[Dog portraits and fostering] Updates on progress

Dog Portraits

As we had lots of difficulties with our contacts, especially with some of them being unresponsive, or cancelling last minute, Nora and I decided to change our focus for this interactive project. Originally, we wanted to shoot something like ‘a day in the life of a foster’ so that people could experience what it is like to be a foster parent for an animal. We wanted to promote animal fostering and rescuing, and feature the experience of foster parents, as well as rescuers, and veterinaries.  Continue reading

Final Project Pitch/ zf526 (Chen)

Story of Milk Tea in Shanghai


The whole video will be decided into three parts.

First Part — a general introduction of milk tea’s origin and differences between all kinds of milk tea.

Second Part — the story of how milk tea got spread and populated in big cities in China like Shanghai, together with the introduction of different brands in Shanghai

Third Part — focus on what milk tea has bring us (interview with nutritionist and people who are obsessed with milk tea)


For the web: Interactive web pages with one part of the documentary on different pages with different styles, and for each part there is an extension page to give additional information on milk tea

First Part — this part is generally a comic part with black-and-white drawings of the origin and making process of milk tea with the information page about different kinds of milk tea

Second Part — this part is edited shots of the trace of milk tea in the city Shanghai, including the milk tea shops and people with milk tea, with the information page about different brands and their differences

Third Part — this part is interviews of prof. and nutritionist and people who are obsessed with milk tea to talk about the influence milk tea has on people’s life and the urban city with the information page about the data behind this topic


the privacy of shooting milk tea industry, and the accumulation of both picture and text materials


~Nov. 23rd Footage shooting

(Including the interviews with Prof. Anna Greenspan and nutritionists)

Nov. 23rd ~ 30th Starting building the web and dealing with footage

Dec. Finishing the web and integrate the video into it

Week 9: Randomization Assignment

For this week’s assignment I decided to recreate one of Nassos Daphins’s art pieces. I was introduced to Daphin’s work back in high school and decided that his work was ideal since his work is geometric abstraction.

In specific, I decided to recreate the art work below: 

For the randomization aspect of the piece I plan on making sure to randomize the colors of the piece.



Interactive Documentaries: Documentary Update (A Chen)

10/25 — Shiny and Alanna Skyped Erica Balenciaga (NYU student currently in Korea) who knows all the key players  in the Shanghai drag scene

10/27 — Amber and Alanna went to Momo & Miss Univers’ apartment to watch them get ready and interview them. Then they went to the drag show and got footage of the performance.

11/1 — Amber, Shiny and Alanna went to meet and talk to Ennis, biggest drag king in Shanghai, off camera.

11/2 — Amber, Shiny and Alanna met and talked to Fantasia to talk about project off camera.

11/5 — Shiny and Alanna spent the day with Fantasia getting ready in her apartment and went out to brunch for more interviews.

To do:

-Need to talk to Kimbery and Eli — the 2 other big drag queens in the Shanghai scene.

-Need to talk to Dorian — the other big drag kin in Shanghai.

-11/18 is the biggest drag queen competition in Shanghai. Everyone is going. We need to discuss how to split up work — we want to watch multiple queens/kings getting ready, but they’ll all be getting ready at the same time at different places. Will likely need help****


Week 9: Response to Manakamana // yz3440 (Chen)

To be honest, I enjoyed watching this film for the aesthetics, underlying philosophical ideas, and the way it presents itself in a documentary form. Although the running time of the film seem a bit longer than necessary so that it becomes boring at the first sight, it, later on, shows that this might be the best approach to the main idea the director was intended to convey. The film builds up a context that tells you it’s from Nepal, it’s recording daily life, it has something to do with the Hindu temple, must be something religious, and that’s all. The content does not have any particular message to convey but sets the viewers to think of their own ones in the particular context.

Continue reading

Manakamana response by Máté

Usually I can appreciate films that take long to unveil their plots and introduce characters. That approach in my point of view only works if while the film is going through that process of introduction while taking its sweet, sweet time, it also builds up tension in order to engage the viewer. Even though I found the scenery and the shots amazing, this sense of tension was not something I had during this part, or in fact, the entirety of the movie. I feel like the conversations captured were interesting enough, but in order for them to work better, the characters should have been developed in a more nuanced way. Perhaps it was only that the filmmakers didn’t have the resources to do that, but in the end, it contributes to a narrative that is pretty much flawed.

What I loved were the cultural insights and the general aura of the film. Even though the narrative itself wasn’t the best, the atmosphere the film has built has left me wanting for more. It is kind of interesting to think that perhaps if the filmmakers relied more heavily on some kind of plot, this sense of mystery and awe might have been gone. Still, the conversations of the people featured carried a lot of significance that might have had more weight if it was put into a wider context, even through (god forbid) some narration.

But I also want to reiterate what I have expressed a few times in class and in my responses, which is why I think that the general fly-on-the-wall approach (is there a synonim for that expression? I’m really tired of using that expression) more ofter makes the narrative feel dishonest than honest.

You are showing people who are seemingly unaware of the camera.

They really are not.

You are not fooling anyone.

I feel like I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that as a documentarian, it is virtually impossible to remove yourself 100% from the story, and if you are unable to do that (which you are), the more honest option might be to embrace the fact that you are part of the story. The story is Schrödinger’s cat. People are Schrödinger’s cat. Everything is Schrödinger’s cat. Things really are different when observed. Especially through a camera.


Review of Manakamana

Overall I like the idea and the minimal style of this movie. I believe, it is a good thing it did not have a voice over telling about the place, the temple, history of Nepal and did not introduce the people. I think it was a really good idea to let the viewer figure out the situation themselves. I don’t know much about Nepal but I believe this film showed a really great part of the community of the people that usually go to this temple. It was interesting to see a little bit their perspectives on the way up to the mountain. Some old people told about how it took many days to go up to the temple and how easy it is now that the cable car was built. It was nice to see the different people that go up there and hear their unrelated stories.

I think it is also a good move that it was not someone interviewing these people, the camera was left their basically stalking them. I imagine how hard it was to get meaningful conversations.

One thing I did not like as much is that in the beginning for like 15-20 minutes no one said a word and I got a little bit bored. Once they started talking it got super interesting but before I just did not know what to think. Obviously, people who did not say a word had to be included because in reality they probably would not say a word during the trip but personally, I would have place these in the middle. This way it was a little bit confusing to me. I was thinking: Are these gonna be just shots of people sitting there and not talking ?

I really liked that it seemed like the film was unedited and taken with one shot and probably most of it was but I am pretty sure the cabin the goats used was a totally different one. It was nice to include the goats since they are part of the life on the mountain but without this it would have seemed like it was just one shot and I think that would have made this piece way cooler.

Manakamana film response

I did not really enjoy this experimental documentary for a few reasons, but the first and most important reason for me is because there was no substance. I thought it lacked a storyline and was very slow paced. I didn’t really understand why they were being filmed until like halfway into the film, which I had already gotten up like 10 times prior to that because I couldn’t sit still that for that long. Apart from my toddler attention span, I didn’t find a true direction in which the documentary was headed except for it was just different groups of people taking transportation. But for a film that long, I feel like it should have been more of a character build up. I liked where the beginning was going but after I realized that was the majority I felt like it was starting to get very repetitive.

I ended up appreciating the conversations at the end but I think it would have been effective to include subtitles. Overall I thought the main problem was the pace of the film and the repetition of the same actions happening over and over. I did take away my own conclusions from these peoples lives which was a powerful reaction as a viewer. My criteria for a film or documentary is if I pick up my phone throughout the duration of the film, then it did not do a good job capturing my full attention, and this documentary lacked that and my attention.