This afternoon’s screening at USC School of Cinematic Arts caps another remarkable year of work by the latest MVA cohort at the USC Center for Visual Anthropology. During this one-year intensive MA program, students are trained in ethnographic methods to observe and document people’s embodiment of cultural practice & personal histories, resulting in a half-hour documentary film.
Topics of this year's thesis films include: First-generation college students of color studying animation; parent-child communication between Chinese international students (CIS) born under China's One Child Policy and their parents; polyamorous parenting in the United States; the ritual of Tefillin among Orthodox Jewish men in Los Angeles; traditional Filipino hand-tap tattooing; the culture of social service in a facility for homeless families in Santa Barbara; and the challenges of small farmers in the U.S., 80% of whom are seniors, facing retirement with uncertainly about who will take over their farms when it comes.
Now serving as part of the faculty at the USC Department of Anthropology, after having gone through the program myself in 2018, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the web of support required to lift even (one) film off the ground! My MVA film, Ghost Tape #10, was no different - owing its spirt to the international network of teachers, specialists and cultural advisors I met through USC. My heart is grateful to all the students who collectively inspired their best work amongst them this year, and the instructors who guided them. Learn more about this year’s MVA films here!
2019 MVA Thesis Projects:
Changing Hands: Land in Transition by Amanda Broder-Hahn
To Be Anything, Animating Possible Selves by Marissa Dimitrion
Polyamory in the Family: It Takes a Village by Maleia Mikesell
The Modern Day Mambabatok: Lane Wilcken and Filipino Tattooing in the Diaspora by Kayla Sotomil
Webs of Compassion by Rebecca Truszkowski
Obligation & Self: Chinese International Students and the One-Child Policy by Qihao Wang
Bind It As A Sign: Learning the Jewish Tefillin Ritual by Joshua Zepeda