Introduced by Media Studies Faculty Member Deirdre Boyle

The Speaker: Since 1966 Jill Godmilow has been producing and directing non-fiction and narrative films including the Academy Award nominated Antonia: A Portrait Of The Woman (1974); Far from Poland, (1984) the post-realist documentary feature about the rise of the Polish Solidarity movement; Waiting for the Moon(1987), a feminist/modernist fictional feature about the lives of the literary couple Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein (1st prize, Sundance Film Festival); Roy Cohn/Jack Smith (1995), a cinematic translation of a theater piece by performance artist Ron Vawter; What Farocki Taught, a replica and interrogation of a short film by German filmmaker Harun Farocki about the production of Napalm B during the Vietnam war, and most recently, a 6 hour, DVD archive, Lear ’87 Archive (Condensed) about the work of the renown New York City theatrical collective, Mabou Mines, at work  on a fully gender-reversed production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. Among others, she has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations. In 2003, Antonia: A Portrait of The Woman was added to the prestigious National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. 

Tyler Clements Adam Harden George Hull Gregory Mania Nelesi Rodriguez

Urban Screens as community platforms: A reflection on the boundaries, the potential, and the challenges of this medium

Probably the first image that comes to mind when one hears the expression “urban screen” is one of Times Square: intrusive, stereotypical, offensive, manipulative, superficial, and wasteful. Yet even if the Times Square-style spectacle is indeed one example of urban screens, this medium needn’t be reduced to an advertising tool for corporations.

Susa Pop, urban media curator and managing director of the Berlin Public Art Lab, gave a presentation in an Understanding Media Studies lecture at The New School, in which she talked about urban screens as community platforms. She defines these devices as “membranes that are between the urban space and the digital world”. She also identifies the phenomenon as an index of gentrification – they tend to appear with commercial development and increasing property values — a situation that raises questions about the relationship between these projects and the communities in which they are created. According to Susa Pop, these “membranes” can have different sizes and looks. She categorizes the display`s formats as follows: Urban Screens (i.e. billboards), Media Façades (i.e. projections on buildings walls), Media Architectures (using not only the wall, but the whole building as structure for projection and interaction), and Urban Media (i.e. mobile cellphones).

Nicholas Mason Iimani McKnight Jewel Li Ryosuke Date Sean Landers

Joanna Arcieri Adam Bastien Rachel Mossberg Marquis Wimberly

(best if viewed full-screen)

Jelena Gregov
Elyse Marcus

Shannon Smith Tanya Somasundaram Sarah Cerio-Stokes

Peace Is Not “Kumbaya, My Lord”

In today’s society the phrase “world peace” is often associated with individuals who do not have a clear understanding of the complexity it holds. Frequently, this phrase is used as an advertisement to gain support. For instance, a woman competing in a beauty pageant will use the phrase as a generic answer in the hope of gaining votes. However, when the notion of “world peace” is referenced by Jody Williams and Mary Wareham, it has nothing to do with the idea of utopia; as Williams said during her famous TED talk, peace is not “Kumbaya, my Lord.” Instead, it has everything to do with actions of hard work and commitment. On October 20, 2014, in an Understanding Media Studies lecture, Williams and Wareham spoke about their tireless efforts to spread peace throughout the world.

Abstract: This talk will consider “Selma Last Year,” a largely forgotten multimedia installation that took place during the Winter of 1966 as part of the New York Film Festival’s fleeting interest in Expanded Cinema. A collaboration between the street theater producer Ken Dewey, Magnum photojournalist Bruce Davidson, and Minimalist composer Terry Riley, this groundbreaking media installation juxtaposed large scale projected images, an immersive audio collage, small scale photographic prints, 16mm documentary film, and a delayed video feedback loop to create a series of intentionally disjunctive environments.

Fatima Sesay Latoya Johnson Moreno Belic Mahreen Ali

Understanding Benjamen Walker

A title like “Theory of Everything” sounds random at first, but it is clear that the podcast’s emphasis is on technology and its influence on our culture. Finding connections where seemingly none could be made is perhaps Benjamen Walker’s most appealing talent. Walker, the man behind ToE, offers simple advice: One must believe in the human voice. It is the guiding force behind the intimacy of the podcast, enabling it to establish an instant and heartfelt connection with the listener. This is the fundamental rule that Walker holds tightly while engaging with his listeners. He loves different accents, different perspectives and different angles to view the world, but what is most striking about Walker’s work is the narrative – the crests and troughs – and its ability to convey the diversity of human voices.

Viannie Bell Sean Finnegan Paola Piers-Torres Evan Luis Solana-Cardona

Fatima Mendez Manuel Villarreal Alessandra Caltabiano Zachary Mack Elvira Blanco

Julia Pontecorvo Katerine Vasquez Arsal Asal Kim Acheson Shecoya Moore-Price

 

Since 1966 Jill Godmilow has been producing and directing non-fiction and narrative films including the Academy Award nominated Antonia: A Portrait Of The Woman (1974); Far from Poland, (1984) the post-realist documentary feature about the rise of the Polish Solidarity movement; Waiting for the Moon(1987), a feminist/modernist fictional feature about the lives of the literary couple Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein (1st prize, Sundance Film Festival); Roy Cohn/Jack Smith (1995), a cinematic translation of a theater piece by performance artist Ron Vawter; What Farocki Taught, a replica and interrogation of a short film by German filmmaker Harun Farocki about the production of Napalm B during the Vietnam war, and most recently, a 6 hour, DVD archive, Lear ’87 Archive (Condensed) about the work of the renown New York City theatrical collective, Mabou Mines, at work  on a fully gender-reversed production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”. Among others, she has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations. In 2003, Antonia: A Portrait of The Woman was added to the prestigious National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.

Angelica Amaya David Berezin Charlotte Prager Ellen Reynolds

WWJD? (What Would Jill Do?)

Filmmaker Jill Godmilow has made some bold statements about documentaries, especially their shortcomings in compelling audiences to act on the social issues that they present. In the spirit of documentary films, our group molded our response to Jill Godmilow’s presentation “Staying Out of the Torture Room: The Post-Realist Documentary” as a short documentary, where we used Jill’s own words to create questions. We interviewed people in New York City and Philadelphia, and we asked them for their own opinions about what a documentary should be.

In response to Jill Godmilow’s texts and her presentation for Understanding Media Studies, we have created a documentary film doctrine. Each student was tasked with writing manifesto points, and we have organized them into a visual roadmap. This illustration provides a collection of ideas about documentary filmmaking and offers a critical view of Godmilow’s own dogma published in her paper “Kill The Documentary, As We Know It,” printed in the Journal of Film and Video in 2002. Our roadmap demonstrates the multiple decisions documentary filmmakers face in their practice and the many diverse approaches to the form. While some of us will heed Godmilow’s warnings about what to avoid and what to embrace in filmmaking, others will remain firmly opposed to her approach. Our doctrine reflects views that are consistent with Godmilow’s, as well as ideas that contradict her ideology. We hope that this roadmap will enhance the debate Godmilow sparks in her tenacious criticism of the form.