All God's Fight to Jazz
Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
When I initally started my project I wanted to do an installation which would be accommpnaied by three short films and some form of perfomance. As the year progressed and I moved through a multitude of ideas my project gradually became a single channel film. With the scale the of the project reduced dramatically I was able to begin to form a clear vison as to wanted I wanted to do and what I wanted it to say.
I’ve lived with my project for a long time, therefore I feel as though have no tools to evaluate the qualtiy of my work now. A lot of the ambielvence surrounding my project I believe stems from the process in which I apporached making my film. The fall of 2018 was the start of my filming for senior project. I was directing 10 differnt people not including my crew, we arranged rides, met at various locations, had shot lists, had people fainting on set from cold weather, everything you could possibly need for a good movie. I was following the traditonal and fundamental methods of organizing a film. Concurrnetly, as I was filming my first film I was thinking about my 2nd and 3rd film that I was set on making in the spring. One of those films would become the basis for what finally became my senior project. I knew I wanted to make a martial arts movie, but the hard part for me was figuring out a way to justifiy and rationalize the act of fighting within a narrative without it coming off as trite. After an evening of watching Kamasi Washinton’s music video for his song Truth, and Shinichirō Watanabe’s Cowboy Bebop, I came to realize the fludity and marriage of jazz and martial arts. This notion of improvisation would influence the entire metholodgy of how the 2nd film would be made, I thought. I decided that that it was only appropriate for me to also improvise the entire process if I was going to work with this idea of improvisation. To make the prcoess easier for myself I simplifed everything, concept, asethetic, and script. I found I came up with everything I wanted to shoot the day before, or on-set working with my cast and crew. I decied that I would do the entire film in black and white and I wouldn’t even use a script. Instead, I would create guidelines for my actors to follow and see how they would react to each other, work from one another. In this way every day we would shoot episodic moments, linked to a deep collaborative world building between the actors and myself. Because there was never a sense of certainty, or cementatedness, surrounding the film was never really there, I don’t believe I ever had an full grasp on what I was crafting before I crafted it.
I do not believe there is one precise narrative being told through the course of my film. I do believe there are multiple nods to certain politcal, cultural, and social idealogies imbeded within the film. The creation of this film was mountmental in that it taught me to embrace my own process of retrospective art creation. What that means for me is to allow myself to create things without having some gradious politcal or social commentary attached to my work from the its inception. I could learn what it means to not overintellectualze before I create. The past fews years at Bard, I began to notice how people elvaluated my work regardless of subject matter. Instead of reisistancing these immediate racial evaluations of my work I began to view it as a sort of freedom. I conceptualized these evaluations as a particular work on my part that I no longer had to do, and was work others could do wihtout me. My new found freedom allowed me to create uninhibitedly, and to focus on crafting an image that allowed me to see the charged nature imbedded in that the image would gradually reveal themselves to me while I was creating. I believe more than anything else this film is a self reflection of me coming to understand my own pratice and process of art production.
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Ward-Cherry, Forrest Nelson, "All God's Fight to Jazz" (2018). Senior Projects Spring 2018. 219.