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Daughters of Immigrants

This film features the stories of five women who talk about their experiences as daughters of immigrants in the United States, reflecting on the discord between the responsibilities and expectations of their traditional homes while traversing through Westernist notions of womanhood. I spoke with five women who are friends and acquaintances of mine, interviewing them about their personal stories. This film is an intimate, emotional, and culturally rich visual form of storytelling.

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The Process

The entire process took around 9 months of work.

The first 3-4 months were in the pre-production stage: visiting topics that I am passionate about, refamiliarizing myself with media forms that I have created and aspire to create, and discovering the work of past students which I found intriguing. I planned out early on who I would like to invite to be featured in my film so that I can get a sense of a more specific direction for my research. I conducted hours upon hours of research on both my media that I was going to create, a short ethnographic docufilm, and the topics I would be discussing, immigrants, daughters of immigrants, gender expectations, biculturalism. Throughout my research, I drafted various questions that I later revised into separate final lists for each participant. I created a calendar timeline of what each of my production stages would look like, paying special attention to how much time each step requires from me. I reached out to each of my interviewees twice before our in-person interview in order to first familiarize them with what the process will look like, and second, get them comfortable speaking to me, a camera, and to the topic on hand, before the final in-person interview.

The next process was the production stage. This stage was very limited, giving me only one month. I flew from Philadelphia, PA, to Portland, OR, and conducted 8 interviews with five subjects in a span of three and a half weeks. I was able to get both the interviews and b-roll footage. This stage was the most challenging of any of the stages. I learned just how fun, challenging, rewarding and frustrating producing a short film could be, especially when working by yourself. I went through multiple rescheduled days, technical issues, faulty equipment, and many other unexpected events. Throughout it, I was able to get over 10 hours worth of footage. Once those three weeks passed, I flew back to Philadelphia, knowing that the footage I had gotten was the footage I would have to work with.

The last stage was post-production. Post-production consisted of two finished products, the short docufilm, Daughters of Immigrants, and a short accompanying research paper, "Daughters of Immigrants: How Coming of Age Women Traverse Bicultural Worlds." This stage lasted 3-4 months. The production of the paper and the film was synonymous. Both relied on each other. Their final products needed to reflect each other. The paper included research from the pre-production stage and content from the film that added to the discussion of the research. The film reflected real-life examples of what the research in my paper was analyzing. I made sure that the media itself proved itself necessary as a form of visual storytelling that represents the experiences these daughters of immigrants are having. I was able to create a ~28 minute short ethnographic docufilm, accompanied by a 35 page research paper. 

Edge of an Age

Edge of an Age follows an 18 year old, transgender man as he navigates his freshman year of college. Tom Kipling recently came out at his high school after beginning his transition over the summer. Most of his friends have stopped talking to him, except for his best friend,

Elizabeth. Tom is frustrated with people at school mistreating him, but takes a very long time to realize Elizabeth, is mistreating him as well. He fears no one will ever fully accept him as a transgender man, but meets a group of friends who invite him to join their film crew and accept him for who he is.


The Process

The entire process took around 3 months of work.

The first month was the pre-production stage. I was assigned a production team and we were given a fully written script for a short film and were tasked to make it 'produceable.' This meant reading through the script and changing any variables that would be difficult to produce in the short amount of time and limited equipment available to us. We worked out logistics with fundraising to create a budget, casting calls for our actors, and setting up filming locations and dates. 

The next process was the production stage. This stage was very limited, we had just a few days for a weekend to film. Since some of our actors were from out of state and spending a couple nights in city with us, we had to make sure that everything we needed to capture was done in the few days we had scheduled with the actors. We encountered a few issues, one of them being a snow storm that resulted in having to cancel two of the production days we had planned, resulting in rescheduling on a tighter schedule. 

The last stage was post-production. In post-production, we worked on both our film, and a website for the film. I worked as a co-editor, creating a trailer for the film, editing remotely shot scenes, as well as any other scenes that needed to be cleaned up from editing by my co-editor. 


The entire production took about a week.

Half of the production took place outside most of the time in the evening and nighttime.

The scenes that took place outside were surrounding car scenes. For these car scenes, it was needed to rig a camera to the hood of the car, and make sure it was secure and not shaking so that the shots came out steady and focused. These scenes were tricky, as the light crew needed to walk, a steadicam followed along the car's side, and the audio team needed to sit in the backseat of the car out of the camera's shot. 

The shots inside were in an airbnb. We had to get everything done within that time we had the airbnb booked. The space was small and we were limited on how many people we were able to have within the space when recording happened. Lighting was the biggest challenge, as there were a lot of lights needed, a lot of hands needed to hold, which limited space.

My primary role was 1st Assistant Camera, pulling focus for the camera, and sometimes being the camera operator myself, either on the steadicam or with a handheld camera, to take the place of the camera operator when they were not available.

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