Response to Manakamana

Personally I really enjoyed this experimental film. It reminds me of a short story called The Garden of Forking Paths written by Jorge Luis Borges. I love the Title “Manakamana” because it is repeated and circling structure, just like the structure of the film. Meanwhile the word gives me a sense of mystery, which set off the religious atmosphere.

The film is kind of strange. I don’t understand where is the cable car going. In the three rounds at the beginning, the cable car stopped and picked new passengers, and kept going up. In the fourth round we knew the destination while the cable kept going up and this time it passed through the totally different scenes.

The goal of the film is confusing and blurry. At first I thought the director was trying to display a kind of inner psychological activity. It not only reflected the pilgrims’ inner activity but also reflected the collective unconsciousness of the human. The human are struggling to go up into the paradise, getting rid of the flesh and blood and the chains from the reality.

As I did the research, I found the director tried to discuss about the relationship between nature and science. The interval darkness suggested the interval transitions in the cinema and the interspace between the project machine’s rotation. The director tried to combine the cinema and the film together. However the film did not make me feel this point. Maybe it is because I did not seat in the cinema and watched this movie.

Response to Kings of Nowhere

The film, Kings of Nowhere by Betzabé Garcia, is a poem. It is delicate, gorgeous and beautiful. It creates a strong sense of loneliness but the film actually seldom directly describes the loneliness in the places and its residents.

First is the color. The color style is cold, most of which is grey, blue and green. The saturability is low. Amazingly the color does not make the film look abandoned. It looks a little bit sad and lonely, but also harmonious and peaceful.

Second is the scenery.  I love the river, the island, the flourishing grass and trees. There is a scene that a man with a cow approaching closer to the camera. The flourishing green grass overfilled the screen. The scenery in the film is full of vigor, which is contrast with the sense of loneliness. There is a tension within the film that impressed me a lot.

Third is the composition of the camera. Most of the time the shoot stands out the single person or several people. It suggests that  this community is lonely and like a small island in the sea, while the connection between the people are close and warm. It does not only strengthen the lonely sense, but also reflects the warmness and affection within the residents.

At last is the way the director narrates the story. The director restrains his emotion very well. The style is gentle and calm. There is no heartbreaking emotion but very impressive.

Response to Moana with sound

This movie actually did not catch me because I cannot really understood its narrative. It jumps from one situation to situation without strong logic and it made less sense for me. However it did created a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. Because the shoots and frames have a power, which I call, a kind of purity, lively and firm power. The composition of frame is clear and attracting.

I like this dance shoot best. It is a long shoot with background music. The original song recorded from the local people worked very well because I can hear the happiness and joy from the song. The dance is completed by the man and his wife.

First, the emotion and eye connection between the couple are vivid and impressive.  They are better than any other actors’ emotion and facial expression in the films. Second, the gestures and body language are powerful and show the wildness. The long shoot totally focus on the dancing of the couple without any other distractions. The black and white color stand out this kind of purity.

Interactive Documentary Final Documentation

Seafood in Shanghai is an interactive documentary that takes viewers on a tour through the timeline of the seafood they love to eat. In light of the recent changes to the market and heightened interest in seafood products, we take viewers on a tour of Jiangyang Wholesale Seafood Market to get a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes.

Interactively, this project is presented on a dinner table. You can click each plate for a corresponding story behind the seafood item depicted. The centerpiece is the buddha, explore the table to understand its significance at this particular seafood market!

In order to design the website in HTML, I selected the images and coded them together to form the table. Each plate links to a full-screen embed youtube video.


My initial vision for this project was to take viewers through an interactive experience of the seafood process, from beginning to end. The documentary would begin on a boat with a catchman, documenting his process of procuring the initial product. Then, it would document the journey of each food item from catch, to wholesale supply, all the way down to retail purchase at a restaurant. Due to scheduling and organizational issues, I was not able to execute the full vision for the project. However, I was able to get a full experience at the seafood market as well as some important insight into the business as a whole.

As it stands, Seafood in Shanghai is an interactive experience that documents the process of different seafood items within the JiangYang wholesale seafood market. Also included is an interview with Lin, a major seafood supplier and restaurant owner in Shanghai. The inclusion of his interview is meant to give viewers a retailer’s perspective of the industry and business.

There were several learning points for me while working on this project. In hindsight, I definitely would have partnered up with someone from class as it was extremely difficult to schedule and execute things with my personal partners. Relying on others to get things done was also a major learning point, as I found myself wasting a lot of time waiting around for people to pull through for me. Next time, I will execute as much as I can by myself or make sure that I can better calculate the risk of being left to do things by myself. Teamwork is incredibly crucial when working on a documentary, and this one was no exception. Being that most of the film was conducted in Chinese, this also added another dimension. Had I been working with a team, roles could have been delegated, thus resulting in less stress and wright on my shoulders.

Setbacks aside, I think the struggles I endured while working on this project were actually for the better. Now, I understand every role in documentary film making and have the ability to delegate accordingly. As I continue working on Seafood in Shanghai, I will make sure to at least have a dedicated audio technician, translator, and someone to assist with editing and post-production as well. On this project, I handled the direction, interview direction, filming, audio, and post-production, while managing several other video projects as well. Thankfully the main thing I was meticulous about was file management, which paid off in the end.

In addition to working with a team, given a next time I would also try harder to spend more time building a relationship with my subjects prior to shooting, so as to make the process more seamless. When reviewing my footage after the fact, I realized that I had to do a lot of interjecting and explaining. These steps can be mitigated next time by pre-planning and solidifying the vision before going out in the field. This was my first documentary and my first seafood documentary, so I did a lot of learning along the way!

For the interactive portion, I would ideally present this documentary as a site-specific installation. It would be a screening event with viewers sitting around a table and the documentary would be projected onto the plates. Each course would feature a different type of seafood. For example: viewers would first watch the process of lobster from catch to final plate presentation, then the first course of lobster would be served on the plate. After each course, plates would be cleared and a different food would be highlighted. At the end, there would be some sort of commentary or open-ended question posed about food ethics.


Bao steel documentary

David and I shoot Bao steel factory the whole semester because it is a place full of contradictions and is very interesting. Originally we shot the factory itself, but at last we decided to shoot the community around the factory, displaying how Bao steel factory influences people’s life.

We made the physic map because we wanted to show the geography information. Bao steel is far away from the city center. As we interviewed, we found that although the housing price was low because it is far away from the city center, but as economy developed, the housing price is higher and higher, and the workers cannot afford the price, so they move to the towns outside the Shanghai.

I did the interview, map design, laser cutting and audio editing. The interview part is actually the most difficult part. Because nobody wanted to be interviewed so I just hide the Tascam in my pocket and pretend I was just chatting with them. Therefore there are a lot of background noise in the interview and because people were talking casually, the volume of the sound are very unstable.

Personally, I like the stories in Leye Village clip best because I had many interviews with different people and got many information. And I like the frames in the Hospital clip best because it is amazing to look the factory from the top of the hospital. The audience can see the smoke and fire clearly. But for hospital I did not get enough material. Fortunately, I kept the Tascam on all the time so it caught some words about hospital from the chatting with people.

In the original idea, there will be two videos on the screen simultaneously, the con and the pro. But ann said it was too obvious so we combine the cons and pros together. We don’t want to judge the Bao steel, but show all the contradictions to the audience and let them judge.

Bao Steel Final

For Interactive Documentary final project, me and Carol really wish to continue with the Bao Steel piece.  We find the place interesting that it is filled with tons of controversies.

We visit there six times, doing casual talk to people and let them naturally talk about their life with a special companion – Bao Steel factory. We choose three special locations to focus on and finally we wish to combine the documentary piece with 3D model to really show the tangible feeling of the piece.

Development processes:

Here is a quick look at the final piece:

Bao Steel is a location-based interactive documentary which examines the tensions between the Bao Steel factory and the people living around it. Bao Steel located in Bao Shan District, the northeast side of Shanghai. The factory was constructed in 1979 to help China catch up with Japan economically. Since then, the factory has boost the economy growth of Shanghai, and in larger scale – China. Nevertheless, the pollution generated by the factory negatively affect people’s life around the factories; the housing price is increasing rapidly; and the infrastructures are still. The factory, therefore, becomes a center of controversies…

David Lin and Carol Chen intends to use location-based interaction to show the dynamics of Bao Steel Factory and its relations with the local community in a tangible way. We use laser-cutting and 3D printing to create the 3D map where users could interact with the map by scanning the QR code.

Máté & Tyler final project documentation

Our project aimed to discover and explain the human emotion of fear through a series of interviewes intervined with animations and presented on a website in a nonlinear structure. Although we haven’t managed to make as much animations as we wanted to and the level of interactivity is not quite top-notch, the project in its final version is in a presentable state.

How we shared the tasks:


  • recorded three of the six interviews
  • conducted four of the six interviews
  • made the website
  • did some pre-editing on a few interviews


  • recorded three of the six interviews
  • conducted two of the six interviews
  • did the editing
  • did the animations
  • made research for the additional interactive parts (we didn’t have time to include these in the final product)

How we could move forward:

  • conducting interviews with a more diverse group of people
  • add more animations
  • add more interactivity

With this project both of us have learned valuable lessons about the movie making process from recording to editing, as well as the exact nature of each task and the role of interactivity in web-based documentaries.

MOE–Final Art Installation

For our final, Vanelly and I wanted to dive into the tattoo world in China. It seemed like something very interesting to bring to light because it has been a topic of controversy in Asia, considering Japan doesn’t even allow people with tattoos to swim in public bath houses and pools. Going into it, I thought we would find so much more research than we actually did. We took a whole new route after meeting up with a few tattoo artists at a tattoo parlor/barber shop called Brash. We filmed there about 3 times and really got to know the people who worked there. After we analyzed the footage and were looking for actual substance to work with, it lacked interest. It was too dull and we had to look for a new subject of interview. We turned to Vanelly’s friend Moe who was actually getting a tattoo and had a conversation with her before her session. She was an interesting subject because she has this vibe to her that is very spontaneous. She says that sometimes she wakes up and gets random tattoos just because she feels like it. Or that she wants to feel pain when getting tattooed because it vindicates the tattoo in her defense. So we met with her and shot with her and we chose 3 specific locations that all told a story that provoked some type of emotion to whoever the viewer is. We chose her arm, ab, and hand and in each place there is a significant backstory that she has used to shape herself and tell her own story. So we decided to do an art installation that represented our subject, Moe, and the significance of tattoos to her life and their representation in regards to love, death and relationships. This idea had come about about 2 weeks prior to the final because we wanted these 3 body parts to augment their actual meaning and almost make them stand out by dramatically using slow shots and really close up shots that give off a caricature perspective as a three dimensional immersive world so that there isn’t a “spectator” aspect but instead the aspect of being there in present time . The sound was the hardest to manipulate and edit, but it was playing while all 3 videos were on loop and she gave her backstory about each part of the body and each tattoo on that body part. I can say I have definitely learned a lot throughout the course so in retrospect, I am proud of the work we produced because it allowed me to see where my weak points and my strong points are when it comes to production. It was my first ever interactive art installation, and learning along the way how to provoke those thoughts and emotions was so challenging. But in the end, all the skills and insight that I learned was truly rewarding.

Interactive Documentaries Final: MOE

Title: MOE
Names of Team & Roles
Vanelly Garces
Sofia Shockman
We both took on a variety of roles and made sure we each were able to experience what its like to edit, film, direct, etc.
Names of People in your film: 
Moe Devine
Logline: Moe is an installation about a girl in Shanghai who has a variety of tattoos and how she has come to this point in her life.
Synopsis: Our installation, Moe, is a piece that takes you on a journey in being able to view the many different tattoos on Moe’s body and just how she has gotten to this point in her life. A 24-year old living in Shanghai, Moe has much to explain on what she has seen and done, much of this is reflective on her body. Everything from death to new journeys is discussed in the conversation as she gives you specific details on how she has gotten some tattoos and how some don’t have quite a meaning to them. This project brings the viewer to understand how this art form has been one that the 24-year old has been able to utilize and make it part of her everyday life.  As you are viewing these videos you have Moe’s voice in the background with different anecdotes being told.
In order to execute this properly and make sure that we are able to capture every part of her body we created videos that were slowed down and showed you either her showing off her tattoos or getting them. In the background is an audio file being played giving you the edited sound footage of Moe talking.
 Reflection: Overall, I really enjoyed how our project turned out. It was interesting to see how while filming and preparing for such a long time how a project can shift from one thing to a completely different piece. If there was anything that I could change it would maybe be just trying to adjust the sound quality a bit more, but overall this was a project that I enjoyed doing.
  • 3 Projectors
  • 4 Laptops
  • Canon Camera
  • Microphone
  • Tascam
  • Headphones
  • Speaker