Please watch three films and answer the questions below. Number the answers. Do not write the questions on the paper. Please answer all of the following 5 questions and include specific examples from the online screenings assigned. You should address films and compare and contrast the key differences. Each answer should be approximately one paragraph (8-9 sentences typed).
1) Given the interactive dimensions of Welcome to Pine Point (Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge, 2011) where users can select different “documents” of the story, how does this format engage with characteristics from the performative mode? Does it also introduce the potential for a new documentary mode of representation? If so, what might this be?
2) Based on your experience watching Welcome to Pine Point (Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge, 2011) what is the potential for the Internet as a space for non-theatrical, interactive, web-based documentary? Are there also downsides or limitations to allowing the viewer/user to “choose their own adventure”?
3) Life in a Day is a crowd sourced drama/documentary film comprising an arranged series of video clips selected from 80,000 clips submitted to the YouTube video sharing website, the clips showing respective occurrences from around the world on a single day, July 24, 2010. The film is 94 minutes 53 seconds long and includes scenes selected from 4,500 hours of footage in 80,000 submissions from 192 nations. Do you think this film brings the world together or underscores some of the fragmented and disconnected effects of globalization?
4) How would you compare Life in a Day to Samsara? In your analysis, please cite specific examples from each documentary.
5) Given the popularity of social media as well as increased accessibility and ubiquity of portable cameras, iPhones, etc, how do you envision documentary evolving in the near future? Do you consider twitter, facebook and other social media to have documentary value, despite the degree of self-awareness and ability for users to alter, delete or manipulate these images as they please? Please explain your perspective.
In your response, please make comparisons between Welcome to Pine Point and Samsara.
The first example is Welcome to Pine Point (Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge, 2011), which is a highly creative interactive web documentary that combines photographs, sound and video clips, interviews, music, and narration to tell the story about a town that no longer exists.
The second example is Life in a Day (Kevin MacDonald, 2011, 90 min), a crowdsourced documentary comprised of selections from 80,000 clips submitted to the YouTube that show different perspectives from around the world on a single day, July 24, 2010.
Life in a Day (Kevin MacDonald, 2011, 90 min)
SAMSARA is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives. Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.
Screening: Samsara (Rob Fricke, 2011, 102 min)