Reflexive Documentary (Pop Quiz)

(Documentary created with Yael Aragon and Emma Spears)

1. One reflexive element that my team incorporated into our project was the way we showed that there are problems and issues with representation. Rather than representing our subjects fully, we turned the camera toward Emma and represented her as the subject of the documentary.

2. We sought to bring our audiences to a heightened sense of consciousness by the way we went against their expectations of how documentaries normally look. Rather than depicting our subjects, we had Emma film herself during the interviews, pushing the audience to become aware of the fact that Emma was the filmmaker, that she wasn’t conforming with the normal way of conducting interviews. 

3. With regard to how we represented the people, we chose to analyze the most truthful mode of representation. We used multiple cameras to show the full scope of what was happening as Emma filmed herself, I filmed Emma, and Yael filmed both of us. Rather than showing our subjects in the most truthful way possible, we chose to do the exact opposite by showing ourselves as the filmmakers in the most truthful way possible. 

4. Another reflexive element that we played with was by the way we tackled the issues that are posed by realism. We chose to highlight different aspects of the filmmaking process, the parts that are just as real and yet hardly ever reflected on, as we unpacked unrealism. We showed that there is more to an interview than the expected norms of only talking heads and b-roll footage; the filmmakers are just as present.

5. Finally, we chose to play with the formal perspective as a way of making our documentary reflexive in nature. We brought a twist to the norms of how many people perceive a documentary to appear; we depicted ourselves in front of the camera, we rarely if ever showed our subjects, and we had Emma film herself rather than the subjects throughout the entire course of the interview. None of these were conventional methods for how a documentary should look or be depicted and we wanted to highlight that.

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