Friday, January 23, 2009

Video: Hiram (a documentary about a father)

This week's video is a few years old. It's from back when I lived in Santa Cruz, CA.

My neighbor Hiram got married when he was 16. He is a committed father, a youth and my peer. In this documentary Hiram and I draw lines across discontinuities with the style that suits us best.

Hiram (a documentary about a father) by Jamie Burkart.

This video was first screened at an event in the house where it was filmed. After the show, Hiram and I sat at the front of the room. Our peers gave us questions to ask each other.

Hiram is a popular young man and a caring father. Our video acknowledges the connection between those two worlds. It says publicly what is tough to say even in private. And I hope it helps Hiram feel more fully himself with everyone he loves.

Hiram and I worked to communicate the issues of his fatherhood to the horizon of his young friends and peers. We tried to express his ethic without imposing a moral.

For me personally, this video was very difficult to make, screen and watch. It is a deep challenge to craft a representation of another person. It's serious stuff! But I try to make it a little goofy.

When I was making this, I was really into the writings of the Community Video Movement from the 1970's. In video's infancy, groups like the Raindance Corporation saw the potential for indigenous media to be "a spark plug for change." I hoped that the witnessing process of production and exhibition would strengthen collective bonds and add depth to our agency. To see Hiram tell his story would encourage others to tell their own.

The opening music was made just for this video by Goodbye the Band (aka John Acquadro). Here are links to John's Official Web Site and Demalgamated Videos.

Imagine you are at the screening in Hiram's house. What questions would you ask? For those of you who were actually there, what did you think?
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  1. I enjoyed the video. It is a good view of life through a young person's eyes today. It reminded me alot of "The Secret" as far as the perspective of things.

    When did You shoot this?

    Is there a follow up story?

    Did you take this to any festivals?

  2. I love the Hiram movie. I remember watching it at the debut, feeling kind of uncomfortable because even though I considered myself a close friend of his, I never asked him about any of this stuff. It was strange to have a film up on a screen give me more intimate knowledge of my friend than any of my conversations with him.