THIS IS CIVILIZATION
SHORT DOCUMENTARY / ANIMATION (2016)
Featured on National Geographic's Short Film Showcase, October 2016
The Middle East is facing a crisis of perception. Decades of conflict after protracted conflict has led much of the western world to view the entire region as a war zone, an incubator of terrorism, a bastion of autocracy--as a threat to be neutralized. It is easy to forget that nearly 500 million people, each with their own stories, live in the region, and millions more call it home. It is easy to disregard its many vibrant cultures in favor of a monolithic Middle East. It is easy to hear only the voices that perpetuate this perception.
Witnessing half a century of Middle Eastern history through an elderly American diplomat's camera inspires a group of seven young people to tell stories, confront misperceptions, and share hope for the future.
Director / DP / Editor - Jennifer Smart
Producer - Hayley Smart
Research Assistants - Michael Levitt, Gage Petruzzello, Hannah Chenok
Narrator - Dr. Colbert Held
Interviewees - Badriyyah Al-Sabah, Ibrahim Al-Assil, Lina Najem,
Paul Salem, Sameer Saboungi, Yousif Kalian, Zeynep Ekmekçi
What makes for a mournable heritage? What distinguishes its monumental edifices as those whose destruction should be as compared to others which pass from history unnoticed? This podcast probes the relationship between collective memory and cultural heritage.
A theoretical essay on how cinema appeals to senses it can not technically represent, such as smell and touch. Are there strategies to visually represent “recollection images” while still resisting dominant regimes of knowledge production? If cinematic archaeology is a matter of destroying unitary myths from the inside, then can digital animation play a role in deterritorializing the image?