DocuLab is a donor-funded five-year program that will develop student-faculty documentary work in VCAM.
Students will spend ten weeks both on campus and in the field developing documentary projects, working with faculty, visiting filmmakers, and technicians. Taking advantage of the new filmmaking spaces and equipment in VCAM, the initiative builds on the College’s successful Interdisciplinary Documentary Media Fellows Program (WAKE, Capitalish) and the Hurford Center’s Tuttle Summer Arts Lab (The Pool Movie Project). DocuLab is a joint initiative of the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and VCAM.
Contact: jweissin [at] haverford.edu (James Weissinger), Associate Director, Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities and VCAM Operations Manager
Summer DocuLab 2022
A-DOC Impact Lab
June- Early August 2022
Faculty Lead: Emily Hong, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Visual Studies
Led by filmmaker and Haverford professor of Anthropology and Visual Studies Emily Hong, the summer 2022 iteration of the DocuLab program is a ten-week partnership between Haverford and the Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc), a national network of 1000+ film professionals that works to increase the visibility and support of Asian Americans in the documentary field. For ten weeks, students will immerse themselves in the emerging field of impact producing by joining the team of one of three Asian-American directed documentary films working to maximize their social justice impact. The Lab will provide students a unique opportunity to gain practical experience and professional development training in the fast-growing field of impact producing, expertise in film distribution and marketing (rarely taught in filmmaking courses), and connections to a wider professional network of filmmakers.
The A-Doc Impact Lab is a collaboratively envisioned DocuLab focused on an emerging field of filmmaking which harnesses the unique power of film to bolster social justice goals. Impact producing is a strategic practice that mobilizes filmmaker-community partnerships to bring about change through shifting cultural narratives, changing attitudes and behaviors, activating grassroots movements, and targeting power-holders. The Lab design draws on Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Visual Studies Emily Hong’s prior work as a social change strategist, experience teaching film production at Haverford and her ongoing engagement with the Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc).
The film teams will include three Asian-American directed films-in-progress—Professor Emily Hong’s own film, Above and Below the Ground, and two other films in late production or post-production. Each of the student participants of DocuLab will be matched with one of these film teams according to their skills, experience, and interests.
June 2022 Impact Strategy Summit (at Haverford)
The 10-week Lab will kick off with a 3-day intensive summit at Haverford that brings together 3 A-Doc film teams, students, community partners, and impact experts. The summit will bring together selected stakeholders such as issue experts, grassroots organizations, journalists, educators, and members of the affected community to watch film excerpts and offer important insights through discussions on the key issues, story, scenes, messaging, framing, and other aspects to inform impact strategy development for the film.
June-August 2022 Core Lab Activities (Virtual)
The remainder of the lab will consist of (1) weekly virtual workshops focused on deepening shared understandings of impact producing models, strategies and skills and (2) hands on project-based work with each film team, including a weekly remote report-back session for each team to highlight what they are working on, and any challenges they would like feedback on from the other teams.
Workshop topics will cover four major curricular areas: (A) Impact producing (B) Distribution (C) Cultural strategy, and (D) Social change strategies. Workshops will be led by experts in the field of documentary, impact producing, and social change.
Hands-on project-based work will depend on the needs and stage of the selected films. Each student will take the creative lead on one project, examples of which could include developing a multimedia film discussion guide, producing and editing a package of promotional videos (e.g. interviews, special trailers, behind the lens features), coordinating a tour of film screenings, designing impact campaign materials, or leading a social media campaign.
August 2022 Retreat (at Haverford)
The Lab will conclude with a 2-day retreat at Haverford, including a field visit to film screenings at the Blackstar Film Festival in Philadelphia followed by in-depth discussions amongst Lab participants. The retreat will culminate with presentations from each film team on their impact campaign strategy, learnings and insights on the process, and other impact-related project updates from the teams.
The program is open to Haverford students, including graduating seniors, as well as Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore students. Preference will be given to students who have not yet participated in a DocuLab. Student Fellows will each receive a $5000 stipend to cover room, board, travel, and other expenses.
Applicants need not have experience in film production, but should have experience working/volunteering/organizing on social justice issues and a passion for art and social change.
Applicants should have a background/skillset in one or more of the following areas:
- Community organizing, social issue campaigning, activism, movement-building
- Social media marketing, website design, graphic design, communications, PR
- Event planning and coordination, curriculum development, training and facilitation
- Film production and post-production, photography, visual art, storytelling
- Asian American studies, ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, visual studies
Note: Student applicants who demonstrate a deep interest in impact producing but lack film production experience will be required to commit to taking a film production course in the Tri-Co Consortium during the Spring 2022 semester.
About the Lab organizers
Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc) is a national network that works to increase the visibility and support of Asian Americans in the documentary field. We welcome and include filmmakers who self-identify as Asian American, recognizing that this is a porous, evolving definition. We encourage members from the broader Asian American community to be active. We are committed to sharing ideas and resources, providing mutual support and mentorship, and advocating for equity and diversity in the production and distribution of non-fiction storytelling.
Emily Hong is a Korean-American visual anthropologist, filmmaker and social change strategist who has worked in Thailand and Myanmar for over a decade. Emily’s non-fiction film and video work combines feminist, decolonial and ethnographic approaches with impact-oriented storytelling. Emily’s short films GET BY (2014), NOBEL NOK DAH (2015), and FOR MY ART (2016), have explored solidarity and labor, womanhood and identity in the refugee experience, and the gendered spectatorship of performance art, respectively. Her current feature-length project ABOVE AND BELOW THE GROUND features indigenous women and punk rock pastors leading an environmental movement in Myanmar’s North. Emily is the co-founder of Ethnocine and Rhiza Collectives and a Leadership Team member of the Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc). She is an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies and Anthropology at Haverford College and a 2021 Fejos Postdoctoral Fellow for Ethnographic Film.
Above and Below the Ground (feature film in post-production) tells the story of indigenous punk rock pastors in Myanmar who team up with women activists to protect a sacred river from a Chinese-built megadam. From Aung San Suu Kyi's broken election promises to a military coup threatening their homeland, activists and musicians fight back through protest, prayer, and Karaoke music videos.
This DocuLab hopes to thoughtfully engage with these knowledges and the resources that filmmakers and performers can share with one another, all in the interest of creating a research platform where makers of performance and makers of film can be co-inquirers and collaborators.doculab-archive
For ten weeks during summer 2020, five students participated in the production of the experimental documentary film Smile4Kime. Fellows conceptualized, developed, and created animated scenes for the film in collaboration with local Philadelphia artists.doculab-archive
For ten weeks during summer 2019, five Haverford and Bryn Mawr College students helped create a documentary centered on the city of Philadelphia in the summer of 1976. The project took place in Philadelphia with professor Thomas Devaney, collaborating with Greenhouse Media artists and filmmakers Matthew Suib and Aaron Igler.doculab-archive
Dizhsa Nabani is a documentary web series that explores the relationship between identity, language, and daily life in the Valley Zapotec community of San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya.doculab-archive