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Journey for Jazz

Description: This written thesis accompanies a 32-minute documentary video, Journey for Jazz, which explores four Korean students who major in jazz at the University of North Texas in Denton. Detailed accounts of the pre-production, production, and post-production of the video guide the reader to understand the challenging and rewarding process of making this documentary. Theoretical issues are also discussed, including Bill Nichols's typology of documentary modes as a useful tool for analysis of hybrid documentaries and conventions of the observational and interactive mode in Journey for Jazz, which is considered a hybrid of both modes. The film focuses mainly on the scholarly and artistic experiences that the four students undergo while studying jazz in the United States.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Ahn, Byungkyu

24, Lost, and Six Feet Under: Post-traumatic television in the post-9/11 era.

Description: This study sought to determine if and how television texts produced since September 11, 2001, reflect and address cultural concerns by analyzing patterns in their theme and narrative style. Three American television serials were examined as case studies. Each text addressed a common cluster of contemporary issues such as trauma, death, and loss.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Anderson, Tonya

Room 2046: A Political Reading of Wong Kar-Wai's Chow-Mo Wan Trilogy through Narrative Elements and Mise-en-scene

Description: As ownership of Hong Kong changed hands from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China in 1997, citizens and filmmakers of the city became highly aware of the political environment. Film director Wong Kar-Wai creates visually stimulating films that express the anxieties and frustrations of the citizens of Hong Kong during this period. This study provides a political reading of Days of Being Wild (1991), In the Mood for Love (2000), and 2046 (2004) through analyzing various story elements and details within the mise-en-scene. Story elements include setting, dialogue, character relationships, character identities, thematic motifs, musical references, numerology, and genre manipulation. Wong also uses details within the films' mise-en-scene, such as props and color, to express political frustrations. To provide color interpretations, various traditional aesthetic guidelines, such as those prescribed by Taoism, Cantonese and Beijing opera, and feng shui, are used to read the films' negative comments on the handover process and the governments involved. When studied together the three films illustrate how Wong Kar-Wai creates narrative and visual references to the time and atmosphere in which he works, namely pre-and-post handover Hong Kong.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Baldwin, Jillian

Documentary Film: Access Denied

Description: Sculptor Eric McGehearty incorporates dyslexia, a learning disability, into his artwork to express his challenges with his limited ability to recognize and understand the written word. The film Access Denied focuses on Eric and his disability. Recognized in 1896, dyslexia has been studied and researched by scientists and educators. New assistive technology is now available to aid dyslexics in reading and writing. Specialized schools provide techniques to improve student learning. However, some options are not readily available to the general public; therefore, information about how to deal with the disability is not easily accessed. The aims of this documentary are to raise awareness of available resources to assist with learning as well as to demonstrate a relationship between art and dyslexia.
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Date: August 2006
Creator: Bell, Leah Helanie

A Question of Queerness: Case Studies of Contemporary American Television

Description: This project utilizes a case study approach to explore the various ways in which the portrayals of gay people have changed on American television. Three contemporary programs - Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The L Word - are examined as examples of how far American television has progressed in terms of treating gay people with respect. Whether those shows move beyond merely presenting gay characters and into a level of actively challenging mainstream views on gay people is also examined. Findings suggest different factors affect the ability of the individual programs to test said views - including the genres to which each belongs, and their presence on network television (Will & Grace), basic cable (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) or premium cable (The L Word). While all three programs show some tendencies toward queerness, they also take steps toward negotiating with mainstream culture, indicating that complete queerness may be an unattainable goal on American television.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Bentley, Jon Alexander

Street Chords and the Truth: A Street Level View of Country Music

Description: Singers and songwriters come to Nashville, Tennessee because they consider it the center of the country music universe and the best place to perform their songs as they try and break into the music business. Though few ever experience success in this competitive field, artists continue to arrive in Nashville and many don't have the commercial potential that would allow them the opportunity to perform anywhere but on the city's streets. The film, Street Chords and the Truth: A Street Level View of Country Music, focuses on these interesting performers and their music. Country music has been examined by a handful of ethnomusicologists and is often called the music of everyday life. Many recognize its dependence on ordinary singing styles, common phrasings, southern accents and traditional costuming as central to its identity and critical source of its value as a commodity. While many studies have been conducted focusing commercially popular country music singers and the music industry, few studies been conducted on singers who meet all the critical criteria for country music except commercial viability. This documentary examines country music more as a critical element of cultural identity and less as a commodity.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Bevins, Thomas

Vieques: Island of Conflict and Dreams

Description: This written thesis is a companion to a 30-minute documentary video of the same title. The documentary is a presentation of the historical conflict between the United States Navy and the people of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. For over 60 years the island was used by the United States Navy as a military training facility. The documentary attempts to present an analysis of the struggle between citizens of the island and the Navy. This written component presents a summarized history of Puerto Rico, Vieques and the conflict with the United States Navy. In addition, the preproduction, production and post-production process of the documentary are discussed. A theoretical analysis of the filmmaker's approach and technique are addressed and analyzed as well. The thesis's goal is to provide a clear understanding of the Vieques conflict to United States audiences who do not a familiarity with the topic. The thesis is presented from the perspective of a person who grew up in Puerto Rico.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Borges, Cristóbal A.

Our enemy, ourselves: Political conspiracy in American cinema, 1970-present.

Description: This thesis is an examination of "paranoid conspiracy" films, a film noir subgenre that emerged in mainstream American cinema in the early 1970s and turns on vast, shadowy conspiracies located within U.S. "power structures" (government agencies, the military, the media) and directed against the American public. Specifically, it focuses on the emergence of these films in the 1970s, their almost complete disappearance during the Reagan presidency, and subsequent reemergence in the early 1990s. Placing representative texts in the context of U.S. political and social reality of the last three decades, it analyzes the relationship between the conspiracy theory genre, the "crisis of confidence" in the American society, and the process of formation of American national identity.
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Date: August 2003
Creator: Budziszewski, Przemyslaw

Big Hair and Big Egos: Texan Stereotypes in American Entertainment Media as Formed Through Television Viewing.

Description: This thesis explores the stereotypes of Texans portrayed in American entertainment media, and attempts to identify the reasons for both the existence, and persistence of these images. The study includes a brief history of Texas, and background information on the formulation of stereotypes. Cultivation theory is used to explain the process of stereotypes formed through television viewing. Content analysis of the responses from an on line survey involving 52 participants revealed that people outside the state of Texas have strong perceptions about Texans that are consistent with media representations. As the level of television viewership increased, so did the indelibility of the impressions. Those who watch more television were more likely to perceive the image of Texans as negative, and less likely to change their opinions of Texans after visiting the state.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Burdette, Catherine Bowers

The Making of the Documentary Women at Work

Description: Women have fought for their rights to equal opportunity employment for more than a millennium. Even now, in the 21st century the fight continues. Women at Work explores the experiences of three women who work in male-dominated blue-collar jobs and discuses their struggles and successes within their employment. Their career choices have required each to address their individual views on feminism and femininity, as well as views on education and family.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Bussart, Anna Lynn

A Wonder Whose Origin is not Known: The Importance of the Orphan Hero in Otherworldly Film

Description: The purpose of this thesis is to explore the importance of the orphan hero in film and his resonance with the American people. It explores the orphan and the American identities, the archetypes found in myths, and the hero in American culture. The three heroes (Batman, Anakin Skywalker, and Harry Potter) represent certain aspects of orphan heroes: the capacity for sacrifice and the need to resist focusing on oneself. The type of hero each becomes has its source in the response he takes to his orphanhood. These young men suffered great loss early in their lives, but found the strength to sacrifice themselves for others, the ultimate sign of a hero.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Callahan, Sarah Francis

Gender, Identity, and Influence: Hong Kong Martial Arts Films

Description: This project is an examination of the Hong Kong film industry, focusing on the years leading up to the handover of Hong Kong to communist China. The influence of classical Chinese culture on gender representation in martial arts films is examined in order to formulate an understanding of how these films use gender issues to negotiate a sense of cultural identity in the face of unprecedented political change. In particular, the films of Hong Kong action stars Michelle Yeoh and Brigitte Lin are studied within a feminist and cultural studies framework for indications of identity formation through the highlighting of gender issues.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Castillo, Gilbert Gerard

In Martha We Trust? The Cultural Significance of the Martha Stewart Phenomenon

Description: The thesis examines the relationship between Martha Stewart's rendition of domesticity and a broader cultural trend of the late 1990s U.S. domestic retreatism. It argues that the mode of construction and representation of the "domestic dream" in Stewart's programs cannot be examined outside of such concepts as class and ethnicity, whose understanding depends on the cultural, social, and political context of a given era, a context, in which they become transparent as aspects of the Western (white, patriarchal) status quo. Performing a deconstructive reading of these categories as employed by Stewart in the process of creation of her media persona, the thesis examines what the negative as well as positive reactions to "Martha Stewart" convey about the condition of American society of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
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Date: August 2003
Creator: Chmielewska, Katarzyna

"Time for Teletubbies": Childhood, Child Participation, and the Struggle for Meaning

Description: The children's television program Teletubbies and its concomitant controversies are analyzed along with the media attention surrounding the program. A textual analysis is presented, including the methodologies of narrative theory, semiotics/structuralism, and poststructuralism. The context is also analyzed, using a cultural studies and historical reception approach, in order to chronicle and analyze the show's controversies and elucidate how these arguments have affected reception and interpretation of the show. Following textual and contextual analysis, a social science approach is utilized, reviewing literature and research that supports or refutes the arguments at hand. Finally, the results of a qualitative, ethnographical study are presented in order to include the child's perspectives on the show and inform the larger, cultural issues of childhood.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Cowart, Agatha

Theoretical and Practical Record of the Making of the Documentary Film, A Native American Dream

Description: This textual record of the making of the social issue documentary film A Native American Dream examines theoretical and practical considerations of the filmmaker during the pre-production, production, and post-production stages. It also examines the disciplines of anthropology and ethnography in terms of modern documentary filmmaking and evaluates the film within these contexts.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Daggett, Liz

The Paradox of Creativity and Business in Feature Hollywood Filmmaking: The Relationship Between Motion Picture Production and Budgeting

Description: This study examines the relationship between movie budgeting and the creative process in Hollywood filmmaking. To understand the effects of this relationship on the creative product, several films are analyzed within the production process where conflicts between the investors and creators are observed. A case study approach is guided by theories of the production of culture, which state that creative products manufactured in the cultural industry must be analyzed in relation to their surrounds society. Findings suggest previous indicators of box office success are becoming primary influences in the filmmaking process. The study also finds that financial standards in Hollywood potentially inhibit innovation among creative participants within a limited Hollywood creative sphere.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Dean, Adam T.

Documentary Film: I Named Her Angel

Description: Recent political developments in the world show us that different cultures need to know and understand each other better. Even though technological developments like the Internet, satellites, cable television and conglomeration of big media entities have made mass communication more effective and faster, we cannot easily say that these developments help to bring world cultures together. As a result, mass audiences are not very much able to see what few productions do speak to these issues in a constructive manner. The main aim of this documentary film project is to serve as a small step towards helping different cultures to understand each other better. This documentary film conveys the basics of Mevlevism by following the formal gatherings of a Mevlevi den in Istanbul, Turkey. A den or tekke is a place where Islamic people gather and perform their religious activities. During these gatherings they do the sema, they pray, they listen to music, and they discuss spiritual matters. Sema is the entire ritual they perform as part of their ceremonies including listening to music, singing and chanting to attain a state of religious emotion and ecstasy or vecd. The documentary film is structured around a twelve year old girl, Elif, who is learning the basics of Mevlevism. The interviews conducted with regulars from the den explain to the audience why people are attracted to this belief system. Filming the ceremonies at the 550-year-old Mevlevi temple in Galata, Istanbul accentuates the historic background of this belief system. The Night of Reunion is the day in which Mevlevis celebrate the passing of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, the founder of Mevlevism and provides the climax of the film. Elif performs on that night, a very important moment in her spiritual life.
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Date: May 2005
Creator: Dinc, Nefin

Mama D's 2 Blocks: A Documentary Film

Description: Mama D's 2 Blocks tells the story of a neighborhood home in New Orleans that was transformed into a distribution center and used to assist residents impacted by Hurricane Katrina's devastation in 2005. Mama D stayed at her home throughout the storm and remained there until the floodwaters had subsided. After the water had drained, socially minded youth from all over the country were drawn to Mama D's home and stayed there while supporting local renewal efforts. The film documents their joining together, without electricity or running water, and assisting in the rebuilding process undertaken by Mama D and other neighborhood residents. This film captures a community in action, how it survived, and the first steps taken towards the rebuilding of New Orleans.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Ferris, Mika

Behind the Scenes of The Steve Taylor Story: A Documentary

Description: Behind the Scenes of The Steve Taylor Story: A Documentary is the written companion to a 39-minute documentary film entitled, The Steve Taylor Story. The film explores the controversial career of Christian musician Steve Taylor. It also chronicles the ideology of the Christian subculture in America through the hegemony of the dominant Christian culture and Steve's actions in opposition to it.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Gibson, Sarah Edith

Education for Education's Sake? Exposing the Arts District of Downtown Dallas

Description: This thesis discusses the relatively new approach of art education, by paralleling it to Marxist ideology on art. The Dallas Arts District is one example of a city where museum art education is in conflict: being adopted more vigorously by some and with less acceptance by others. In order to provide a glimpse into the museum ideology of downtown Dallas, previous schools of thought regarding the role of curators and the introduction of educators into museums will be detailed, as well as conflicts between these two factions. The following questions will be addressed: Is museum art education truly a movement which strives to infuse the American culture with a greater appreciation of art? Is there a link to overcoming Marx's key issue of class? How is the movement affecting the Dallas Arts District and to what extent is museum art education being utilized within this forum? Is the emphasis toward museum art education greater in Dallas than in other large cities across the United States, and if so, how has that affected the cities' patrons?
Date: August 2005
Creator: Gormly, Robin K.

Snakes Alive!

Description: On three days in March each year, the sleepy little town of Sweetwater, Texas transforms into the rattlesnake capital of the world. Snake hunters and curious tourists converge on the town of 12,000 for the Annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup. On the outside of the Nolan County Coliseum, the smell of funnel cakes and hot-dogs fills the air as vendors sell snacks and souvenirs. However the real action is inside where snakes collected from all over the state lay in piles by the thousands, waiting to be sexed, milked and ultimately killed. Through interviews and observational footage, "Snakes Alive!" explores the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup, those that participate in the event, and the elements that make it an unabashed West Texas tradition.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Greer, Daniel

The Impact of Ownership, Regulation Issues and Technology Adoption on the Introduction of Digital Terrestrial Television: A Comparison of the United States and Mainland China

Description: This study compares the impact of media ownership, regulation and policy, and technology adoption on the introduction of digital terrestrial television in the United States and Mainland China. Through the use of a case study approach, a qualitative and quantitative examination is given. The results indicate that private group ownership throughout the U.S. digital terrestrial television industry and state ownership in China's television industry lead to the different paths to digital transition. Both governments, however, are deeply involved in respective digital initiatives and play an important role in the implementation from analog to digital. The technical standard adoption in the two countries places the underpinning for the future development of digital television (DTV), which also results in China lagging behind the United States by almost ten years. The differences of technological environments in households and income among consumers in the two countries further predict the intention to DTV adoption.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Guo, Miao

No Way Out: A Historical Documentary

Description: No Way Out: A Historical Documentary is the written companion to a forty-minute documentary film entitled "No Way Out". The film deals with a 1974 inmate standoff at a prison in Huntsville, Texas known as the Carrasco Incident. The film examines the prison takeover through the eyes of those who lived through it. Composed of five interviews, "No Way Out" is a compilation of various points of view ranging from former hostages, members of the press, and law enforcement. The written companion for this piece discusses the three phases of the production for this film. These chapters are designed to share with the reader the various intricacies of documentary filmmaking. The thesis also explores theoretical issues concerning collective memory, coping behavior, and the ethics of historical documentary filmmaking.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Holder, Elizabeth Suzanne

Side By Side: Reinventing Mother/Daughter Relationships

Description: Beginning with mother/daughter film classics such as Stella Dallas (1937) and Mildred Pierce (1945), and moving to consider recent mother/daughter texts, Anywhere But Here (1999) and "Gilmore Girls" (2000 -), this thesis, in both its written and visual components, examines the multiple and often contradictory ways in which mothers and daughters have been represented in popular culture. Challenging the discourses that singularly stress struggle and separation, this research highlights representations that emphasize mother/daughter connection, and examines how such identification empowers mothers and daughters. This project is guided by cultural studies and feminist film theories. The first two chapters outline past and present paradigms of mothers and daughters respectively; the third chapter examines the goals and findings of the visual component.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Holzgraefe, Sandi