Finishing My Documentary: “Chipinga”

Over the past few weeks since returning from England, I have been working around the clock to finish my documentary. I went through many stages of rough cuts—the first was 14-minutes and I was finally able to cut it down to 10-minutes with the help of suggestions from my classmates, Professor Vicky Funari, Corey Chao, friends and family.

I finally finished my film this past Monday and then on Thursday—May 2—I screened my film, along with the other films made in the Advanced Documentary Video Production course. The running time for the film is 10-minutes and 23-seconds. Below is a link to the final version (for now) of Chipinga. 

Watch the film here:

Here is a brief description of the film:

“Chipinga” is a documentary film, which details a filmmaker’s journey to wade through the multiple layers of her mother’s childhood memories and recollect memories she never had. This film illustrates what stories and images from a past life mean to three generations—a granddaughter, a mother and a grandmother—and how the past is constantly re-imagined in the present.

Director’s Statement:

My mother was born the 1960s in Chipinga—a small town in southern Rhodesia, which later became Zimbabwe. She grew up on a dairy farm during wartime and knew how to shoot, take apart, clean and reassemble an automatic weapon by the age of nine. As a child I idealized her memories and chose to only see the beauty and excitement in these stories.

As I grew older, I heard the stories in new ways and learned about the complexity, tragedy and inequality that underlay each moment of life in Rhodesia. I had always thought of my family’s life on a farm in Rhodesia as beautiful, simple and ideal. But, my family’s past cannot be separated from the context in which they lived.

This film was started out of a desire to learn more about the grandfather I never knew and the place I never lived in, and ended up being about how these memories run through me but what they mean to me has changed and taken on new meaning overtime.

This has been an incredible experience and my next dream is to travel back to Zimbabwe to make a longer version of this film. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me through this process and would love to hear all kinds of feedback!

Thanks!

Caileigh Feldman

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