnerability that so often accompanies an attempt to be truthful through a visual form. Without the usage of the type of camerawork, or for that matter equipment, associated with filmmakers using vlogs as an expressive form, Carter is limited to a camera that takes 40-second silent clips, which she then splices together, adding music, dialogue, and voice-over during the editing process.
There are three vlogs in particular I wish to analyze (though two will be brief), beginning with the vlog, “Putting on lipstick...? In this brief video, Carter situates the camera in a static position (medium eye-level, so that we feel as if we are sitting across from her), and as the fade up opens to an empty chair against a brick wall, she enters the frame, always aware of being watched by the camera. Dressed in garb quite reminiscent of the 1930s, complete with bobbed hair, she seats herself in a purposely feminine position, carefully glancing at the camera as she rearranges herself, opening a compact to begin applying lipstick. There is rampant usage of mirrors in these vlogs, which segue into the process of the vlog as filmic “reflection,? which in the vlog, “Talking about birds...? delves into the question of memory. The soundtrack for this particular piece consists of snippets of conversations from parties, wherein we are unsure if her voice is amongst them. Appropriately, they are discussing Ginger Rogers films (cleverly including a comment on “montage? in musicals of the period), and thus, we associate what Carter is doing with the act of performing, despite the disrupt in the lively discussion about dancing and song, with Carter’s purposeful construction of “her face.? It is eerily fitting then that the light she is using is entirely natural, lending the frame a sort of eerie flat tone (which could be contrasted with the soft filter used on most Hollywood female stars).
Suddenly, the camera shifts (in visible cutting), and the soundtrack fades in to loud music and shouted conversation, usually involving repetition of fragments of conversation: “I want to put sparkles on!? “You’re from LA! Helloooo?? “Ohhhh!!! WOOOOO!!!? “You’ve got it girl, you look so amazing!? The subject of this talk, we assume to be the figure of Carter, which we have just seen in the process of “becoming? a Hollywood star. Ironically, throughout much of this scene, the camera is not on Carter at all, but on a squirrel in the backyard, of a cat watching the squirrel, and eventually a man gazing at the camera (not awkward, as Carter herself seemed to be) with the cat in his hands. Here, the soundtrack shifts yet again to a man’s voice (the same man we have just seen?) reciting, what I find to be a key aspect of this vlog: “We have to sit on different sides of the room – those who consider ourselves storytellers and those who consider ourselves fiction writers...and she’s (what I assume to be Carter) promised soon we’ll divide ourselves up until there’s one person on each side of the table.? Throughout this soundtrack, the camera returns to Carter entering the frame to apply lipstick, though this time, she spends a great deal more time situating herself, glancing back and forth at the camera, straightening her back, until eventually she is holding a pose of gazing away from the camera until the man’s statement ends the piece. It is here that we wonder, what is the difference between a storyteller and a fiction writer? Is this a piece of fiction? Is she in fact, telling us a story? Must it be considered different at all? Where does film fit into this question, and how in turn does the role of the camera directly relate to ideas of truth (meaning is the Roxanne Carter we are seeing the way Roxanne Carter is, or chooses to be seen)?
The question of film as “truth? is brought up directly in the rambling narrative, “Talking about birds,? a 7-minute monologue in voice-over involving Carter discussing buying a birdfeeder, and tangentially moving into a grave divulgence that she may in fact have killed two birds as a child as a result of believing in film as reality: the birds, one brought in wounded, the other a fledgling, both died when Carter attempted to release them into the air by throwing open her hands. The birds, stunned as opposed to being prepared for “freedom,? fell to the floor, where Carter assumes they died. Throughout this portion of the monologue, Carter uses the hand-held camera to search the trees and phone lines for birds, which coincides with a visual metaphor of linear strings carrying us back and forth through memories.
In the third vlog, “Keyhole & the secret exhibitionist,? Carter most literally interprets psychoanalysis’ questions of voyeurism in film. However, what is interesting to me about this montage (it is a series of single frames cut together), is that Carter occupies both the gaze and the object of the gaze, in what is potentially a narcissistic interpretation, or a “self-sexuality;? in the shot-reverse-shot Carter gazes at herself, and in turn, is seemingly aware that she is being gazed at (the positions of her semi-nude body are constructed as “nude? rather than “naked? – she is performing for the camera, or rather, for herself). This could be read as an embodiment of sexuality, as she is presenting her body, in the film at least, to and for herself, but yet, the vlog is public, and thus, she is performing her sexuality (hence, the exhibitionist) for us, as the audience.

A Journey Into YouTube


Due to the fact that I have been doing an excessive amount of homework today, I decided that for this post I would research some of the less serious and more humorous vlogs. My friends had made many comments to me regarding YouTube and the hilarious vlogs the site contained, so I easily chose to visit that site for this post. Upon searching for some intelligent humor, I came upon some of the stupidest videos I have ever seen (granted that some of them were kind of funny). I chose to link the vlog Male Restroom Etiquette because it was the most amusing video I had found. What I like about it is that the subject of a restroom is displayed as a serious and important international issue. I also laughed pretty hard to myself when I began to think about how much time this person put into creating this pointless, yet hilarious vlog.

Visiting Amyville

Just came back from Amyville...Interesting. It is a collection of short hand held videos on Amy's quirky personality and a little about her life. I liked that she was very comfortable with her viewers and didn't "push' any of her opinions. Don't get me wrong, I also like a "deep" conversation once in a while, but what I found mostly on the internet was a waste...I am sure it is all about self expression but I had no idea what a girl trying to moon walk in her cowboy boots to some song I never heard was trying to sayhttp://welcometoamyville.blogspot.com/...Anyway, visit Amyville, and see for yourself.

Lion King and vLogs


The vLog I watched was about a girl named Stefanie Spiro and whats happening in her life at the moment. It was made in february of this year. This is the first time she has vLog but she said she blogs normally. This was not her vLog but her boyfriend's who let her guest vLog because it was their anniversary. She talked about how she saw the Lion King and she also sang a little of a song from it. She talked about concerts and hanging out with her friends. I've come to realize that unless you know the person these vLogs are meaningless. I have never really watched a vLog before this one and I found it kind of interesting. They are public video diaries. It used to be that someone would have a diary and it would be very private and it would contain their most inner secrets and thoughts but now in the information age people now broadcast their diaries to the public. What really caused this change? These vLogs are even more personal than a blog because when recording they are very close to the camera and it always takes place in their homes. they are inviting anyone to listen to them and to come into their homes. I think it's becoming a way to make yourself a star.

VLOG by Erica Koby

vlog site

I chose Seven Maps: Third map. on this site-- I liked it alot. I thought that he was very sarcastic and I enjoyed the vlog. However, I tried to find a vlog on my own without having to use Rachels examples but there was soo much advertisements out there it was taking forever to finally find something.
I guess i really don't understand vlogs. I think thats it is kind iof weird that people spend all this time making something that they dont get paid for, but i did enjoy oit.
His vlog was about choices and traveling. how there is always two of everyhting, two beds, two roles of toilette paper. I thought it was funny. The hole time that vlog was very dark and there was always only one light source and he made it a point to shoe the light source and kind of make it depressing. but all in all i thought it was ironic and sarcastic and liked it alot!

9 months of Gestation

For this assignment, I chose to watch a video of woman through her nine months of pregnancy. She calls it "Nine Months of Gestation". In twenty seconds one can view a video of her stomach expanding. I found this very interesting because of a personal situation in my life. For the last nine months I have watched my good friend go through the changes that this woman did (her due date is today). The use of music in this video was a good choice. This woman also posted side videos of close-ups of her stomach. In these videos you can view the baby actually moving. To me, I thought it was cool how this woman could post her personal video online. It gives viewers a chance to see a mother from week one until the baby is born. At the end she posts a video of her, her baby, and who I think is her husband, partner or father of the baby. She also has a few other videos with close-ups on her pregnancy.

The Last Shot

This assignment is the first time that I have ever looked at vlogs, so I was a bit unsure of what to expect. I went to a few of the recommended sights, and watched a couple different things and the vlog I chose was the only one that I was drawn to watch in its entirety. This vlog is shot in a bed room, with the camera in a fixed position using a long shot. Based on the short excerpt given on vidlicious about this vlog, I gathered that the woman making it was considering becoming a man and had begun testosterone therapy. This vlog was of her last injection, after deciding to stop the treatments and remain a woman. The video is somewhat dark around the edges, giving it sort of a mysterious look, which is intensified by the content and the fact that this is shot in a private bedroom. There is very little light, which makes it interesting to see this person, because in some ways she looks like a woman, but you might also think it was a man--which shows you what the testosterone injections have done to her. It almost feels like we are gazing into someone's personal life that we should not be seeing; yet this is posted on the internet for anyone to view. The story is conveyed through text on the screen, and the only noises are from this woman handling the needle. It is interesting to not hear this person speak because what she is doing is no small thing, and I would expect there to be more emotion conveyed. I was actually struck by the lack of emotion; I felt this through the fact that there was a dog laying on her bed throughout the whole clip, and this was the only witness to what was happening, and the dog just laid their, looking bored and disinterested. I find it odd in a way that this woman is sharing such a personal part of her life with complete strangers, yet it kind of drew me in.


matching tattoos


Out of frustration, I picked a random vlog and it happened to be on matching tattoos. A girl and a friend??(I'm guessing) went to get tattoos. It looked like a cat with a knife and a fork and it said something like "girl's diner" or something like that. I mean I didn't really learn anything informational so I don't know what to write about it.


I chose to watch one of the vlogs by Annie on her site Annieisms, is it? When I watched a few of her videos I didn’t quite understand the point of the video blogs because they didn’t seem to have a lot of substance or purpose other than showing things off to a camera. The one I chose to comment on was her Chicago- Day 2 vlog where she is attending some sort of event/ fair where they are running a booth. I chose this one because there seemed to be more to it than just showing newborn puppies or jumping on a bed (both of which are fine but not as much to comment on). The vlog begins by Annie narrating the scene and explaining where she is while walking around and introducing the audience to people. The way she walks through the space makes it seem to the viewer that they are present at the event rather than simply watching a video of it. She explains that the booth they are in is very crowded and that on the other side there is a game show going on. The editing is very effective here because it shows a bit of the game show host to set the scene and then cuts to a few minutes later when he is asking a question specifically about Annie. Not only does this show her involvement in the booth but it also provides information about her and why she does vlogs. Rather than waiting for the answer from the actual audience text appears on the screen answering the question so the video doesn’t drag too much. She then continues to walk around the booth introducing more people and commenting on various things none of which can be heard because the video is sped up and put to music. This allows the atmosphere of the event to come across without, once again, making the video drag by showing the viewer every small detail. The editing style of this video reminded me a lot of different reality shows on MTV because of the narration and the way it was cut to show only important parts even though there was obviously a lot more shot that might get too long to keep a viewer’s attention.

watch out, or the fbi will be comming for you--

vloging still seems a little hit or miss for me. i'm sure it is a skill that is acquired with time, but sifting through all the junkvlogs is quite a task... watching people fall off cliffs on their snowboards is perhaps interesting for a moment, but not quite engaging enough for academic conversation. however i did encounter a very interesting piece of media at immortal-technique.com. it seems mos and talib are not quite satisfied with the current regime in this country, and their vlog sure put it all out there. lyrical lines that pointed direct fingers were splashed against a montage of images which suggest that bush is holding hands with bin laden and slanging crack to the projects. the photos and the impact of the rhymes were powerful (if you can dig that sort of thing), but what makes this video blog of interest for discussion is its use of false images. in this day and age you can make anything happen with a digital image. someone can right hook the president. while this might add to the impression made by a subversive blog, it could also mislead those who do not second guess... especially because these images are not always as obvious as bush selling dope to babykids.
thus remember: a vlog is just the mindseye of the vlogger. trust that, and make your own understanding.

freud and watermelon

Anaylsis is My Sport
by Scratch
The narrator of this vlog is also the creator and the subject. We start by viewing a blurry close up a woman, and hear the first of about ten questions. The questions are from some sort of checklist you could find about depression. Do you feel tired? Have you observed weight gain? Have you experienced a loss or increase in appetite?...the questions go on in this manner. By the second question a pattern of cutting between two different shots is created. The first shot is an extreme close up of the narrator’s cheek and mouth. The next shot is of the same woman, this time playing the subject whom the questions are directed to. She is shot through a camera lens turned around, so that she is in the middle of a circular frame that bends at the edges (like a fisheye). In this shot the woman is eating a big slice of watermelon.
So what did I get from watching this vlog? I think the camera work is very clever, (however poorly I described it may be a distraction!) I liked the subject matter; depression. I like the way that subject is presented; almost non-shalant. No, it’s not sad because depression isn't really sad. It’s more like you just don't care or feel much. As I viewed this entry I was brought into a moment of this woman's life, and a little bit in the way she thinks about the world. Analysis truly is her sport; she's having fun with it!

I got this vlog off a site called scratch video. I watched a lot of the vlogs and found many to be well done and entertaining. In Scratch’s bio she stated that she makes documentary films by day and vlogs by night. I learned a lot about vlogs; to me they’re a glimpse into how other people view the world. The trick is finding people who are interesting; there’s a lot of junk out there!

The Piano

I didn’t like the movie “The Piano? at all. I felt uncomfortable watching it and I thought the overall movie was extremely disturbing. I disliked the fact that George Baines offered Ada to give her the piano back in exchange for escalating sexual demands and instead of hating or despising him for it, she ends up loving him. It’s hard for me to understand why a woman would ever love a man who took advantage of you, black mailed you and who treated you poorly. It is said that the The Piano was a feminist film about a woman trying to maintain control over her own life in an age when women were considered the property of their husbands but I didn’t see it that at all. I saw a mute woman who would do anything for her piano and who surrendered to the men who abused her. Even though I didn’t like the movie, I still thought Jane Campion did an excellent job at directing the movie. What I liked best about the movie was the blue lighting because it made the movie more amusing and somehow different. I'm sure the movie has a lot of meaningful messages which I probably missed or didn't understand but whatever the case is, this a movie that I had a difficult time watching.

Goodbye Tony

I stumbled upon this vlog after doing a search on Google. This vlog comes from a vlog series called Video Pancakes and was filmed and posted on September 27th, 2006 by a woman named Mary Matthews. This vlog was centered around Mary's last day of employment at the Tony Danza show, which ended on the last day the show aired on national television. What interested me about Mary's vlog was that her personal narrative of her last day at work at every moment revolved around the man Tony Danza. Every time Mary was on screen or was filming other co-workers the topic of focus was always Tony Danza. In Mary's vlog no one ever shares their emotions of how they feel about the show being canceled. Perhaps more personal interviews did not occur because Mary did not want anyone to get into trouble over anything that they said if they bad-mouthed anything about the show ending. One woman near the end of the vlog comments on how the show was "tender and uplifting". However I was unsure if the woman was talking about the show itself, how the show made her feel when she watched it, or how she felt working with the Tony Danza show. My favorite part of the vlog was when Mary interviewed a few of her colleagues, asking them to tell her their favorite "Tony-ims". The sound quality of the vlog left something to be desired because I was unable to hear any of the "Tony-ism" except one "Apple trees make apples", which I did find to be particularly funny.
I thought the vlog's overall composition and beginning imagery was intriguing. The vlog begins in a subway car with the main focus of the camera on the subways doors, which have bright light radiating from them. This was a good image to begin the vlog with because it reminded me of the idea of "seeing light at the end of a tunnel" for example when someone dies. In this case 'someone' wasn't dying, but 'something' was. The Tony Danza show was being canceled. I also liked the several scenes on the vlog showing that Mary Matthews had a high level of responsibility on the show. In these scenes Mary uses many different framing techniques. Mary is seen, in a close up shot with just her head and shoulders on the screen, talking with someone on the phone over a few particulars of how the show was going to be run that day. Another scene shows Mary in a dark room filled with computer equipment talking on a microphone to a woman named Rita, telling her how to act when she is on the phone live with Tony later on in the show. This is a mid shot because Mary's torso up to her head is seen and the viewer can see what Mary is doing with her hands, re-positioning the microphone she is talking into. In the last few minutes of the vlog Mary uses big close up shots to get the expressions and reactions of her co-workers when she interviews them about what they are going to do after their last day of work, with all of their answers being, “having drinks".
A few other things that I liked about this vlog was that it showed the behind the scenes work that takes place when filming and broadcasting a television show. A teleprompter is shown and there is also a scene where two men are controlling which camera shots are being broadcasted over the network, "Take 1...take 4". I assumed the numbers the men were saying referred to the different cameras that were set up around the stage with different shots, either long shots or close up shots. Another thing that I liked about the vlog was that throughout the vlog there was music, which played a song called "That's Life". Overall I thought Mary Matthews posted an entertaining and well edited vlog that showed her personal narrative of part of her day and showed a behind the scenes look at Mary's last day working for the Tony Danza show.


Beach Blanket Sun Bathing

By Miss Intensity

The vlog's narrative consists of a conversation between two women lying in an Ontario park. Like any chat between friends, it flows naturally, from a discussion of future baby names (spurred by a passerby calling the name "Kennedy"), to what characteristics denote a musical. What makes this, a "typical" conversation that isn't particularly controversial or insightful, interesting, is that the viewer is hearing these women's private thoughts. Since they're friends, or at least comfortable enough with one another to say what they feel, we're catching a glimpse of humans connecting in a way that isn't normally seen on the silver screen, when a script controls dialogue meticulously crafted by a screenwriter.

Also adding interest is the camera work. The woman who tapes the conversation shoots from a low angle, so that the ground, towel she's lying on, and blades of grass are in the foreground, while her companion's head is often in the middle ground, and the background is filled with families enjoying a summer day in the park (they also provide background noise of laughter and conversations that aren't distinguishable from each other, but still almost drown out the vlog's main speakers).

Because the speakers' faces are often obscured by the objects in the foreground, it forces the viewer/listener to focus on the women's conversation. Like in The Piano, it also creates a feeling of voyeurism, because you're often peering through blades of grass to see a face or mouth moving. This also corroborates with the feeling of voyeurism you get from listening to a seemingly private conversation between companions.



I viewed "Blush" by Daniel Liss. I was very pleased with all of Daniel Liss's work. His modern abstractness portraying everyday life in Blush was really a peice of eye-candy for me. Art as film, with no definite plotline this abstract form emphasizes the beauty of the colors and time in the world. This vlog begins with an opening, handheld shot of highly contrasting, vibrant blue. It roughly transitions to a close-up overcranking scene of grasses in a feild, and then to vibrant flowers. Showing various nature scenes, Daniel layers the different shots of film to form an abstract form of ghostly silhouettes hidden among an array of brilliant hues and shadows. The music for this vlog is a rewinding sound that is progressing forward with a more defined upbeat.



My initial entry was just erased so pardon me if this becomes to cliff note like.

For our assignment this week I chose Mom's Brag Vlog to review. I was initially drawn to the vlog because the vlog creator, Erin, was sharing intimate animated moments with an online community of complete strangers and essentially redefining the word "brag." When I imagine bragging I pull of images of mom and dad carrying around photos of their children to share with colleagues or to use to break the ice with individual fully present to themselves. I can stretch that idea to my sister sending me and everyone else in her address book video's of my nephew's struggle with acceptance of his potty chair. Here though in Mom's Brag Vlog I actually got to see Erin's daughter, Jordan, swing the monkey bars (even more exciting I got to see it and it happened months ago). I didn't just hear about or see a picture of a child beaming over her success; I saw it. The audience of bragging becomes limitless in an online community. The vlog has taken a relatively simple act and extended to a world wide theatre, redefining the act of bragging.
The vlog raised some issues though: Can children agree or disagree to being videoed--- After all, the internet is a timeless safe keep for memories. When Jordan is a young professional, her associates could very well Google her name and watch her learn the monkey bars. What rights do the children in such vlogs have?
My other concern was if it was safe. There is an endless amount of information on this vlog and vlog's like it that could be used negatively. What makes a responsible vlogger?

Speaking out about death

People I Know: Mortality, Part 6

Wow! This particular part of a series done forVideobloggers Week 2006 by Dave Media was extremely intense and almost hard to watch. It just seems rare, almost taboo, for people to be so raw and open about the deaths of loved ones and their feelings surrounding it, let alone put it on the internet for all the world to see. These people completely expose themselves, showing us that their naked pain is relative or universal to all. Dave filmed these people in black and white, which definitely adds to the gloom/pain of their stories. Yet, the last person to speak about death, holds a baby in her arms as she describes the anger she still posses for her friends suicide. I think the juxtaposition of the innocence and incapability of childhood versus the complexity and magnitude of being an adult is an interesting concept to end the vlog with. However, some of his zooming techniques and frames, I found distracting from the essence of the content. Although I understand that it's the videographer's job to make the post aesthetically pleasing, it is also their obligation to subtly make decisions that don't attract the attention of their audience. In the end, I highly respect these people's ability to speak their minds and share their hearts' deepest emotions, proving that death should not be taboo and that publicly grieving might help us all to deal with death.



I watched a couple of vlogs on personal narratives and other educational vlogs but I came upon this vlog that was about poverty and it really touched me. This vlog was made by an individual as an assignment for one of her class. This vlog is consisted of a slide show of a collection of images and words which includes facts and statistics about poverty. I thought the images that were being display were extremely disturbing and thought provoking. The images did an excellent job at portraying poverty. I thought it was pretty affective when the pictures were being zoomed in because it gave us the chance to see the picture at a closer view, which gives us the chance to really connect with the pictures. In some of the pictures that were being shown, they were taken from a long shot, mid shot, medium close up and big close up angle. It was also very affective that the pictures were pause for a couple of second for you to really digest the meaning of it. When looking at these pictures you can see the struggles and the pain that poor people have to endure, I don’t think anyone can look at these pictures and not feel anything. There were a couple of pictures that just wanted to make me cry, you don’t realize how much poverty can hurt people until you see it visually. Films like this make you realize how fortunate you are just to have a roof over your head and food on the table. Poverty is an important and emotional issue which should be taken seriously.

Additionally when displaying the slide shows of pictures the director used a song called “If Everyone Cared? to help her convey her messages about poverty. The song played a critical role because it made her film more emotional and more moving. This is one of my first time watching vlogs on line and I think it's great that people can use it as a sorce to send out positive messages, generally speaking this was a great vlog. Overall, I thought the photographs were mesmerizing, heartbreaking and more. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words.


I watched the two-hundred and ninth episode of a vlog called Beach Walks With Rox. It was entitled "What if Everybody Did What They Loved?" From a feminist standpoint, the video was constructive and positive. The entire vlog was an interview with this woman who had switched careers when she was 53. She quit her desk job and learned to make things out of wood. The vlog included her personal story, her recommendations for other women trying to either switch careers or learn to work with wood, shots of some of her finished products, and two tips for solving common problems that one might run into when working with wood. I find this vlog to be constructive from a feminist standpoint because it tells the story of a woman who learned a skill and then began to enjoy her life significantly more. I think learning skills is part of the solution to the problem of low self esteem that plagues so many women. The two women in the vlog did not represent an unrealistic standard of beauty. Unfortunately, this vlog is really only accessible to middle to upper class women. In order to watch this vlog you must be wealthy enough to access high speed internet and take the time out of your day to watch Beach Walks with Rox. A class boundary is also present in Beach Walks With Rox in the way that It tells the story of a woman who was able to achieve happiness through something as simple as switching careers. The vlog did not mention a way for women to fulfill their dreams if they are not financially capable of quitting their jobs, buying woodworking tools, learning to woodwork, and making products. But all of the classes need feminist friendly media, so I still think its good that this is out there. It's just nice when you can be a feminist and fight the class war at the same time.
Unfortunately, this vlog is not nearly as good at being a film as it is at being pro-feminist. It is made with handheld camera and microphone and some simple editing equipment. This alone does not make for a poor quality piece of film. However, the vlog was almost entirely the same two-shot, except for cuts to go to montages of the woodworkers' handiwork and tools. The creator of the vlog did not make use of continuity editing, and a few of the cuts were very jumpy and jarring. Combined with the lethargic pace of the interview, these elements created a slow film that is hard to focus on in its entirety. But then again, I don't work with wood or take beach walks, so maybe I'm just the wrong audience for this vlog.


The story the man tells in this vlog is a very sad one. He talks about how his neighbor dies at home after fighting a disease for a long time. He doesn’t say what the disease was but gives the impression that he was not old. He accentuates the somber mood with slow sad music and some interesting camera angles. His video shows only shots of the rain falling on a railing. He shows a variety of different zooms and sometimes leaves it out of focus. The way he chooses his style really helps show how he feels about what happened with his neighbor. The vlog he posted is his way of sending them flowers because he says that flowers won’t do anything for him now. If it were me I would much rather have somebody do something like this for me than to send my family flowers. I think he did the right thing. I chose this vlog because I think it actually has a real message and inspiration unlike so many other vlogs I view before this one.

vlog: http://pouringdownpictures.com/neighbors.mov

Minnesota stories; Clarity Production; Glimse of City House

I watched a few vlogs and this is the one I really liked. It had an informative message. I felt like the other ones I saw had no purpose; in other words they were a waste of time. This particular vlog informs us of a non-profit organization designed to help homeless people and those who have been in jail get their lives back on track. The volunteers in the program help people spiritually and emotionally; which in return makes those who are being helped want to help other people. It is really great to see that someone cares enough to make a vlog about this organization and try to promote this humanitarian organization. It shows that the creator of this vlog really cares about the community; he is not just wasting people’s time with pointless videos, but he is actually promoting a good cause. The filming and editing of this vlog look rather professional for a vlog; versus the other ones that I have seen (which were home movies). The image was rather clear, the sound was not too bad (although there were some back ground noises at times, but that is kind of inevitable), the editing was rather good as well; the creator had the names and positions of the people talking on the bottom of the screen.
There is another vlog that I watched as well called My Stories of Life which was also under Minnesota stories. I did not like the vlog so much just because the title was misleading. It did not have a story; but was a video of kids playing on a slip and slide and the creator was naming the kids as they went on the slip and slide. The creator however had a really great quote on his page: “Life is a daily opportunity for new exploration and life-long learning. The meaning of life is based on the people you touch and the stories you leave behind.? It would have been really cool to see a video that maybe had something to do with that quote.



ok so maybe its just me but I don't get it. It seems as though anything can be put up on a vlog, and there usually is no point to it. This one for example has to be the worst thing I have ever seen. As a big Lord of the Rings fan I was kind of offended by it. Not really but it was so painful to watch cause it wasnt funny and it was ruining something I really enjoy. Other vlogs have great stories, peoples personal opinions, stories and are really fascinating. then there are the vlogs that are just tuly funny, and the ones, like this one which are just not funny at all and I wonder why it was even made. For the most part I'm just not understanding the vlog world. Is it meant to be a simple, easy to access oulet for art? In which case I guess it works but there are so many different vlogs some with artistic intentions, some just there to pass the time and who knows what else. I think that if i wanted to promote my art, a vlog wouldnt be the way I would pick, its too much work to have to sift through all the different vlogs to find something of serious artistic quality. not that most of the vlogs are crap, its just many are funny or just ways to pass the time. they arent meant to be a form of artistic expression. or perhaps they are and I just cant quite appreciate them. regardless, i'm still not understanding the vlog movement.

October 1, 2006

Village Girl

The vlog I watched is called Jampa's Home Video #1 and it is by a girl who goes by the name of Village Girl. This video blog is about a young girls fascination with a balloon. This video is mostly filmed in long shot framing with Jampa, the little girl, and her balloon in the center of the frame. Through out the film you see Jampa standing on a bed playing with a balloon that is attached to a weight sitting on the floor. A couple of times the camera zooms in on the Jampa's face and you are able to see her excitement as she looks at the balloon, and her deep thought as she decides where to reposition the balloon to so she can reach it from the bed. There is no music in this film, only the conversation and laughing of Jampa and her mother and a t.v. in the background. Even though this film is very simple and doesn't have much of a purpose, I find it very fascinating. I love watching little kids, I think they're soooo cute. I also find it interesting how young children can become so fascinated with simple things, such as a balloon and how parents are so fascinated with everything their children do. It was a cute film. http://villagegirl.typepad.com/village_girl/files/jampas_home_video1.mov

Kate on Sports: Kate on Women and Muscle

This vlog is by Kate Troescher, a student at California, whose show discusses sports news and related issues. The vlog starts with images of previous episodes sliding into view while playing “Start Me Up? by the Rolling Stones. Then the title, “Kate on Sports? appears. The vlog uses a mid shot frame and a talk to camera narrative. The focus is on Kate who is sitting in front of a desk, her Mac visible with the title of the episode’s topic. Next to the computer is a Cal hat, facing directly toward the viewer. The backdrop is a bulletin board covered in pictures, letters, pins, and other miscellaneous items. The vlog starts with Kate flexing her bicep for the camera. The feel is very informal. The topic of this show is women and muscle. It discusses the stereotypes and the social acceptance issues in a Q &A format.

I chose this vlog because it was a female talking about sports, which is already not the norm. Most sports broadcasters are male and while there are a few women in the field, they tend to be very attractive and have very little camera time comparatively. Kate talks about the social acceptance of female body builders while competing with the super thin body image. How Hollywood stars such as J Lo and Catherine Zeta Jones have made it more acceptable to have curves and a more “normal? body. But, others such as Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff are sporting the close to anorexic frame. These two extremely different body images create a conflict in what is “acceptable.? I found it very interesting in both a feminist aspect but also in a non typical social aspect. I thought that the topic was well prepared for and honestly, Kate is easily above par with the current female sports broadcasters. I did notice that she talked in more lay woman terms. She gave sports news in a way that those who didn’t quite understand sports would be able to get the jist which, tends to be more of a female audience. Overall, I really enjoyed her presentation.


Tales of Mere Existence

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An artist draws a cartoon woman and V.O's what makes him horny based on said drawings.

Shot-wise, this is a very straightforward piece. It contains nothing but close-ups of what the artist is drawing. Cuts are the only editing technique utilized by the author. The piece is shot from a low angle below the paper subject which is placed on a glass table. This technique keeps the hand and pen of the artist out of frame.

This vlog was intended to promote a comic book that probably contains comics very similar to this piece. The author intended this video to be humorous. It worked. I found myself chuckling through the repitition of what makes him horny.

Underneath this piece, however, there are many issues that could be discussed. I don't think the author's intentions were to objectify women, but it seems to be the result. The artist used the same drawing of a woman to show in detail what makes him horny. Not all women have the same body type and therefore his piece supports the standard for women physically that dominates our culture. On the flip side, some of his points do not separate women based on their physical appearance (e.g. any clothes reference and "smell of a girl's hair when it hasn't been washed in a week").

I'm expecting a lot of comments on this one so get typing!

Anchor in Pj's Vlog Post

I recently watched this Vlog Video on youtube. It seemed like the creators tried having a lot of fun with it and made it comical, also editing it to make it appear to be like something you'd see on television. Obviously the quality of picture and sound isn't that great, the sound echoes and the picture is a little blurry. The bit didn't attempt to really get across any real essential information and didn't have much of a message. It simply attempted to use a comical approach to get across to viewers. I thought it was somewhat funny. I liked the part where the guy is swinging a club by the pool, slips, and then falls over. I'm assuming this was something that was staged, yet it was funny nonetheless.

Other Vlogs I came across were fairly personal and attempted to get something across to the viewer, but I picked this one because it shows the kind of quality video that people can create from fairly simple techniques and equipment. People enjoy watching bits like this even though there is nothing essential that comes from it other than entertainment. There were many other bits from the same makers. They had a little series on youtube called Anchor in Pj's. This was like the 17th episode or something like that so this is something fairly significant to the makers as they have made many of them. This bit just seems like something different from what other people are doing, although there are still probably many things like this out there. I think its important to look at the things people do with Vlogs, and try to identify the reasons behind them.

This Strange Relationship

This Strange Relationship is a Vlog that features two women singing on stage about their relationship. The camera stays at the same angle the whole time and does not move. I found this to be a bit amateur and would have like to see a close up or two of the women faces. A profile would have also been nice and added to the Vlog. But I can understand that this Vlog was probably not about the camera work and more about the content of the song. I found this Vlog on Vidlicious: Female Vlog Collective. I really did not think it would be too terribly difficult to find a Vlog with some meat to it that I could analyze, that is until I started looking. Then, after following the Vidlicious: Female Vlog Collective link, I found quite a few Vlogs with some deep content in them. One was about a women who was abused as a child and there were many more. Then I can upon This Strange Relationship and it intrigued me.
This Strange Relationship on many levels showed the difference of the two women. On the surface level you could see that they were of two different races, dressed differently, and even preformed differently. The woman on the left, I believe her name is Bob, used poetry as her instrument, while the woman on the right, I believe her name is Toshi, used a guitar. Toshi has a beautiful, and in tune, voice that carries very well with the guitar. Bob on the other hand has a low voice that speaks more than sings. At first the duet is a bit awkward because of the difference in voice, but towards the middle and then in the end they some how meshed together and put out a unique and wonderful sound. I think if you look at the two voices this way, it is very symbolic of the song. The song's content is about how their relationship is so strange, but yet it works for them. They care about each other’s feelings and comment on their actions that are an outcome of their feelings. The line that jumped out at me the most is when Bob says "Isn't it a shame that this ant the movies? Then you could write my every line." This jumped out at me because I have been thinking a lot about women in the movies and what sort of women are depicted and how the are depicted. Then I was trying to imagine their story and was thinking that their story would probably never be written into a Hollywood script. Hollywood does not want real women, they want women that they can control and manipulate. Lets say that their song was made into a Hollywood film, it would probably start out will Halley Berry running on the beach in a swimsuit and then she would trips\ over a poor white woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow and then Berry would take Paltrow in and they would fall in love and then they cut to the scene with them having sex. I guess that is a little bias. To conclude, I enjoyed this Vlog because it was two women singing about their relationship in a very different way, laughing, smiling, and showing that they truly cared for one another.

To watch this Vlog (I hope!) This Strange Relationship

Minesota Stories: an interesting look at the Twin Cities

Check out this story here: http://www.mnstories.com/archives/2006/09/keith_ellison_v.html

On the web site"Minnesota Stories", Vlogers from all over the country, but mostly Minnesota, post their video blogs. The one thing these varying vlogs have in common is that they all have some relation to Minnesota and the Twin Citiees area.
The Vlog I watched was titled "Keith Ellison Victoy". Fort those of you who do not know Keith Ellison, he is the State Representative who won the Minnesota Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives 5th District on September 12th. The most distinguishing characteristic about the man is that he is a Black Muslim. If he wins race, he would become the first Muslim ever to serve in the House of Representatives.
The vlog details his victory party with news articles from various news websites, a streamed broadcast of his victory speech and a view from someone in the crowd at his victory party.
I thought the still frames of the news articles telling of his victory were a nice, classy way of adding hype to the message to the audience.
The streamed Internet footage the author used was filmed with a hand cam. This gives the footage the effect of being older than it is. The sound is a bit distorted as well as the picture. When I saw this, it reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech". It seemed like that might have been the author's intent: to compare Ellison to King, both of whom are black (obviously).
The first person, Point-of-View footage used by the author gives the viewer a look at what it could have been like to be at the event.
The vlog ends with scenes from a bar in downtown Minneapolis. The scene is full of happy dancers and other celebrators
I thought the vlog was a good way to give viewing audiences a feel for the moment of the victory of Democrat Keith Ellison. The overall quality isn't the best, but you shouldn't expect too much from amateur A/V enthusiasts.

Beach Walks with Rox

I found this vlog off the Vidlicious Female vlog site. I decided to write about this particular vlog becuase it is different from the other vlogs I've watched. This vlog consists of a lady interviewing another lady about her job as a wood worker. The lady being interviewed is very enthusiastic about doing what one loves and about how women can do anything men can do. She seems to be a very happy and motivational lady.
The interview is done by a lady named Rox. It seems that she has her own show where she goes around Hawaii interviewing people. The show is probably a low budget production. The music is soft and relaxing. As the introduction, the camera scans around different wood work and then the screen blurs until the title appears. Throughout the whole segment the camera basically stays on the two women talking. I liked this vlog a lot becuase it is inspirational and simple.
Watch this vlog at: http://media.beachwalks.tv/video/0609/beachwalk_209_060919.mp4
( just copy and paste in URL)

Scratch Video

This vlog is posted by a female documentary filmmaker in New York City, who goes by the name scratch. Reading the written part of her posts make you think it is whiny and pretentious, and perhaps a few of them are. But most of the videos are very interesting and well done. "Tergiversation" is a post that at first didn't make any sense to me and reading her notes on it made it seem really stupid. However without using any audible dialogue she is able to make the turning of book pages very interesting. There is a strange piece of glass between the camera and the pages which magnify certain words. The lighting is very direct, and creates strange shadows with her fingernails.
Watching "Tergiversation" made me watch other posts on her vlog and there are a few that are traditional vlogs with her talking directly at the camera, but even these have either interesting locations (walking around New York) or presentations (out of focus, vignettes over the camera conceling certain areas) that make them different from the more reality show interview portion-style of most vlogs. The editting is also good. The films are either edited in camera, creating a very short film, or they are pieced together in more traditional sense. Even if it does get too abstract or whiny, their briefness and presentation makes most of them watchable.

The Helper

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My roommate and I together searched web site after web site looking for a vlog to post. At first we agreed that they were pretty interesting but the more we watched, the more similar they all seemed. So instead of finding a creative one with meaning I decided to do one I have an opinion on. When looking on youtube.com, I began searching and came across this video. The camera work is very simple, there is some added sound affects, and the girl is the main focus. She frequently changes her distance shots between a mid shot and medium close up. This adds a little bit of interest so instead of just watching her talk and listening, the scene changes to keep the watchers attention. The real thing that got my attention was what is actually being said. The fact that this girl is sharing her life story on the internet for anyone to watch in my opinion is too open. She seems dependent on making the videos, as she has multiple posts, and continues creating new ones and being completely open (For those who don't know, this is an actress so her series isn't real, but still!). 'Vlog dependency' as you could call it, seems to me something that could really pick up as vlogs become more popular. This particular one is proof that you don't have to be great with a camera to have a vlog. As long as there is emotion expressed, peoples attention will be drawn.


I wanted to watch a vlog by an average person talking about themself and their life and I ended up watching one posted by a girl living in Minneapolis. It was interesting because she not only talked about her life in the style of a video diary, but she also added different film techniques like fades, cuts, music, and montages of her pets as well as projects she's working on. All of these things made viewing the vlog more enjoyable. I also thought it was interesting because she talked to her viewers as though they were close friends; it reminded me of the way I write emails to friends to let them know what I've been up to. Overall it was a good "entry" because the elements she added enhanced the vlog and kept the viewers interested in watching.

To watch it click here

Also, for a quick pick-me-up, watch this

Modern Feminist: Women Should Ask

I love the "Modern Feminist" from Vidlicious! I have watched a few of her vlogs and I love them. She films herself and others realistically. She doesn't try to make herself into something she's not. Mostly, she takes situations and events and thinks about them from a feminist perspective. I love the fact that she uses the feminist lens for everything she blogs or vlogs about. She points out things that aren't always common sense until you notice it.

In this blog that I chose, she talks about a book she read called Women Don't Ask. She also gives an example of a time when she did ask and got what she wanted with a parking ticket. Her lessen with this vlog was a message to women: ask and you shall recieve. Her videos are hand held shots the whole time and they focus on her face. I absolutely love her!

You can find more from her at: http://modernfeminist.com
The blog I chose is at: http://mirror4.video.blip.tv/BShoot-WomenShouldAsk341.mov

Modern Feminist: Women Should Ask

I love the "Modern Feminist" from Vidlicious! I have watched a few of her vlogs and I love them. She films herself and others realistically. She doesn't try to make herself into something she's not. Mostly, she takes situations and events and thinks about them from a feminist perspective. I love the fact that she uses the feminist lens for everything she blogs or vlogs about. She points out things that aren't always common sense until you notice it.

In this blog that I chose, she talks about a book she read called Women Don't Ask. She also gives an example of a time when she did ask and got what she wanted with a parking ticket. Her lessen with this vlog was a message to women: ask and you shall recieve. Her videos are hand held shots the whole time and they focus on her face. I think what I like about her most is her honesty. She talks about everyday issues and very simple things that women can do to close the wage gap etc. I absolutely love her!

You can find more from her at: http://modernfeminist.com
The blog I chose is at: http://mirror4.video.blip.tv/BShoot-WomenShouldAsk341.mov

Extra Credit on The Piano

I did not like this movie. I did not like this movie at ALL.
And I think it's only fair that those against the movie get some screen time.

I wanted to groan loudly when the film started and Ada introduced herself and explained she hadn't spoken since she was six. Right then I knew that the story would be a flight of fancy. Then there's the fact that the piano would most likely be ruined by the voyage and rain. I was also really bothered by the scene were the white folks were re-enacting the Bluebeard story and the natives were shown to not understand that it was just a play.

But onto the meat of why this movie made me mad.

Ada is sold to the frontiersman Stewart, and although it is the Victorian times she is not raped and tormented into a relationship. Which I thought gave Stewart some brownie points. But we still don't like him because he is a land grabber and treats the natives badly. We are made to like Baines because he has the exotic facial tattoos and understands those natives. But how are we suppose to remain liking him when he blackmails Ada into performing sexual favors? At least her husband had respect for her. The piano can be taken as a symbol for Ada's expression, or even her soul. So it is not only the piano that is held by Baines, but herself. Then she goes about and developes Stockholm Syndrome and "falls in love" with Baines. Then there is the delightful ending were she gives up her piano and learns how to speak again with a veil over her face.

What is meant by this ending? Ada has a passion for her piano, but as soon as she finds passion for a man she can give it up. It's as if the movie is trying to say that the only correct passion for a woman is a man. Grr. Other female characters call Ada's piano playing creepy and call her crazy. So the movie can also be read as Baines helped restore her. Love saves all. But once again, he did it by sexual intimidation and coerceon. I really hated that. It really made me wonder if the movie would've won ANY awards had the director been male.

I did love the costumes though.

Daryl Hannah's Love Life- Vegan Junkfood

My vlog watching experience came from the vloggers: Daryl Hannah's Love Life found through the link for Vidlicious on the Course Blog. This particular vlog site caught my interest because of the title! Once at their site, there were many episodes to choose from. Immediately, "Vegan Junkfood" piqued my interest. (I'm vegetarian, so anything vegan/vegetarian always catches my eye). I also liked how every episode on Daryl Hannah's Love Life showed some enviornmentally friendly act.


The vlog itself is very entertaining. There's always music incorporated into the shots that fit really well and makes the video entertaining and exciting to watch. The opening shots are all single shots set to music of different objects surrounding this vegan restaurant/house. Without having seen the video before, the shots seem kindof confusing, but in a good way, because it makes the viewer curious as to what the images are all leading up to. Finally, the owner's speak about the mission of M.A.R.S. (the house they live in) and what they are all about.

***Something interesting to note, is that the guy shown in this vlog used to be Mark, the youngest son, on "Home Improvement."***

After the intro, you are invited into the house to see all the delicious vegan cuisine being made. The feeling during this particular part of the vlog is very personal and intimate. If makes you feel as if you're among friends, hanging out, having a good time at someone's house. There's always a fun, inviting atmosphere and the video really captures the essence of that, either through music, conversation, or people. It makes the viewer wish that they were there. Even though the vlog is fun, modern and upbeat, it still tells a story about M.A.R.S. and their important vegan mission. Ultimately, the vlogger made the vlog appealing in hopes to inform and possibly sway viewers to consider a vegan lifestyle.

Jillian Schwantz

I can't seem to get the weblink but I'll try it again.

Jillian Schwantz-Web Vlog

I checked out the vlog that was called "Vidlicious." It was centered around females in the community, however, most of the vlogs were quite boring and insignificant. I watched two or three, but nothing really jumped out at me as being necessary. I think this site thinks they are helping women by impowering all they do in the community, especially unique events like tatoos and burlesque dancing. However, it would have been more empowering to see more women in the community who are extremely influencial, and not so much risk takers. Tatoos and dancing are cool, but I'm not sure that they reach out to the community as being imporatant or empowering. I suppose they are trying to create vlogs that say, "some women are bad, and that's acceptable," but I think they should have gone out and done some more work and research in order to attract a bigger audience. Not to meantion, most of the film was home-made, and not much art and skill was put into creating an intense opposition.

Purple Monkey

I don’t really like video blogs just because most of the ones I see are awful. The most popular ones are usually from the point of view of some mildly attractive girl who talks about absolutely nothing. These girls get tons of views and people who subscribe to their blogs so they know the second they post a new one, I just find it interesting that so many people can connect with nothing. But at the same time perverts need to see girls and the only site I’m at when I see blogs is YouTube.com. So they might not have the most prime selection. I’m being rude people should be able to do and post whatever they want. So the blog I chose to look at was a girl talking about nothing but she had a lot of views and fans.


Jillian Schwantz- Extra Credit

I wanted to comment on the movie "The Piano," because it has now become one of my favorite movies. I love this movie mostly because of its silent emotion. I would guess that by watching this movie without any sound, It would be very easy to feel the emotion conveyed throughout the film. Holly Hunter does not need to say any words, because her face conveys all of her convictions. Her eyes and her gaze bring the audience into a world where we are now reading faces and feelings, and not measuring love by words.
This film has the essential quality of covering up all that is wrong about the world with romantic aspects. Holly Hunter comes to terms with the order of society by falling in love. Her strange love for music is easily translated to her passion for wanting love from a man. She is silent, so all of her emotions are let out by her body language, and it is very apparent that she is an emotionally intense person.
I love the symbolic language of this film, especially with use of the piano. She loved her piano, but towards the end of the film, once she came to terms with her satisfaction of life; she no longer needed the piano to release her emotions, and all that she had left unsaid. The piano was once her voice, but at the end of the film, she knew she could release her voice without the use of the piano.
In some ways, this situation relates to everyone's life because of the fact that we all seem to have an outlet for our emotions. Some people cry their emotions, some people sing their emotions, and some people excercize or write out their emotions. The piano is representative of our needs as humans to have some kind of outlet until we have reached our ultimate fantasies. However, Holly Hunter tought us to let go and release what we are hiding behind as people, and embrace our feelings by means of romance and love. This story is great because it is such a life lesson to everyone saying, "Let out your emotions through love, and don't hold back!"

Persephassa Vlog

Putting on Lipstick...
Talking about birds...
Keyhole & Secret Exhibitionist

First, I think it is key to give you some background on Roxanne Carter, the author, and often subject, of the vlog Persephassa. Carter is not a filmmaker, but a grad student at Brown University pursuing a degree in the Literary Arts; namely, she is a fiction writer. That said, I find that her vlogs are particularly interesting because her usage of the medium is, in a manner, to comment on questions of filmic “truth (the active presence of fiction in even “documentary?-style narratives),? of the creation of the subject (and thus, a self), and of vulnerability that so often accompanies an attempt to be truthful through a visual form. Without the usage of the type of camerawork, or for that matter equipment, associated with filmmakers using vlogs as an expressive form, Carter is limited to a camera that takes 40-second silent clips, which she then splices together, adding music, dialogue, and voice-over during the editing process.
There are three vlogs in particular I wish to analyze (though two will be brief), beginning with the vlog, “Putting on lipstick...? In this brief video, Carter situates the camera in a static position (medium eye-level, so that we feel as if we are sitting across from her), and as the fade up opens to an empty chair against a brick wall, she enters the frame, always aware of being watched by the camera. Dressed in garb quite reminiscent of the 1930s, complete with bobbed hair, she seats herself in a purposely feminine position, carefully glancing at the camera as she rearranges herself, opening a compact to begin applying lipstick. There is rampant usage of mirrors in these vlogs, which segue into the process of the vlog as filmic “reflection,? which in the vlog, “Talking about birds...? delves into the question of memory. The soundtrack for this particular piece consists of snippets of conversations from parties, wherein we are unsure if her voice is amongst them. Appropriately, they are discussing Ginger Rogers films (cleverly including a comment on “montage? in musicals of the period), and thus, we associate what Carter is doing with the act of performing, despite the disrupt in the lively discussion about dancing and song, with Carter’s purposeful construction of “her face.? It is eerily fitting then that the light she is using is entirely natural, lending the frame a sort of eerie flat tone (which could be contrasted with the soft filter used on most Hollywood female stars).
Suddenly, the camera shifts (in visible cutting), and the soundtrack fades in to loud music and shouted conversation, usually involving repetition of fragments of conversation: “I want to put sparkles on!? “You’re from LA! Helloooo?? “Ohhhh!!! WOOOOO!!!? “You’ve got it girl, you look so amazing!? The subject of this talk, we assume to be the figure of Carter, which we have just seen in the process of “becoming? a Hollywood star. Ironically, throughout much of this scene, the camera is not on Carter at all, but on a squirrel in the backyard, of a cat watching the squirrel, and eventually a man gazing at the camera (not awkward, as Carter herself seemed to be) with the cat in his hands. Here, the soundtrack shifts yet again to a man’s voice (the same man we have just seen?) reciting, what I find to be a key aspect of this vlog: “We have to sit on different sides of the room – those who consider ourselves storytellers and those who consider ourselves fiction writers...and she’s (what I assume to be Carter) promised soon we’ll divide ourselves up until there’s one person on each side of the table.? Throughout this soundtrack, the camera returns to Carter entering the frame to apply lipstick, though this time, she spends a great deal more time situating herself, glancing back and forth at the camera, straightening her back, until eventually she is holding a pose of gazing away from the camera until the man’s statement ends the piece. It is here that we wonder, what is the difference between a storyteller and a fiction writer? Is this a piece of fiction? Is she in fact, telling us a story? Must it be considered different at all? Where does film fit into this question, and how in turn does the role of the camera directly relate to ideas of truth (meaning is the Roxanne Carter we are seeing the way Roxanne Carter is, or chooses to be seen)?
The question of film as “truth? is brought up directly in the rambling narrative, “Talking about birds,? a 7-minute monologue in voice-over involving Carter discussing buying a birdfeeder, and tangentially moving into a grave divulgence that she may in fact have killed two birds as a child as a result of believing in film as reality: the birds, one brought in wounded, the other a fledgling, both died when Carter attempted to release them into the air by throwing open her hands. The birds, stunned as opposed to being prepared for “freedom,? fell to the floor, where Carter assumes they died. Throughout this portion of the monologue, Carter uses the hand-held camera to search the trees and phone lines for birds, which coincides with a visual metaphor of linear strings carrying us back and forth through memories.
In the third vlog, “Keyhole & the secret exhibitionist,? Carter literally interprets psychoanalysis’ questions of voyeurism in film. However, what is interesting to me about this montage (it is a series of single frames cut together), is that Carter occupies both the gaze and the object of the gaze, in what is potentially a narcissistic interpretation, or a “self-sexuality;? in the shot-reverse-shot Carter gazes at herself, and in turn, is seemingly aware that she is being gazed at (the positions of her semi-nude body are constructed as “nude? rather than “naked? – she is performing for the camera, or rather, for herself). This could be read as an embodiment of sexuality, as she is presenting her body, in the film at least, to and for herself, but yet, the vlog is public, and thus, she is performing her sexuality (hence, the exhibitionist) for us, as the audience.

Central Park - NYC

I chose a vlog post from http://kelleyinthecity.blogspot.com/. Some of the other posts on the site were hand-held camera footage of the area she lived in or other parts of her life, so this one stood out to me and seemed a little softer than a few of her other vlog posts.

I chose this particular vlog because it was a collage of photos she took while in Central Park. I thought that she had a lot of crisp, clear, beautiful extreme long shots of the city line as well as some gorgeous nature shots. I've never been to New York, but have always wanted to go and I think this vlog post did a great job to lure the viewer.

I love photography and this vlog was just a bunch of dissolve transitions of her own work. She chose two songs about New York that complimented the photographs well and not even in the switch between them were there any errors of continuity. The whole vlog post was very visually appealing and very mellow and calm in mood, which is sort of the opposite of the faced paced, hectic schedule feel that many people say about New York.

I don't know how to attach links...yes, computers confuse me, so what?! Until I figure it out, this is where you can find the vlog I'm commenting on: http://blip.tv/file/80895.

I thought this vlog applied a variety of terms I’ve learned in your class. The shot is definitely being executed by a hand-held camera. I love the way his head moves in and out of the frame. The camera doesn’t zoom, rather he moves his arm towards the mirror or away from the mirror. This creates a zooming affect. The feeling of the shot changes depending on if his entire face is in the frame, or if it’s just his head from his eyes down. The location of his head, in the frame, changes. Panning is a tool the vlogger utilizes.

I love the way I can see a “live? image of him reflected in the mirror and also a recorded image of him through the monitor on the camera. There is a much more powerful gaze coming from him. There are two smiles looking back at me instead of just one. The gaze created from a voyeur perspective leads me to believe I’m seeing something personal and private. It’s like he’s making a video for a significant other in his bathroom or something. I love the way if feels so casual and personal.

The music in the background is perfect. Can you watch this vlog and not smile? I couldn’t.

Chasing Windmills

For the vlog watching assignment I viewed Chasing Windmills (Overature), which introduces the second season of this online series. It includes a group of characters, all interacting in their own plots. This vlog takes place right here in Minneapolis which makes the location and scenery easy to relate with. The first part of the vlog that caught my attention was the music that was playing in the background. It was the same scheme during the entire video; it was a slower, more solemn song. This type of song relates to what is going on during the video, two break-ups occur, a man is looking for a new place to live, and someone steals another person's files off a computer. None of these things are happy occurences. The camera focuses in on small objects throughout the video such as the answering machine when a woman is talking on it, the purchases a girl makes in Ragstock, the fire alarm, and the USB port on the computer. Each of these objects seem to play an important role in the plot of the story. They also use sound to imply that certain actions are occuring; for example, show a girl by a pool, and then cut to another shot and play a splashing noise, or show a man by the fire alarm and cut to the next shot while the alarm sounds. The cuts in the video are made from shot to shot of scenes from different plots or parts of the story. It appears that the video is filmed using a handheld camera. I recommend watching this episode and some of the others because it is a very interesting and creative site.


The Piano

I have always, for some reason, had an interest in seeing The Piano, all though I never got around to it. I'm glad I was able to watch this movie in class. I thought that this movie was very moving. It showed me how good my life really is and how I should be happy with what I have, because it really isn't that bad compared to how it could be. I really enjoyed this film. It's a beautiful story of how a women finds something, rather someone worth living, for besides her daughter. To me this film was trying to show me that even though your life isn't going how you want it, and it doesn't seem as though there is anything worth living for, don't give up because there is. This film reminds me of Rodney Atkins song, "If Your Going Through Hell".