Media and Communication

Navratri aka Nine Nights


Supervisor

Associate Professor Shuchi Kothari

Discipline

Media and Communication, Screen Production 

Project code: ART022

Feature Screenplay for Navratri aka Nine Nights is conceived as an ensemble film that exposes the dark underbelly of sexual desire as it spins out of control between the centrifugal force of social conservatism (Gujarat’s embrace of Hindutva/Hindu fundamentalism) and the centripetal force of social mobility (Gujarat’s embrace of the free market). The film unfolds over 9 consecutive carnivalesque nights of the auspicious Hindu festival of Navratri during which men and women, young and old, perform garba (folk dance performed in circles) on the streets. The story follows 6 characters from disparate socio-economic backgrounds through 9 sexually and romantically charged nights that legitimize physical proximity between unmarried young men and women, even among the most conservative of families. For teenagers this provides an opportunity to be out all night unsupervised by their parents. Alcohol consumption (in an officially ‘dry’ state) during these 9 nights is the highest in the year, apart from Christmas and New Year. And it’s an open secret that post-Navratri there is a sharp rise in clandestine abortions among teenage girls and a greater rise in the sale of morning-after pills. It’s ironic that a festival that has roots in fertility rituals now ends with back alley abortions, shame and heartbreak.

Scholar’s Work

The summer scholar is expected to deliver the following tasks

1.    Construct an annotated bibliography of scholarly and journalistic articles on 1) the ensemble film and 2) Garba, the folk dance of Gujarat

2.    Create a annotated filmography of ensemble films

3.    Conduct library/archival and internet research for reportage on events during Navratri.

4.    Collate and organise articles from local Ahmedabad newspapers that the supervisor has collected during the last two Navratris (2015 and 2016)

5.    Prepare an electronic “look-book” for the project that includes visual references of garba, locations, and cast

6.    Edit a two to three-minute trailer of various venues and styles of public dancing from existing footage shot during Navratri celebrations in Ahmedabad. 

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

The summer scholar needs to be familiar with ensemble films and interested in cross cultural storytelling. Preference will be given to those whose interests span across screen production/ screenplay writing/ journalism.  Editing software will be provided by supervisor.  Familiarity with Adobe or any photoshop software is a bonus, though not a requirement. The summer scholar must be detail oriented and must possess excellent oral and written communication skills. 

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Director’s Assistant (Film)


Supervisor

Associate Professor Jake Mahaffy

Discipline

Media and Communication, Screen Production

Project code: ART023

Feature film development on three projects at script, treatment and shooting stage

This is a multi-pronged approach to several projects in order to advance the work and move projects into their next (or final) stages. 1. Build upon research and collate resources for the development of a new feature film project on papal legates and alchemy set in the Early Middle Ages. This will involve reading, conducting traditional research, and collecting information and composing bibliographies (and film references) on specific topics. Additionally, editing footage and digital fx for reference reels and proof of concept. This work will lead to an advanced treatment and first draft screenplay for equity financing. 2. Location scouting, collecting and referencing photos/maps, permissions, and geographical locations into a database, production support, budgeting, scheduling, coordination for a short film shoot in Auckland in January 2018. 3. Photoshop/After Effects editing and design: two multi-media projects require a student to apply effects and design (animation, filters, digital cleanup) to two different series of images for two separate multi-media projects (one involving ancient myths and the other a collection of vintage photographs). 4. Organize grant applications and funding portfolios for several films, including the restoration of older 16mm films and digital intermediates.

Scholar’s Work

The Summer Scholar will assist supervisor as director in all aspects of development of feature projects and filmed production of a short film. Feature development includes online research and compilation, cataloguing materials, designing mood boards and storyboards, location scouting, writing briefs, minor editing for rip reels, Adobe Aftereffects work and support for vfx and animation proof of concepts.

Short film assistance includes scheduling, budgeting, casting, production support, location scouting, and on-set coordination with producer, cast, cinematographer, etc. This short, low-budget narrative film will be shot at various locations around Auckland.

Continuing work of previous scholars and modelled on previous successful research scholarships, this work will involve multi-tasking on several projects at various stages of completion. All summer scholarships thus far have resulted in at least one completed film (feature or short) premiering at an international festival and development work on ongoing feature projects. This work familiarizes students with the details of independent production in all aspects as well as teaches them advanced skills for their own discipline.

Development work is largely in office, done remotely and online. Production work for the short will be at various locations in the Auckland area.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

Must be mature, communicative, concise, reliable, have a positive attitude, trustworthy, self-motivated, professional.

The Summer Scholar must be technically proficient in required software and post-techniques/workflow, reliable, self-motivated, detail-oriented, have working knowledge of CS6 Photoshop, After Effects, editing in Premiere, basic graphic design skills (in relevant software), and work very well with people and taking instruction, basic web building skills, good organization, academic skills in research and composing bibliographies.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

Listening to music now


Supervisor

Nabeel Zuberi (Associate Professor)

Discipline

Media and Communication

Project code: ART024

This project explores changes in listening to recorded music with the increasing datafication of music and surveillance of the listener. It examines the ways in which music media industries and technologies shape emergent listening practices. It asks how the new technologies are hooked into the social life of music, including its ‘liveness’ and its fandoms; the ways in which everyday listening is mobile; and how new modes of listening are integrated with sedimented habits, older devices and residual formats. The project is comparative and attentive to differences in several significant music markets and cultures: New Zealand, Japan, India, the UK and US. The NZ research will develop interview-based and collaborative methods with listeners in Auckland, and collect accounts of their listening experiences on audio and video for archiving, analysis and online open access. The initial research of the summer scholarship would involve searching for and organizing academic publications and journalism in two areas: the contemporary music industry and technological change; music in everyday life and ethnographic methodologies. This research project might be of most interest to students considering research in new media, communication and cultural studies, ethnomusicology, the sociology of music, popular music studies, science and technology studies.   

Scholar’s Work

The scholar is expected to search library databases, particularly those in the humanities and social sciences, collect academic literature and journalism, compile a bibliography, and organize the research literature for online and offline access for the supervisor. The research areas include: music companies and new technologies; streaming music services, including Spotify and Apple Music; algorithms and online life; mobile telephony; the Japanese music industry; the Indian music industry; music in everyday life; ethnographic and interview-based methods for the recording of accounts of music listening. The scholar and supervisor would meet for an hour each week to discuss this literature, its general directions and major debates around the issues. These discussions will help to organize the literature. The scholar’s research on music and everyday life and ethnographic methods will feed into conversations about possible models for recording and archiving accounts of listening experiences in Auckland. With supervision, the scholar might also write a report, a paper or proposal for a paper, film/video/podcast or thesis/dissertation that draws on the research during the scholarship period, and which might be developed in subsequent postgraduate study.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

The scholar should have some experience reading, taking courses in, and engaging with critical research traditions in the study of culture and society. They should be prepared to interrogate capitalism, and the ways in which capitalism and subjectivity are linked. The scholar should have an interest in how people listen to music, what they listen to, and when and where they listen to it. There is an expectation that the scholar can search for and make some sense of scholarship in different and often distinctive academic fields and disciplines. The supervisor will support the scholar in understanding the research material. The scholar will need to have good organizational and data management skills for retrieval and storage of the scholarly literature in electronic form. The commitment to timely data preparation and engaged discussion on the research materials at regular meetings is also essential.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.