SocDoc graduate documentary films to be screened June 13 at Del Mar Theater

ucsc socdoc film screening poster

UC Santa Cruz will present the premiere of thesis films by three graduating students in the field of social documentation on Wednesday, June 13, at the Del Mar Theater in downtown Santa Cruz. 

The documentaries that will be screened are the culmination of an intense two years of immersion in the art of documentary media and craft, scholarly research and analysis, nonfiction storytelling and the politics of representation.

One of the most innovative and progressive programs in the Arts Division, the Film and Digital Media Department’s masters program in Social Documentation is designed for future documentarians committed to social change and to documenting communities, cultures, issues, and individuals.

“This is the first SocDoc class to be graduating with the M.F.A. degree,” noted film and digital media professor B. Ruby Rich. “Their investment in the craft and meaning of their work is clear, and we couldn’t be prouder of their ethical practice and commitment to telling stories that often go unheard."

“This year’s graduating class came to SocDoc in advance of the momentous presidential election and have tracked their subjects through the most fraught time in recent U.S. history,” Rich added. “Interestingly, though, their projects are classic: one immerses the audience in children’s imaginations through the work of an inventive artists; one examines the mythology and branding of a western town, Nevada City; and one meets agricultural workers at a key time in their lives, mediated by the efforts of a dedicated activist who remembers his own past in the fields.”

The Del Mar screening begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. The films include:

By Cebe Loomis

Perched on the highest eastern slope of Nevada’s Virginia Range sits Virginia City, a town of 855 inhabitants with a history that predates the discovery of the town’s Comstock Lode of 1859. As the nation’s second largest national historic landmark, it remains historically preserved, offering an “authentic” 1860s experience that mythologizes its histories for the tourists who visit. Through the use of analogue photography, sound montages, and ethnographic text, Tailings relays the voices and narratives of its people and environments, presenting a polyvocal interpretation of one of the most influential towns of the American West. Tailings makes it clear that histories and identities are multiple, communicating an understanding of identity, place, and history as participatory, dynamic, and shared.

Con o Sin Papeles
(With or Without Papers)
By Aria Zapata

Labor rights activist Luis Magaña takes daily drives through the San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural fields, trips that introduce the audience to the world of migrant work and highlight immense injustices. This documentary tells the stories of Juan and Keyli, who are young and motivated migrant workers. As the two journey on their contrasting paths—whether to stay or to leave—Juan and Keyli share sentiments of feeling unwelcome and consigned to outsider status. History repeats itself as tactics of exploitation and abuse are enacted upon a new generation of workers. Yet, one strong-willed man can spark hope and instill courage: in these fields, Luis Magaña is a guardian angel.

When Kids Meet A Creature
By Alicia Rice

This whimsical documentary invites audiences to discover the interior life of children as they explore the story of an unknown creature that has come to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Artist Megan Flod Johnson’s NEST installation sets the stage for open-ended play, revealing the varied ways that young people choose to embody the stories they invent. Through the creation of photographs, drawings, books, and puppets, children open up their often-overlooked creative worlds and invite you in.