Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Departments/Programs

Film and Media Studies

First Advisor

Reiko Tahara

Second Advisor

Andrew Lund

Academic Program Adviser

Andrew Lund

Abstract

Shared Resources (Contractual Obligations) is a feature-length documentary that seeks to understand how various kinds of debt––emotional, historical, moral, social and financial––are entangled in my family. After my dad was fired from his job as a debt collector, my parents declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy––a 5-year debt repayment plan. The film follows my parents over the course of their bankruptcy, joining observational footage of their day-to-day lives with essayistic voiceover narration, my parents’ reactions to an early edit of the film, my family members’ and my own audio descriptions of what is visible in the film, and open captions of the film’s auditory information. These audio descriptions and captions not only function as means of accessibility for Blind and Deaf audiences but also as cuts, which render the processes of selection, exclusion, and occlusion that shape my family’s perceptions and the film’s editing. In seeking to show how certain forms of dependency are frequently cut out of the picture, this film compares the legal apparatuses that typically undergird the production of documentary films and the “risk management” of debt collection––asking how filmmakers might share all risks and liabilities with those in front of the camera, acknowledging the debts that bind them.

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