Students taking the course on Documentary Forms (Film 125 / German 184) in Fall 2022, taught by Deniz Göktürk and Qingyang Freya Zhou, learned about everyday practices of documentary production: filmmakers observing, participating, and reflecting, as they record how human and non-human actors work, live, and play. To gain hands-on experience, the young documentarists made two-minute single takes on labor, a project inspired by German filmmaker Harun Farocki’s Eine Einstellung zur Arbeit / Labour in a Single Shot. The student film series is the second installment of the project from spring 2022.
Turnaround by Beate Björkengren
For my single shot, I decided to film the cable car turnaround at Powell station in San Fransisco. I found the discrepancy between vehicles transporting humans and workers transporting cars through the turnaround interesting. The fact that a cable car (built by humans to transport them and to ease their labor) has to be manually turned around subverts the idea that it is the vehicle that transports us and simultaneously shows us the labor that goes into public transport. Furthermore, I find the spot interesting as it features a lot of street vendors and performers also doing labor and trying to take advantage of all the tourists queuing up for the cable car, so there is a mesh of different kinds of labor that all connect with each other.
Taco Sinaloa by Valentina Flores
I decided to film Latin workers in Berkeley, so I chose Taco Sinaloa, since I am Mexican and speak Spanish, I loved to film there. I first went in and started talking to the owner and the workers, and once they felt I was not a complete stranger, I asked if I could film them during their work. The music playing in the background is called Caraluna from the group Bacilos, which is really famous in Mexico. I wanted to make this present to show how the workers make their space a place where they feel good.
Venmo Chess Tables by Mikayla Heslin
Hair Salon by Joah Hoang
Garbage Disposal by Hoyeon Kim
For my labor in a single shot, I wanted to portray and emphasize the concept of under-appreciated labor. The sanitation workers, as they pick up our garbage, performed essential work during the pandemic. Even now, their work is vital for the functioning of our everyday lives. When everything came to a halt, they still had to work. To emphasize this concept of loneliness and under-appreciation, I wanted to have a shot set in a very secluded, quiet, and almost centralized position as the garbage disposal worker comes close to the camera as he picks up the large garbage can in the back lot of my apartment complex. Having him centered in the frame, I believe, gave this sense of focus to this work. Also, by doing so, I wanted to highlight how his career was surrounded by stillness in a lonely quiet morning setting.
Pink Venom by Anna Lauritsen
Pineapple Bun Squirrel by Francoise Leung