First set of reflections following my time in Montreal (July, 2009)

This first post-visit reflection focuses on the interviewing and debriefing process—what are closest to my own work experience. One thought that occurred to me is that, for some WGs, the anticipated order of work—interviews first; “shared storytelling” later—may turn out not to be the most natural and productive model. There may be a more complex interweave and even a reversal of the anticipated order. That would itself certainly be interesting and yet another example of the way the CURA is “reinventing testimony.”

Hope, Hope, Hope

On May 28th, after a nine months of bake sales and workshops, classes on listening and classes on ethics, laughing together and fighting in the hallways, interviewing, taking notes, editing, meeting fascinating people, watching documentaries, cutting up little pieces of paper, talking on the phone, writing letters and speeches and essays and press releases, sending millions of emails, and a thousand other things more important and more banal, the Humanities Collective felt everything come together.

It's All Coming Together

We’re starting to feel the pressure of production week as the date of our screening gets closer. All of the invitations have been sent out, we’re editing the documentary and putting it all together, and we’ve started to plan the evening of the screening. The past few weeks have been really exciting, as we’re starting to feel things really come together.

Last stretch

Dear all,

Making Connections

We have just returned from a two week holocaust learning experience, “The March of the Living,” in which we travelled with approximately 250 other Jews our age through many places of historical significance. We spent a week in Poland visiting concentration camps, liquidated Jewish ghettos, mass graves, cemeteries and other holocaust memorials. Following this highly emotional week, we traveled to Israel where we witnessed the continued existence and rise of a Jewish people from the ashes of the crematoriums scattered across Europe.

The Final Countdown

Since the storyboard is done (wooo!), the production team have been putting an enormous amount of work into cutting out the parts of the interview for the documentary. So far, Mr. Vong's interview has been cut down to 13 minutes. This means that it is possible that our film will be longer than 39 minutes if all of our interviewee’s quotations are as long as Mr. Vong's. In my opinion, this would be a perfect length, not too long but also not too short, just enough to transmit the message to our audience.

In High Gear

This week has been a tremendously productive one. The videos of the Mr. Pong and Dr. Chalk interviews were downloaded by the majority of the class by the end of the weekend. On Tuesday we came together and made the decision to use all three interviews together. This required cutting our previously condensed Mr. Smey interview and finding ways to insert Mr. Pong and Dr. Chalk efficiently. This required looking at the notes from Mr. Pong’s interview and Dr. Chalk’s transcript. When this was completed, we started to create our storyboard.

Now We're Really Cooking

This school week was only three days long, but so much is happening! On Saturday and Sunday, not one but TWO interviews were conducted and filmed! In addition, we were able to return to Mr. Smey’s house to take photos and film to use as b-roll. We are working obtaining pictures of Cambodia from various websites in hopes to be able to put visuals on Mr. Smey’s interview.

Progressing - step by step

Dear all,

In the mist of an enormous amount of regular academic work in University,
for both the end of my session and of my studies at the Bachelor level, I
have not been able to put the amount of work I would have like to commit
into my project recently. I am however close to seeing the end of papers
and final examinations, and will soon be able to dive back into the project.

Despite loaded agendas, my collaborators and I have moved forward since my last
blog entry. Nicolay and I, with the precious help of David from CURA, have been

Successes and Frustrations

This week was one of both encouragement and frustration. On one hand, we are steaming ahead with getting what we want from Mr. Sney’s interview and constructing a storyboard. Last week the storyboard crew got the quotes they needed to make up Mr. Sney’s life story focusing on the theme of survival and Alec edited the audio over the weekend. Now we have the 15 minutes we need, which we listened to on Monday. After listening, we had a class-wide discussion on what needs to be taken out or if there are any gaps we need to fill in.