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The #GreenScreen Winner!

EMEAC (Eastern Michigan Environmental Action Council) recently named the 2011 Green Screen Film Fest winner: Detroit Future Youth partner, the 5E Gallery with The Heru for their documentary on the Youth Food Justice Task Force!!

You can see the amazing documentary below!

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Understanding Point of View

A big part of creating excellent media is understanding point of view. What is point of view? It a skill media makers and artists use to tell the story of the media they’re creating. It’s taking a story, and deciding *who gets to tell it*. Will it be a character in the story? Will it be the artist who is creating the story?

Think about those old English class terms here: first person, third person point of view. Think about Eminem–and how some times Slim Shady tells the story of the song–and other times it is Marshall.

You can also check out the following movies, which are excellent examples of how different points of view help to shape different stories.

Synopsis:

Based on the award-winning novel by Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap is a family drama which tells the story of a misbehaving toddler who is slapped at a barbecue by an adult unrelated to him and with no authority over his behaviour. All eight episodes, each from a different character’s standpoint, trace the shattering repercussions of a single event upon a group of family and friends.

You can get links to all eight episodes at this link. I haven’t watched all the movies yet, so please watch at your own risk.

I’m going to return to this post after I have watched all the movies, but until then, think about the following:

Who usually doesn’t get to tell the story in different types of media? Think about Detroit. Who *usually* tells the story of Detroit? Conversely, who *doesn’t*?

What are some of the reasons different groups of people typically don’t get to tell stories?

How would the story of Detroit be different if it were told by the people who don’t usually get to speak?

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Thinking more about “point of view”

Yesterday, I talked a bit about what “point of view” is and why it’s important to understand when creating media. Today I came across this really great critique of The Vampire Diaries–both of the books and of the television show.

The section in particular focuses on one of the character’s in the series, Tituba. She is, of course, the famous black woman from the Salem Witch Trials who supposedly “planted” the idea of witchcraft into the innocent towns girls’ minds. In this section, Kismet delves into the *point of view* of Tituba and whether the decisions the author of The Vampire Diaries had the character Tituba make were consistent decisions:

But really, Tituba? You and your family members fled Salem trials….to Virginia? You, an enslaved woman of color, went SOUTH to escape persecution? Now why the hell would that happen? And how, with no freedom papers to travel with or protect you upon arrival from re-enslavement would you head SOUTH?

And no, I will NOT assume that Tituba and family couldn’t have known what Virginia was like in the 1690s (in case you are wondering, it was a swampy, penal, violent hell hole servants and slaves, black and white, spent a lot of time trying to run away from; no gauze or Brett or Scarlett here). That would presume Tituba wasn’t sharp enough for her own good–and to have Bennetts that survived slavery and segregation into the second millenia, Tituba would have to have been wicked sharp.

Assuming Tituba didn’t know what Virginia would be like, didn’t know that she was more likely to be enslaved and stay enslaved in Virginia than say, in New York, where a critical mass of free people of color left over from the Dutch regime lived and worked…well, that would be #rude.

Or assuming that, as a “good” domestic, Tituba didn’t know than she’d better eavesdrop like her life depended on it, follow gossip, watch out for runaways (and for how runaways were caught), pay attention to what whites said and how they said it, look for allies in servants or slaves, learn about the lay of the land…even more #rude. Slaves survived slavery by building community. Period. And community building is work. Period. The only way this storyline works is if, as Garcia noted, we don’t look too hard at the connection or we do our own work to fill in the blanks (i.e. Maybe Tituba and company headed to New York and she purchased her freedom and then ended up in Virginia…or something….)

This section revels several complicated ideas about point of view. Specifically, that race and gender are important things to consider when understanding point of view. Kismet argues that Tituba would’ve made much different decisions about her life if the author had considered slavery when considering Tituba’s point of view.

Why would some authors be reluctant to consider slavery? Or a character’s gender, race, economic status, etc?

This is not to say that choosing to not consider certain parts of a person or communities point of view is always necessarily bad. It can actually be subversive in many ways depending on how it’s done.

But let’s return to mainstream narratives about Detroit. When is race usually talked about when stories are told about Detroit? When is race usually ignored or hidden?

How can we begin to create media that does things differently?

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Rocking Saturday December 10th!

There’s lots of really great #detroitfuture events happening on Saturday, December 10th!

First up:

There is the Reimagining Organizing, Movements, Leadership event. Featuring Grace Lee Boggs, Meg Wheatley and Invicible, this event will:

REFLECT on the ways we approach the work of transforming ourselves, Detroit, and the world. ENGAGE in conversation about networks, webs, new forms of organization and aleadership. REDEFINE change from critical mass to critical connections, from growing our economy to growing our souls, from representative democarcy to participatory self-governing communities. CONNECT communities working for change within Detroit to one another, and to communities around the world.

The whole event will be followed by community dialogue facilitated by Adrienne Maree Brown!

The event takes place at Cass Community Commons/UU church at 4605 Cass Ave. from 12-4PM

Next:

Following the Reimagining event, there will be another Detroit Future Youth Network (DFY) gathering! This gathering will focus on the same main ideas as the Reimagining event–but the focus will be on Detroit youth. You’ll remember that DFY works to:

Detroit Future Media’s Youth Program aims to strengthen and deepen youth social justice organizing in Detroit by partnering with and supporting youth programs that focus on justice based education and multimedia creation.

As such, every month they hold gatherings that bring together the programs and organizations within the network with the intention of helping each organization get to know and experience the work that other organizations are doing. These gatherings are always family friendly and focus on youth–this gathering will be no different! The night will feature Invincible performing from her new album and a Old School/New School competition between adult and youth performers! It promises to be a fabulous night!

This gathering will be held at the AMP offices (the old Furniture Factory, 4126 3rd Street) and will take place from 5-9 PM!

And finally:

Decemeber 10th is the last day to turn your applications in for the Detroit Future Media 2012 program!

Deadline to apply is December 10th. Childcare is available and can be arranged for the workshops!

If you are an DFM 2011 alumni wishing to apply for 2012 workshops please fill out the alumni application here: http://bit.ly/t51bxT

Detroit Future Media(DFM) workshops are 20-week trainings for Detroiters interested in building Detroit’s media economy through the creation grassroots media, and community cultural production.

The workshops offer intensive trainings on video, graphics, and web design with a focus on education, entrepreneurship and media-based community organizing. Participants will graduate with the unique skill sets necessary to train other Detroiters in digital media, create their own jobs, foster collaborative forms of community wealth creation, and lead media-based community organizing projects for a better Detroit.

DFM is structured so that participants attend workshops twice a week for 20 weeks. Once a week, participants will be in a workshop within their focus track- either Education, Entrepreneurship, or Community Organizing. These focus tracks are an opportunity to develop skills and perspective for strategic application of the media production skills they are building.

The other DFM day of the week is spent in a media skills workshop- either video, web, or design. These workshops are offered in four week segments and participants can choose a different skills area for each segment, of which there are four total. Due to limited spots we ask that you carefully review the 2012 schedule before applying. The track and workshops are rigorous and require participation and attendance. Participants will meet twice a week for 16 weeks (1 media workshop and a 1 major track). Childcare is also available. If you have any questions please email us at media@detroitfuture.org.

What better way to finish up the application process than with a great night of inspiring performance art?

Mark the 10th in your calendar! Look forward to seeing you!

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Point of View: Princesses Rewritten

I found this really great video which features a rewriting of traditional princess Disney characters.

The video made me think about “point of view” and how really focusing on point of view allows the “narrative” about certain situations and communities to change.

For example: The “narrative” (or story that is repeated continuously over and over about a particular “thing” until that story feels “normal” and “just the way it is”) about the Disney princesses is that all they want at any given time is to find one true great love. We’ve been told that story so often and for so long and in so many different places and ways, it gets to the point that we don’t even question the story any more. Which leads to statements like: *Every* girl grows up dreaming about her wedding day!

Is that true? Does every girl grow up dreaming about her wedding day? Do all girls want to get married? Do all girls want to be in relationships with men? Much less spend all their time as girls planning for a day that may never happen?

But it seems easier to believe that all those narratives about girls because of how *normal* Disney princess stories are in our every day lives.

What happens though, when we start to reconsider the choices that princesses make based on assumptions of what “normal” girls are like?

What happens if we wonder things like: Why would a girl find a man who only loves her for her voice appealing? Would a girl find a man like that appealing?

Or, what happens if we get even more specific. And look at things like: I feel more like a beast than a princess. And what is wrong with a girl being a beast or being “wild”?

Can the “narrative” around princesses stay the same if we continue asking questions that focus on point of view?

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