Proposal for a Documentary Film on Latin America

As I write this assignment from Manaus, the destruction of the Amazon continues. Venezuelans continue to suffer shortages of basic necessities while facing economic turmoil, instability, corruption, and the difficult choice of whether to leave or remain. Human traffickers in Mexico continue to exploit the trusting and the poor, and the death toll of the “war on drugs continues to grow, daily. All three nations confront, as does the rest of the Western Hemisphere, the dangers posed by COVID-19 – the intersections of deeply rooted poverty, discrimination, health care systems that were insufficient to meet societal needs before the outbreaks, governmental inaction and/or corruption, and other factors. Clearly, in Latin America, the past is present in many ways, and so too are the grave social, political, and economic problems. Yet at the same time, Latin American peoples are thriving, with vibrant, dynamic cultures and societies; there is also throughout this region what Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano called a beautiful, “obstinate hope” for the future. Your task in this final assignment is to develop a proposal for a documentary film on Latin America. When envisioning your film, consider a Ken Burns-style documentary (that is, no budget constraints, no limits to travel, and excellent multimedia sources – so, think BIG!) How to proceed: 1. Re-read Skidmore and Smith’s Chapters 13 and 16. Then, re-read your “Forums” posts from the first week of your class – you may find topics that intrigued you then, and that you would like to explore in your documentary. -For inspiration, please view the following clip from the forthcoming documentary “Landfill Harmonic”. It’s one of my favorites, and it illustrates the challenges that those living on the margins of society (in this case, a garbage dump) face every day – as well as their own obstinate hope, courage, and dignity. Please copy and paste this link into your browser. The clip is about 11 minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxxdQox7n0 2. Use the information in these three chapters and insights you have gained in this course, and select one overarching theme (for example economic dependency, underdevelopment, foreign investment, the environment, dictatorship, re-democratization, immigration, etc.) pertaining two countries that we have not studied thus far, selected from the textbook’s case study chapters. Thus, Brazil, Mexico, and Cuba are off limits for this assignment. You may choose any two Central American, South American and/or Caribbean countries. Do not choose the US or Canada. Similarly off limits: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia. (I am serious about this. Any papers that mention Nazi Germany even in passing will be returned to you for a re-write.) 3. Describe your documentary: provide a thematic overview. What is your theme? What do you want your viewers to gain from having seen your film? 4. Discuss how you will depict this theme relative to each of these countries. What events will you be including? What individuals, locations, and issues are significant to your theme? Why do each merit inclusion? What will your viewers hear — what music/sound elements will you include? 5. Conclude your documentary – what insights will you provide your viewers in concluding your film? How do these obstinate hopes persist? Additional guidelines/requirements for this final project: -You must provide a works cited page with your completed assignment. -DO NOT use Wikipedia or other online or print encyclopedias. Such may be appropriate for middle school work, but are not appropriate for the level of inquiry and analysis required in university-level work. The text supplies an excellent foundation for your work; I cannot make the same statement for these encyclopedias. Papers that employ Wikipedia or other online or print encyclopedias will receive a 10 point deduction from the final score. -An excellent “master” site to obtain further information is the Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC) at the University of Texas. It is searchable via individual countries, as well as by issues and themes. Although the site is note being updated at present, its links are still valid. I encourage you to consult it: http://lanic.utexas.edu/. Please also see our file “Final Project Resources” on ReggieNet. I am very happy to help you too – in any stage of your project.

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