JUMP/CUT ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM FESTIVAL

DePaul University
22 November 2022
SAC 254

The 14th annual Jump/Cut Film Festival features 8 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 all 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.

THE FILMS

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TAKING PICTURES

by Nic Aliski

This film is a glimpse into the behavior of tourists at Chicago’s Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. Better known as the Bean, Cloud Gate plays host to millions of tourists each year. These tourists come for one thing, pictures. The sculpture serves as proof of a Chicago vacation on social media as it is one of, if not the most recognizable landmark in the city. This film shows the unwritten rule of respect for the sacred space between the camera operator and their subject, as well as the cultural practice of recreating like images across all groups.

DON'T SHAKE THE MACHINE

by Zachary Manor

“Don’t Shake the Machine!” explores the relationship between humans and machines at Logan Arcade in Chicago. Specifically, the film focuses on how closely humans subscribe to a machine’s expectations of the human’s behavior, and how that subscription is personified in the mode of interaction, be it neutral or an exaggerated physical or emotional response to a machine.

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THIS IS NOT A PROTEST

by Claire Reardon

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“This Is Not A Protest” follows a group of protesters who frequent the Planned Parenthood in Aurora Illinois. The film begins with the diligent set-up process of the protesters, capturing their promptness that coincides with the clinic’s surgery hours. Protesters are seen engaging in various actions that involve praying, sign holding, and sidewalk counseling. All three roles are distinct and rarely overlap, however, the group deems the same importance to each towards their overall goal. Protesters insist that what they are doing is not protesting, however, the group displays widely accepted acts of protesting. Collective success can differ slightly across individual subjects, yet they all seek individual moral change over institutional. Seen in interviews, a few subjects describe the different roles they play, the emotions the feel, and the common goal they share throughout the process. Protesting aside, each the individuals agree that the comradery and community that come with this act is one of the main benefits.

FIDDLY BITS

by Kodi Roberts

"Fiddly Bits" is a short ethnographic documentary about hobbyists who play the table-top miniature war game Warhammer 40,000. The film focuses on three hobbyists and their conversation as they assemble and paint miniature figurines for use in the table-top game. Most broadly, "Fiddly Bits" considers how identity is navigated, negotiated, and constituted through the medium of miniature war game figurines. Topics discussed include political geographies of the local wargaming community, gender stereotypes and counter-narratives among hobbyists, and the extent to which customizing one's miniatures may or may not be an articulation of the self. The film also depicts hobbyist techniques of sprue cleaning, assembly, painting, miniature organization, tool usage and maintenance, and error correction in comparative perspective.

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ON BARRICADE

by Ellen Bloss

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On Barricade follows Harry Styles fans while they wait for three days outside Chicago’s United Center for his concert. Styles developed a fanatic following in the mid-2000s as a member of the boy band One Direction; since then, he’s embarked on a successful solo career and drawn a greater fan base. The film opens on the day of his concert. We meet a group of fans who arrived at United Center at 5am for that evening’s show. These fans are dedicated; they purchased general admission (or “pit”) tickets at ~$700 per ticket and arrived 15 hours before the show to secure a wristband from the venue. Venue wristbands allow fans to return at 5pm that evening to enter the venue early and secure space as close to the stage as possible. But these fans describe another group of fans - “elite” fans who not only bought tickets like they did, but who developed their own system for securing the standing room closest to the stage. The film then takes us back to two days prior where we’re introduced to these elite fans. We watch as they set up tents to camp out for their spot in line, and we learn the ins and outs of the fan wristband system they developed to secure their spot in line over the three day period. Finally, the film shows the transition from fan wristbands to reality, as official wristbands are distributed by the venue and fans’ places in line are solidified.

42nd ANNUAL

by Abigail Boylan

In the small community of Fairmount, IN each year locals and tourists gather to celebrate the life and legacy of 1950’s hometown hero, James Dean. 42nd Annual, while based around the James Dean Festival is more an observation of 1950’s nostalgia. The festival brings to our attention the things we choose to remember of that era; poodle skirts, motorcycles, and American virtue. The beginning sequence occurs at the street fair where local rockabilly musicians and vendors are present amongst various carnival rides and food trucks. Some vendors cater to this nostalgia with vintage artifacts or food associated with the 1950s, other booths are packed with more modern references to American culture from Simpsons to Five Nights at Freddy’s merchandise. The second act takes us to the burial site of the late movie star's grave, where bikers arrive on their Harleys to pay to the memorial of Dean. The film ends with the headlining event; a Doppelganger contest, in which men that resemble James Dean (some more than others) compete.

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AN UNORDINARY COMMUTE

by Evan Montgomery

"An Unordinary Commute" is an examination of an urban ritual that dates back almost a century in the city of Chicago. Its purpose is to get mostly privately owned sailboats from the harbors of Lake Michigan to storage in the fall or from storage to the lake in the winter. To do this, the boats must travel down the Chicago River crossing under 24 movable bridges, and disrupting critical infrastructure used by the city’s commuters. This takes place twice a week for a month and a half in the spring and fall and costs the city an estimated $11,000 each time.

SPECTACULAR ROUTINE

by Zachary Gruber

Three young coworkers are followed through their end-of-day repetition until they reach the catharsis of a screen. Each ritual is treated to object-oriented filming, replicating tasks and habits by montage, edited to capture a pace each interviewee can relate to. To avoid gawking through an objectifying lens, the pre-filming interviews were used to capture a sequence formulated into a setting and routine daisy-chain directed by themselves. These stories overlap in their contrast. Similarly watching their own behavior, but different in how they get there. 

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