India, documentaries, and more.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I’m really looking forward to know about Indian culture and its music. I’m interested in how locals, specifically in Mumbai relate to their portrayed identity, as understood within the concept of Bollywood, media creation, and music. I started to gain ground on viewing documentaries that talk about the intersection between identity and culture, taking into account the gap between social classes, as happens in most third world countries. Since February, I’ve been working at American Documentary Inc., the media company which produces POV, the longest-running showcase on television for independent documentary films hosted by PBS. Thanks to their vast film library, I’ve watched films such as The World Before Her, Last Train Home, and Fallen City. These three documentaries, which are also beautiful artistic films, explore topics of identity, traditional culture, and struggles in negotiating one’s identity and space in the world. Although they are all based in South Asia, they touch upon usual struggles that also happen in other third world countries.

The idea of telling a story through the eyes of the protagonists themselves, is a powerful tool for compelling storytelling and engaging an audience with the research and issue I want to explore. Music, although a very subjective art form, varies strongly from culture to culture, and I want to see what elements commonly identify the children I will work with, the staff at Mewsic (the community-based organization), and myself. Reflexivity will be definitely an important aspect of the entire research. For this, one of the ideas I have is to narrate the story as well, so the audience can compare points of view, along with the characters stories. I’m constantly in contact with the organization, gathering information on kids’ backgrounds and usual activities where music have the most impact on their lives. On another note, I’m planning logistical details, such as hotels, transportation, etc. I will get my visa in May, and continue with vaccines and additional details for the trip. Until next time!

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