Paper short abstract:
Researcher and filmmaker Sam Firth, will share experimental techniques used in an auto-ethnographic documentary studying the construction of individual and shared family narratives using a process in which participants "direct" actors to perform memories.
Paper long abstract:
Sam Firth is an experimental filmmaker and researcher at the University of the West of Scotland whose work has screened at film festivals around the world and won numerous awards. She was recently recognised with a BFI Chanel Filmmaker Award. For this panel she will share the experimental techniques she used in an auto-ethnographic documentary studying the construction of individual and shared family narratives and discuss related work. Her project builds upon Rouch’s premise that any attempts to observe using filmmaking necessarily affect the subject and embraces documentary filmmaking as a mode of collaborative discourse using a process in which the participants helped "direct" actors to perform their conflicting memories. In the film participants give feedback and comments on both the performance and narratives enacted with the actors become fellow collaborators and sounding boards. The audience and participants gain insight into the memories that are shared and how and why they conflict. This technique of reconstruction, retelling and replaying functions as a means of emotional and ethical exploration into the past and the nature of memory; positioning the film as an act of philosophical and ethical enquiry.
The film itself being a study into the impact of trauma and misogyny on a family narrative, a piece research into creative documentary filmmaking processes, and a piece of cinema in its own right having screened at the London Film Festival in 2021.
The limits of observation: ethnofiction and documentary horizons
Session 1 Friday 10 March, 2023, -