NYU Culture & Media Program at 30 Years (2021)

  • Talk
  • 57min

BUY A FESTIVAL PASS

For three decades, anthropology doctoral students at NYU’s Program in Culture & Media have been directing outstanding ethnographic documentaries, while also studying diverse media worlds, ranging from remote Quechua radio stations to Bollywood productions. This two-part event features the work of film directors from NYU’s Culture and Media Programme and is introduced by Pegi Vail, Co-Director of the NYU Center for Media, Culture and History.

SESSION 1: ENGAGING MEDIA WORLDS

Hengdian Dreaming 横漂梦游 | 2020 | 56 min.

Director: Shayan Momin

Hengdian World Studios is China’s largest film studio, a major center for producing historical dramas that attract thousands of rural migrant workers to work for unsteady wages as background actors. But increased political censorship of historical dramas, the immense popularity of digital video platforms, and the low wages of background acting encourages many Hengdian migrants to seek money through monetized live video streams by celebrating their broke and aspirational status as hengpiao, or Hengdian drifters. This is a world premiere.

Shayan Momin is a PhD student in the Anthropology department at NYU. His research focuses on Chinese migrant labor, media production, and the social consequences of China’s capitalist transformation.

You can read a review by Yijie Zou about Shayan Momin’s short work, Hengdian Dreams on our blog.

A live conversation between Jenny Chio, Shayan Momin, and Pegi Vail will take place on Zoom on Monday 22 March, 18:00 - 18:25 UTC. Find a link to join here.

Please note, we are taking Zoom security seriously to ensure a safe space for discussion. Everyone wishing to join the live discussion will need to have a verified Zoom account. Sign up for free here.

SESSION 2: DOING THE SHEEP GOOD AND OTHER STORIES: Indigenous Directors from NYU’s Culture & Media Program

Session 2 is a scheduled live screening and discussion taking place on Monday 22 March, 19:00 -20:50 UTC. Find the link to join here

Please note, we are taking Zoom security seriously to ensure a safe space for discussion. Everyone wishing to join the live discussion will need to have a verified Zoom account. Sign up for free here.

This program of diverse, outstanding films by Indigenous filmmakers trained in the NYU Culture & Media Program underscores the significance of their work in decolonizing ethnographic documentary, establishing what some call sovereign screens. This session will be introduced by Ikaika Ramones.

Doing the Sheep Good | 2013 | 26 min.

Director: Teresa Montoya (Diné)

The film charts the life of the films and photographs in the series “Navajo Film Themselves,” made by Navajo youth who were taught to use cameras as part of a 1966 experiment by two anthropologists, as they are about to be repatriated to their community.

Teresa Montoya is a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago where she holds a position in Native American and Indigenous Studies. She earned a PhD in Anthropology from New York University.

Shash Jaa’/Bears Ears | 2016 | 26 min.

Director: Angelo Baca (Diné/Hopi) | website: shashjaa.wordpress.com

Shásh Jaa’ (Bears Ears) encompasses a proposed 1.9 million acres of south-eastern Utah wilderness, a land sacred to local Native American tribes. Through the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, five tribal nations (Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, Hopi, Zuni) came together to protect this pristine ecological area from natural resource extraction, development, artifact looting, and environmental destruction. The film follows Angelo Baca, the director, with his traditional Navajo grandmother Helen Yellowman, and the Coalition’s efforts to convince the Obama administration to designate Bears Ears a National Monument in partnership with these tribes.

Angelo Baca is a cultural activist, scholar, filmmaker and currently a doctoral student in anthropology at New York University. He is the cultural resources coordinator at Utah Diné Bikéyah, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the defense and protection of culturally significant ancestral lands.

Duxh Benigulun/Refusing to Let Go | 2019 | 20 min.

Director: Teresa Martinez-Chavez (Zapotec)

An 88-year-old Zapotec weaver in a small town in Mexico, Dona Rachel struggles with memory loss. The film highlights how her weaving lessons spark her memory and strengthen family relationships while passing down a cultural legacy.

Teresa Martinez-Chavez is a Ph.D. anthropology student at New York University. Her doctoral research interest breaks open the intersection between Indigeneity, women, health, Indigenous movements, and the State. Her film is dedicated to her grandmother and elders who while no longer with us continue to inhabit our world through our bodies and memories. Par Yubiu Machonit.

No Retreat: ‘A‘ohe Hope E Ho‘i Mai Ai | 2029 | 17 min. Sneak Preview

Director: Ikaika Ramones (Kanaka ʻŌiwi) Sneak Preview

Hawaii may be the world’s paradise, but what if all is not as it seems? What if this fantasy covers up something more insidious? This film is an experimental short documentary that explores the gritty realities that many Native Hawaiians face in what is a deeply conflicted landscape. The film fractures, shocks, and salvages–gesturing to how Native Hawaiians work from the detritus of what settler colonialism and capitalist extraction have wrought.

Ikaika Ramones is from Kalihi, O‘ahu. He received a BA in social anthropology from Harvard University, and is pursuing a PhD in social anthropology and a certificate in Culture & Media at New York University. His research examines the social institutional and politico-economic bases of Indigenous nation-building.

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Bonus Content

NYU Culture & Media Program introduction by Pegi Vail and clips from student films
12m

For three decades, anthropology doctoral students, and cinema studies or comparative literature MA/PhD students in NYU’s Program in Culture & Media have been directing outstanding ethnographic documentaries, while also studying diverse media worlds. This reel features clips from films made in NYU’s Culture and Media Programme and is introduced by Pegi Vail, Co-Director of the NYU Center for Media, Culture and History.

Session 2 Film Clips: Doing the Sheep Good and Other Stories
8m

This program of diverse, outstanding films by Indigenous filmmakers trained in the NYU Culture & Media Program underscores the significance of their work in decolonizing ethnographic documentary, establishing what some call sovereign screens. The live session will be introduced by Ikaika Ramones.