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DePaul University
16 March 2022

The 2022 Jump/Cut Film Festival features 11 short films–all of them produced by DePaul students in the course “Ethnographic Documentary Film Production,” taught by Dr. Greg Scott, professor of sociology. The Faculty Scholarship Collaborative, the Department of Sociology, and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences provided the resources and infrastructure within which the students created these important scholarly works of ethnographic film. Special thanks to Linda Levendusky and Black Hawk Hancock for their ongoing support.



by Anya Paluch

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At the beginning of the pandemic, most of us turned to Zoom to connect with colleagues, friends, and family. Two years later, my family is still holding weekly family Zoom meetings to connect with each other, share updates, and see each other face to face. My film explores the ways Zoom allows for a new level of connection and emotional intimacy between family members. The ease of use of Zoom allows everyone to connect on their own, however the system is not without problems, especially when being used by people who are not the most technologically savvy. In this film, I attempt to contrast the technological aspects of the film by including elements of physicality such as shots of old photos and family artifacts. The film examines the ways that one generation of a family can continue to connect using Zoom, while occasionally including members of the next generations, either in person or via photos, videos, and stories. The platform allows five siblings to connect face to face on a weekly basis, allowing for a level of connection and emotional intimacy not seen in past years, and not possible in person due to location as well as the pandemic. The film details how one family sticks together through both macro-level crises such as the current invasion of Ukraine, the global pandemic, and the 2020 U.S. election, as well as major family events that are important to us.


by Caroline E. Nagy

Since its original formation in the 1840s, the university “pep band” has served as an important contributor to the creation of an enthusiastic, partisan atmosphere at college basketball games—emphasizing the sense of the “home crowd.” However, in contrast to the robust available sources about bands in general, research focused exclusively on the university pep band—an ensemble that performs more frequently than most marching and concert bands––is surprisingly sparse in both visual and written scholarship. Furthermore, the unique setting of an athletic arena offers visual awareness to the phenomenon of having the two groups of 1) classically trained musicians and 2) semi-professional athletes together in one shared space, both performing together and interacting with the external audiences of students, alumni, and staff. This motion graphic, ethnographic opportunity explores the sociology of music via DePaul University “Screamin’ Demons” Pep Band at Wintrust Arena basketball games, and attempts to answer three primary research questions: This film is guided by the following research questions: 1) How does the field or activity of sports/athleticism interact with field/activity of artistry/musicianship at university basketball games? 2) What are the motivations for musicians to participate in pep band and what do they consider their roles to be at games? 3) How do audience members—athletes, staff, and fans—react to Pep Band members and their music? “For the Love of the Game… or the Music?” attempts to visualize the social theories of Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002)—including the field, habitus and capitals of the pep band musicians—and offers viewers the opportunity to see the powerful resource that is the pep band through not only the sonic material, but the interplay and interaction between musicians, athletes and audience members at DePaul college basketball games.

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by Georgina Leal

“Brown Spaces, White Places” is an ethnographic film that explores the ways in which Latinx students at DePaul create culturally resonant spaces in a predominately white institution of higher education. Through its weekly community meeting on Thursdays called Cafecito con Tepeyac, the Latinx student organization Tepeyac strives to create spaces of convivencia for Latinx students through hospitality, cultural symbols, music, and dialogue on the experiences that impact this minoritized community. This film follows the student leaders for this student organization as they take part in the process of cultural placemaking in transforming multiuse rooms to create welcoming spaces for themselves and other Latinx students.


by Jazmine Luebbert

As the daily events unfold, the dynamics of the relationships between the residents and staff become evident. The three relationships in question are between the residents and the live-in volunteer, the residents and the house mother, and the residents and the housing manager. By looking at each of these relationships in comparison to the others, one can see the variation of interactions the residents have with each staff member. One possible explanation for this variation could be due to the levels of authority among the staff members, which may explain how power dynamics contribute to the moms’ diverging experiences with each staff member. This aligns with the theory of power from Foucault, who asserted that power is part of everyday relationships in the form of discipline and conformity (Foucault 1998). Another related explanation for why the residents have diverging experiences with the staff could also stem from their past experience with authority figures, specifically their parents. Past experience with a family member imprinted in the resident’s memory could carry on to their present experience in a different household with different members. This film attempts to show these explanations primarily through the body language of the residents and staff, as well as short snippets of who the residents are and where they come from.

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by Anne Speicher

League Play is a short ethnographic documentary that explores the culture of men’s league bowling at an old-fashioned alley on Chicago’s north side. It follows a handful of league members through a typical night of bowling as they cheer on teammates, joke around and participate in a little gambling on the side. The film analyzes the structures that facilitate playful behavior and attempts to portray the often indistinguishable border between work and play.


by Abigail Howat

This short ethnographic film looks at the community jazz music has given people. Using DePaul University's Jazz Band, led by Tom Matta, this film closes in on how a close knit group can create music that comes to life. In this film, you will be able to see the connections between musicians and see the way they motiter each other’s movements. Visuals in this piece are focused on the group’s bond and performance in their Winter Concert. The music provided was their own work at this concert, and the voices explaining what makes a group work are real musicians in this jazz group.

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by Hyelee Won

Every arm wrestling participant is an individual competitor, yet there is an unusually strong sense of belonging that the community provides. Armwrestling as a sport has experienced a boom in the Midwest post-pandemic, and it is this strong sense of community that keeps the underground sport growing. Arm wrestling attracts more participants every tournament as current members eagerly continue to host new events, create inclusive settings for anyone new, and come up with new ways for arm wrestlers in the area to connect. The film consists of qualitative research involving observation and interview. The two main arm wrestling events observed in the film are at a winery in Pocahontas, IL and a dive bar in Pecatonica, IL. A casual training when an arm wrestler is interviewed is filmed in the participant’s apartment in Chicago, IL.


by Karina Hernandez

The ethnographic film captures the Yu-Gi-Oh community and a day in their life for an event to get an invitation to Nationals. We start off with the beginning of the day before the tournament to see how the individuals prepare to play against those in the community. We will also see a snippet of the lineup for the first round of the tournament competition. Throughout the film, we witness a variety of games during the tournament and see how each individual plays. Not only are we able to witness a variety of games but we also see the relationship among each player. Some players have known each other for years, while others are only present during events. All clips will have engagement of background conversations from players around, which shows the importance of how they are able to communicate with each other. The film is able to capture relationships and social patterns during each round.

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2/4 (TWO FOUR)

by Elijah Bennett


My film is about two of DePaul’s School of Music students, one who is a vocalist and one who is an instrumentalist, and their rehearsal process for their upcoming opera performance. Split into four parts, the film compares the various steps that occur within the rehearsal process so to bring the two separate groups ideologically together. In Part One, the warm-ups of both performers are highlighted. We get to see how an instrumentalist tends to their instrument and how a vocalist takes care of their voice. In Part Two, the individual practicing of both performers is seen. This section highlights the mistakes and book-markings that each of them make. In Part Three, each performer is watched as they rehearse alongside their respective ensembles. Not only are the environments of each group very different, but the energy from practice-rooms to rehearsal spaces set a new tone for the preparation taking place; While the vocalists run specific scenes instructed by the opera’s director, the instrumentalists play pieces of music in various ways. Finally, in Part Four, the first time when the vocalist ensemble and instrumentalist ensemble rehearse together (i.e. a sitzprobe) is witnessed. Will all of their individual hard work of rehearsing payoff when they all come together?


by Ciaran Rooney-Cespedes

During the bi-monthly board meetings for the Town of Cicero, trustees of the town board deliberate and proceed under the head of Town President Larry Dominick. Citizens gather at town hall to support and highlight individual accomplishments

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by Vincent DiFrancesco

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Crossing Places is a film about how risk assessment is reflected in the body language of pedestrians crossing urban roadways, especially when crossing illegally. The project functions as a taxonomy of different crossing behaviors observed in Chicago’s downtown “Loop” area. Michigan Avenue and State Street were among those observed during production. There were several types of crossing behaviors witnessed. Most pedestrians seemed to obey the signals given at crosswalks and waited until they were shown the “walk” symbol, regardless of how much vehicle traffic was present. Some exhibited body language that suggested the intention of jaywalking but would not take the risk to cross immediately. They waited reluctantly until given the proper signal or until vehicles passed. Others, however, were often willing to take high risks to cross illegally. Among those who did so, some were hesitant to jaywalk until they saw others doing it, at which point they “followed the leader.” Others jaywalked on their own accord without much hesitation, even across wide roadways with multiple lanes of vehicle traffic. In one rare instance an elderly pedestrian attempted to jaywalk, but their slow speed put them in danger of being hit by oncoming cars. In displaying these different instances of crossing behavior, the film invites audience members to discuss why so many pedestrians jaywalk, and if the prevalence of jaywalking suggests that more fundamental design issues exist within the urban plan of downtown Chicago.

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