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Following the Story: Making Art About Place

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Room 125 State Hall

Wayne State University

5143 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

Detroit, MI 48202

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Presented by Creative Many, this discussion will focus on documentary filmmaking and other forms of time-based media with Detroit-based documentary filmmakers and multimedia artists Nicole Macdonald and Orlando Ford. In the session, we consider how to portray multiple stories and voices from one region, in narrative form. Podcaster Zak Rosen will also help lead the discussion on the challenges of creating a world and story arc through sound. Topics include the importance of (1) keeping and maintaining audience attention; (2) chronology and construction; (3) value of telling the “truth,” often from disenfranchised people, what that can mean and implications; (4) how to research historical records and archives; (5) how to discuss the past, the present, and make posits for the future, while honoring the audience without being dictatorial.

Clips are screened from the recent work of both co-hosts, including “Last Days of Chinatown,” exploring the history and gentrification of the Cass Corridor, and “Take Me Home,” which counters the common narrative of housing foreclosure in Detroit, by presenting stories of residential relationships that Detroiters have with their homes.

Selected works-in-progress from area filmmakers and sound artists will be screened and discussed as a group, including the ethnographic super-8 inquiry by Julia Yezbick about Detroit and Beirut, Weam Namou's feature democracy, Living Tribal in a Democracy, on the Iraqi diaspora in Sterling Heights; a sound map story on the North End / Piety Hill neighborhoods of Detroit by Billy Mark, and Benjamin Corona's documentary on a life-long Southwest Detroit environmental activist, interweaving recent and archival footage.

In the analysis we will focus on different ways to translate a “place” into a story for viewers and listeners, and how to shape stories to generate certain rhetorical and societal effects.


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Room 125 State Hall

Wayne State University

5143 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

Detroit, MI 48202

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