MoonDocs Shines Light on Diverse Perspectives


Photo Credits: RMU Arts and Humanities Facebook Page

Jesse Mccullough, Contributor

On Friday, students, faculty and guests alike were given the opportunity to interact and learn from some of the world’s premier documentary filmmakers in the Wheatley Atrium.

Organized by the Center for Documentary Production & Study, MoonDocs is an annual “filmmaker’s open house.” Attendees work alongside international filmmakers and current RMU staff in order to sharpen their skills further, while also advocating for socially disenfranchised viewpoints.

To begin the festivities, Professor Carolina Loyola-Garcia gathered a panel including RMU’s visiting documentary filmmaker Lasse Lau and former visiting documentary filmmaker Makia Harper. They discussed the methodology of their work and the motives behind it. Attendees gained further insight into the documentary process, as each filmmaker gave personal anecdotes on the films they worked on as well as philosophies surrounding their work.

Social activism was at the heart of this discussion, with each filmmaker having an issue they were deeply passionate about, from economic to racial injustices. Each revealed how they used film to express their own sentiments surrounding the issue.

MoonDocs then moved to the Wheatley Cafe for a small mixer. Barriers between the audience and speakers dropped, and attendees connected with not only the invited guests, but each other in a networking opportunity of a lifetime.

Afterward, guests were invited to attend two different workshops pertaining to media arts. Led by filmmaker Mark Chapman and director John Marshall, the two workshops highlighted strategies used in independent filmmaking, giving aspiring filmmakers the skills necessary to work on their own.

Following the filmmakers, Professor Loyola-Garcia returned to teach a workshop dedicated to still image animation. Through her mentorship, guests quickly learned the basics of bringing frames to life in new and interesting ways; that is a skill that is key in a variety of fields, not only filmmaking.

To cap off the night, Lasse Lau returned to the forefront as he presented his film, the Raven and the Seagull. Lau put the spotlight directly on Greenland, a country fighting to break free from Danish influence. Denmark and Greenland’s tenuous relationship is explored deeply throughout the film, dealing with themes of identity, imperialism and culture. Lau feels deep sympathy for the people of Greenland, and as a Dane himself, wishes to educate Denmark on the effects that Danish imperialism has had on Greenland historically. He wants these two cultures to reconcile with these effects.

“In order to heal, we need to go where the pain is,” Lau said.

MoonDocs will reconvene next year alongside the next visiting documentary filmmaker.