My short film project which focused on essentialism


Change of plan

Change of plan:

Originally we thought of the idea of having our short video project from each student’s point of view, however we were not satisfied with the footage we filmed as it was not clear enough and the quality was not great. Thus why we decided to film some of the footage again and add some ideas to the our original idea by having the camera in each students bedroom for approx. 20mins capturing an impression of how they spend their day to day lives in their bedroom which is a representation of them and their identity, which we will cut down to probably 1min when all the footage in combined.

Project Brief

Essentialism is a type of identity formation which draws on a specific interpretation of history or biology. Generally this term refers to a form of identity, which is fixed over time.

Project Summary: My short film project will be a documentary focused on the idea of essentialism as our identities bases on how we are portrayed in our everyday life.  To establish this me and my partner came up with the idea of creating a 2min documentary based on three students from our halls of residence and capturing how their bedrooms and everything in it relates and identifies with them. Whilst watching this a voice over of each student will be played in the background which will have them describing their room to the audience and talking a little about themselves and how their room represents who they are.

Key dates: Our aim is to start filming two weeks before the deadline which is the 11th December 2013, and to start editing a week before e the deadline.

Location: Our project will be essentially located at my partners residence of halls where each student in the documentary will be briefly introduced through the use of a voice over and then we will move on by taking a shot of the bedrooms using a panning shot as well as capturing them in their bedroom whilst they describe what and how they believe their bedroom identifies them through the use of a voice over.


  • Panasonic camera
  • Tripod
  • Audio recorder

Key shots/ Ideas:

Image This video is one example of how I would like each students bedroom to be established, through the panning or dolly shot as it gives us a clear view of every detail of the room and its a easier technique to film the whole room.

Image The close and extreme close up shot was another filming technique i wanted to use when we introduce each student as it helps the audience familiarise with them and give them an incline of some the student’s characteristics. Not only by their facial expressions but their body language, for example I might get a shot of one student fiddling with their hands

Image As the short film is in the perceptive of the narrator using a POV shot would be ideal as somehow we enter the world of each student seeing everything from only their outlook.

Discourse&Power: The human zoo

Race, discourse and Identity

Watching the documentary The human zoo has taught me a deeper understanding of what racism was really like before the 21st century, it saddened me to see how people of different races all around the world were discriminated to the extent of being taken away from their home lands to be exhibited like animals in order to entertain the ‘superior race’.  The white race. It particularly surprised me to find out that people from my own country Congo were exhibited at the Human zoos as the ‘missing link’ between apes and humans. The documentary was about people from different countries from small villages who looked significantly different from how normal humans which may have been from their height to how hairy they were.  American inventor William McGee searched all around the world for the inferior human race in order to astonish the white American with his human zoo; however his underlying intention was prove to the world that there was a hierarchy where the white race was on top in the society and any other race was below them. Pigmies from Congo were central to this story as they were believed to be the most unusual looking beings in the world at that time. Ota Benga captured the attention of many with his laughable personality and quirkiness; he was paid to smile for pictures and sign autographs whilst being unaware that he was being exploited. To the pigmies they saw this as an opportunity of use their entrepreneur skills to earn money however this frustrated McGee as they did not conform to how a savage should have behaved and this lead him to abandoning his plan to turn his dogmatic beliefs into reality. Although McGee had the tools and the influence to put his theory into power he didn’t have the knowledge or proof to make his notion powerful enough to influence the nation in accepting the fact that the white race should be on top of the social ladder.


However Madison Grant, an American lawyer did succeed in doing so as he portrayed evidence of discourse through his book The passing of great race which became popular among the likes of Adolf Hitler which he described as his ‘Bible’ and as a result Nazis braced his views which then eventually developed into official policies. Grant’s depiction of scientific racism normalised whiteness whilst categorising every other race as the ‘other’ similar to the west and the rest.

These social scientists in the documentary including Madison Grant abused science in the name of ideology in order to fundamentally keep the ‘superior race’ in addition to justifying racism as the use of scientific discourse was provided with facts. Using science was prevented from being discredited, the facts may have not at all been true but the fact that facts were provided with some sort of educational evidence left the unchallenged and as a result Scientific racism was taken by the Nazis as an opportunity to abolish inferior races like the Jews which was originally taken from the treatment of Ota Benga.

Since then discussing racism has become a taboo subject where many fear that having an opinion about another race may be seen as offensive, we unable to tell what is racist or not which is why we avoid talking about the topic of race and how history has affected the we live today.