Title

Unsettling

Date of Award

Fall 1-14-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Film and Media Studies

First Advisor

Véronique Bernard

Second Advisor

Kelly Anderson

Academic Program Adviser

Andrew Lund

Abstract

Unsettling is an experimental essay film created during COVID-19 shelter-in-place isolation, documenting remembrances of traumatic life events and the impact these memories have on my vision and life. Preparing to leave my home, my marriage and the lifestyle I have inhabited for fourteen years, I contemplate, “What are memories?” “What do you hold onto from the past and what do you let go?” This film documents my personal journey exploring love, loss, denial, grief and acceptance, told in the third person. The personal ramifications of historic racism, cancer, divorce and white supremacy and the role these issues play in the way they impact my life is explored in this essay. Resourcing my vast video archive–moments and memories captured on my iPhone over a course of eight years–I diary personal observations from the footage and concurrently compose voice-over narration documenting this journey of self-discovery and analysis. Through a layering of video clips, voice-over narration, ambient sound and music, I invite the viewer to come into my COVID-isolated world, and share my wide-ranging thoughts and perspectives on traumatic events past and present, informing the path I take forward. Following the dictum “an uninspected life isn’t worth living,” “I” (through the third person narrator, “She”) question my memories, the symbolism of my archives, and the baggage I unpack on my journey of self-discovery.

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