After spending the last two years of their lives capturing intimate portraits of communities and individuals on film, seven students will share the fruits of their labor on screen at the Del Mar Theatre. The films will be screened on June 10, marking an end for the Social Documentation (SocDoc) class of 2015.
Founded in 2005, SocDOC is a two-year MFA program for documentarians who aim to create work that highlights underrepresented communities, issues and cultures. The students work with film and digital media and SocDoc faculty, as well as an adviser in their field of expertise to develop their documentary.
“As a cohort-based program, we are watching and helping each other’s projects as they develop from scratch up until their final edit for the theater screening,” said Rana Jarbou, a student whose thesis documentary will be screened at the Del Mar.
This year’s films take viewers across the globe, from examining the privatization of prison systems in the heart of Mississippi to following an indigenous cacao farmer in Panama to documenting how black folks defy gender binaries in Oakland.
All the students’ documentaries share a common thread — they address issues of social injustice and aim to give, as Jarbou said, “a voice to the voiceless.” All the projects addressed the theme of “Changing Landscapes.”
Jarbou’s documentary “Hajwalah” focuses on a subculture in Saudi Arabia where young men engage in motorsport activities like drifting or joyriding. The term “Hajwalah” also means driving around in no direction. Rakan, the protagonist in Jarbou’s film, reworks this interpretation to reflect the joyriding she participated while making the film — roaming around as a passenger with the city sprawling into the desert horizon.
Another SocDoc student, Cecily Engelhart, examines the relationship between food, history and culture in her film “Siouxtable Food.” Englehart draws on her own experience raised partially in the South Dakota Yankton Sioux Reservation and heads to the Northern Plains to look at how the connection between food and colonization is experienced by the Sioux peoples.
In addition to the screening, the SocDoc class of 2015 will host an exhibition this Friday, June 5 at the Mutari Chocolate House as a part of the First Friday Art Walk.
For more information, visit: http://arts.ucsc.edu/news_events/9th-annual-social-documentation-graduate-exhibition