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Beyond the Wall (30 minutes)

by Joe Garrett


Beyond the Wall is a film about graffiti writers and their origins.  Galo and Shandu One have over 30 years of experience behind the spray can, and along with Sek allow us to glimpse into some of Los Angeles’s graffiti culture.  Bits and Pharo share their experiences from Denver and through both communities we see the similarities as well as differences that bind them together. This film asks the question why graffiti writers engage in the activities commonly associated with vandalism and why they are willing to risk both their freedom and their lives to practice their particular art form. 

For both communities, the overall drive is to create art, for some as a means to survive using not only their talents with a spray can but through other artistic venues as well, and for others as a way to express themselves to the community at large.  For some, graffiti is a means to escape gangs, for others, a way to rebel against a society they didn’t feel a part of and, for all, a fellowship within a community of artists.

How We Imagine Ourselves (20 minutes)

by Andie Lee

Lindsay, Ed, and Tia are students at the University of Southern California who are in different stages of their lives. Despite their differences, they have all grown to love Korean pop music. In this documentary, we explore how these three students relate to K-pop beyond leisure. Their relationship to K-pop is complicated by their desires, background, and future aspirations. As they struggle to define K-pop in their lives, we get a glimpse at a way our identities are no longer shaped by national borders and place of origin.  Lindsay, Ed, and Tia choose to embrace K-pop as a staple part of who they are.

An intimate look at how the millennial generation imagines themselves in the increasingly globalized world, How We Imagine Ourselves opens a conversation about K-pop, fandom, and identity.

Muerte Querida (30 minutes)

by Ileana de Cardenas


Muerte Querida (Dearest Death) explores a controversial Mexican folk icon, Santa Muerte, whose popularity has recently exploded among the Latin American diaspora. Saint Death, known for her efficiency in granting her devotees’ wishes, has an identity that is multivalent yet ambiguous. This film follows the community of devotees at Templo Santa Muerte, a temple in East Hollywood, who emphasize the protective, healing, and economic roles of the skeletal saint.

Muerte Querida (Dearest Death) immerses the viewer in the world of Santa Muerte devotion by investigating the personal narratives and rituals of those who worship the Bony Lady in order to improve their lives, illuminating the multiple identities and functions of the saint in a localized context. Using ethnographic methods and interviews, Muerte Querida (Dearest Death) offers an intimate portrait of the budding cult in the United States—a side that has been hidden from view in the news and popular media.

Sounds Unbound: Being an Independent Musician in the Digital Age (25 minutes)

by Jiaqi Yu


In the last four decades, the Digital Revolution has exerted tremendous impact on the music industry—the transition from analog to digital technology and the increasing availability of digital tools have liberated the creative process, allowing an increasing number of indie musicians to work out of the mainstream framework and create their own products without the interference of major record companies. Indie musicians are becoming their own engineers, technicians and distributors, creating large quantities of work on their own terms.

With the proliferation of composing software and digital systems, more and more artists are turning towards digitally generated synthetic sounds, while at the same time, strong voices of lament express the loss of “authenticity”, “humanity” and “performativity”  among artists who are nostalgic for traditional instrumental performance. The film follows the threads of narratives given by various indie musicians to understand how digital technology has affected their artistic and personal identities while revealing, at the same time, what the digital age really offers despite its promises.

Vegan Noir: Black Vegans of Los Angeles (28 minutes)

by Toni A. Bell


Vegan Noir:  Black Vegans of Los Angeles is a portrait of every day vegans of African descent. Akia is African-American and a real estate agent. David is an African-American retired football player and vegan activist. Actress, Engracia, is a “Blatina” of Puerto Rican descent. Kitten is an African-American singer-songwriter. Animal rights and food justice activist, Liz, is Trinidadian.  Actress, PaSean is African-American and a vegan baker. Hare Krishna devotee, Mr. Wisdom, is a Jamaican restaurateur. Temitope is Nigerian-American and a yogi.

The film is divided into several chapters.  “What is a vegan?” defines veganism.  In “Vegan Origin Stories,” participants describe their journey to veganism.  “Health Concerns” addresses health problems unique to Black vegans in the U.S. In “Intersectionality,” participants describe how they are challenged and questioned in white spaces. “Food Deserts” addresses lack of access to healthy foods. “Racial Macroaggressions” goes into experiences of racism. “The Dreaded Comparison” challenges the ways white vegans co-opt historical oppression to promote veganism. “Black Vegans Spaces” highlights those who are creating spaces that address intersectional concerns from the personal to the political.  “Conclusions” is an acknowledgement to those featured and a call for compassion in all aspects of our lives.

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