Thursday, May 20, 2010

Student films related to foodways in New Orleans

With the spring 2010 semester rapidly diminishing in my rear view mirror, I find myself looking back with a great degree of satisfaction on the documentary films that the students in my first year seminar at Loyola made. I challenged these freshmen to make a short, 5 to 7 minute film depicting "some aspect' of the immigrant experience in New Orleans. The topics that they found were diverse and interesting, and everyone who completed a film told a great story. You can see all of them at the Vimeo group that I set up for the class.

Two films in particular, however, deal with food in New Orleans. The first one embedded below is by Shelly Wu, a criminal justice major, and Hilary Landry, a biology major. Their topic was the New Orleans tradition of St. Joseph's Day. Hilary and Shelly were definitely the most organized team in the class and were almost always the first to complete a task. What was remarkable about their work is that neither are terribly "artsy," nor do they have much in the way of technology experience. Their film (as were most of our films) was shot with a consumer-grade Canon Vixia camcorder for interviews and with the simple Flip Video camera for other footage. Stills that they took with a digital camera also appear in the film.

St. Joseph's Day from Shelly Wu on Vimeo.

The other foodways film may well have been the last one completed, but it was certainly the most original in terms of topic. It tells a particularly lucid story and one not oft told in the Crescent City - to wit, the Sunday Feast at the Hare Krishna temple on Esplanade Avenue. Sam Yoger and Devon Baldwin are both students from California and are in Loyola's excellent music program.

Hare Krishna Documentary Final (Baldwin/Yoger) from Devon Baldwin on Vimeo.

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