Performance #1: Beth Kearsley – 360

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Faculty mentor: Emelie Mahdavian

Artist’s Statement: Documentary films often represent big ideas through the lens of a small subject. In activist films, the subject acts as a stand-in for the beliefs of the filmmaker. This approach reduces the subject to an ideology, which complicates the ethics of the nonfiction filmmaking process. The initial idea for my short film, 360, was to represent the environmental implications of the fashion industry. However, it soon morphed into a portrait about a young woman and her nostalgia for the late 1990s and early 2000s, referred to as the Y2K era. The film centers around Micha Osuchowski, who makes a living by selling Y2K clothing and spends her free time skateboarding, a sport she has admired since her childhood. By focusing on a person over an ideology, 360 is a laid-back look into young women’s spaces that addresses social issues, but refrains from letting any of the issues define the person.

In making 360, I wanted to create a film whose content matched its form. The structure and aesthetics represent the nostalgia and the cyclicity that make up the film’s themes. Narratively, the film bounces from Micha’s work to Micha’s play. What ties the plotlines together thematically is their connection to the Y2K era. What ties them together structurally is the rhythmic pacing and transitionary stop motion sequences. The stop motion also serves as a visual embodiment of the Y2K aesthetic. Additionally, the footage is partially shot using a Y2K camcorder giving it an accurate vintage quality, while the digital 4K footage is made cohesive with the camcorder footage by a cool-toned color grade that emulates a Y2K look.

Through the narrative focus and aesthetics, 360 reflects the essence of Micha and her adoration of the Y2K era and functions as a loose exploration of identity and nostalgia. Provided is a one-and-a-half-minute teaser for the film. Thank you to Emelie Mahdavian for guiding and supporting this project and to Micha and her friends for sharing part of their lives with me. 

Watch my performance below!
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