2018–2019

Imał, or the Origin of Death

Indigenous and Native American Studies/Literature/Cinema Studies/Ethnography/Linguistics/Photography/Filmmaking

For this project I will be working on a feature length experimental film focused in and around the Pacific Northwest and the language Chinuk Wawa, indigenous to the region. Based off of a series of myths, the story will follow a nontraditional format, existing somewhere between documentary and narrative forms with a strong grounding in experimental cinema, while trying to navigate what is culturally appropriate to share and express through the medium.

An ideal research partner is someone who has an understanding of contemporary Indigenous issues and willing to learn more and contribute to that conversation during the development of the film. A background in filmmaking or cinema studies is not required. The help I would need with this project would be with administrative tasks, logging/editing footage, research into areas such as historical forms of Indigenous representation in film, ethnographic histories of tribes of the Pacific Northwest, linguistic concepts around Chinuk Wawa and Chinook Proper, and examinations of the form of the prose of storytelling style of Chinookan speakers. All that being said, the direction of this project is very fluid and malleable, with the editing of the film taking place while the scenes are still being shot.

Over the course of the year I will also be working on ancillary projects in relation to the film such as short videos and installation projects as well as written pieces. I see them as somewhat discrete, while also relating to and being in conversation with the feature film.

Working on this project the research partner will gain experience working with video and experimental cinema, and really whatever they want to get out of this partnership.