Honolulu, Hawai‘i October 9-12

The film session at EPIC explores the many creative ways ethnographic practitioners have used moving images to interpret data, share insights, and tell the stories of their work. Filmmakers showcase these forays in visual storytelling by screening examples and discussing the limits and possibilities of the form. Films were selected through blind review by our independent program committee.


Wednesday, 10 October, 3:15–4:30
Curators: Jay Hasbrouck, Filament & Monica Frota, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

Helping People Heal
by Rebbekah Park, ReD Associates & Emily Preston, Idea Couture
A documentary-style short film exploring how people in the United States heal themselves once they leave the doctor’s office. This film is based on in-depth field research and illustrates how healing depends on the alignment between what doctors expect from patients, and what people actually do in their everyday lives. Exploring and entering the lives of three individuals, Helping People Heal reveals the ways that people put their recommended treatments into practice—and why these personalized applications achieve better health outcomes beyond simply doing what the doctor ordered. About the Filmmakers

Emily Preston is a Toronto-based cinematographer and director who graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (Honours) in Film Studies. Emily is well-versed in both digital and analog shooting and is skilled in the art of 16mm film processing. To date, her cinematography work has been showcased at many recognized festivals, including the Atlanta Film Festival (2014) and the Atlantic Film Festival (2015). She is also an accomplished director, most notably screening Positions in the Air Canada enRoute Film Festival (2015). Her thesis film Two White Roses won Best Documentary, the People’s Choice award for Best Film, and the Norman Jewison Award for Best Film Production at the 2016 Image Arts Awards. Currently employed by Idea Couture, Emily is the key documentary filmmaker and has produced over fifty films for Fortune 500 companies such as Campbell’s, Whirlpool, Pepsi and Johnson & Johnson. She is currently producing a documentary series, Women in Digital, for Cognizant Technical Solutions that focuses on women in leadership positions and the challenges they face.

Rebekah Park is an applied medical anthropologist and a manager at ReD Associates, where she specializes in health and healthcare. Previously, Rebekah was a professor of anthropology at Marlboro College in Vermont. She holds a PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently serving as an At-Large Board Member for the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA). She previously served on the Committee for Human Rights for the American Anthropological Association. Her book The Reappeared: Argentine Former Political Prisoners was published by Rutgers University Press in 2014.

Seeing Double
by Karl Mendonca, Amazon Music
Dekho, Purani Dilli (Seeing Double) is an essayistic film that illustrates the experiential and contextual nature of ethnography, while reflecting on cultural predispositions that often frame ways of seeing and knowing. The film was produced as part of a design conference in Delhi, where conversations centered on ‘modernizing’ traditional modes of production, distribution and the object itself. My goal was to question a peculiar narrative of modernity and development that positioned design and digital technology as an answer to longstanding social, cultural and political relations. Working in the tradition of structuralist film making, the film is composed as a series of encounters in Old Delhi, where object and people play the role of interlocutors that prompt a turn to history and a deeper engagement with place. As an evidentiary form, the film is an inversion of the typical ‘deliverable’ serving as a critique of accelerated design culture and a meditation on the critical lens ethnography can provide. About the Filmmaker

Karl Mendonca is the Head of Design Research at Amazon Music and an artist, educator and filmmaker. His mixed media work has shown at a number of galleries and film festivals including the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Queens Museum of Art, the Oxford Film Festival, Stuttgart Filmwinter, Jersey City Museum and Experimenta (India). Karl was an adjunct faculty at The New School where he taught hybrid courses on media theory and production. He is also finishing a PhD in Film & Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Tracey’s Struggle
by Shelley O’Neil & Charlie Cochrane, Jump the Fence
Despite the ‘foodie’ reputation perpetuated by reality TV, cooking shows, and food blogs, many Australians struggle with eating healthy food. MasterFoods brand has been a household name in Australian supermarket groceries for 70 years and have a 2020 brand ambition to help all Australians enjoy the rewards that good food can bring. So they asked Jump the Fence to conduct an ethnographic study to understand people with challenges around physical access, time, money, and skill with food. Tracey from Southwest Sydney is one of five people the study focused on. Tracey’s welcoming generosity and honesty are profound and reveal the complex layers of psychological, cultural and situational barriers she has to eating well. About the Filmmakers

Shelley O’Neil and Charlie Cochrane are partners in Jump The Fence, a qualitative research agency. We help our clients make brands, services, communications and strategies that connect with people’s experience, emotion and intention by taking a collaborative approach with our research participants. We use a diverse range of qualitative methods, but our combined backgrounds and specialties make video ethnography our ‘super power’. Our ethnographic films paint pictures that reflect people’s complexity and tell stories that everyone can relate to. They enable empathetic and contextual understanding that data alone cannot.