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Media Studies

Gentrification During the 2009 Recession In Harlem

Jahmil Eady ('11); Sheila Pinkel

Harlem, historically revered for its intellectual, cultural and economic golden age of the 1920's and 30's, was once known as “The Capital of Black America.” Artist, writers, political activists and a growing African-American middleclass occupied the oversized brownstones that lined the streets. But what has become of this neighborhood, buildings and its people? Gentrification and the economic recession is currently changing the culture of this vital community. I document this change's impact on the neighborhood, using the classic but dying art of black and white photography in juxtaposition to the new and changing Harlem. I explore themes such as Black pride and history, environment and environmentalism, the generation gap, family, poverty, culture, deterioration and time. Using the words of Harlem residents, business owners and political leaders as an undergird, I provide an inside glimpse into the social and economic lifestyle of Harlem during a particularly historical period of transition.
Funding provided by: Pomona College National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Indie 2.0: Art, Commerce, and the Internet in American Independent Cinema

Duncan Gray ('10); James Morrison; Lauri Mullens

Twenty years after American independent cinema broke out, the old business model is in decline: distribution houses shutting, foreign sales slowing, a glut of films flooding the market. Amidst this, producers and filmmakers have looked to the Internet and video-on-demand for new business models. Despite skepticism that such models are viable, many companies are tying, including the Auteurs, IndieFlix, and Magnolia Pictures. Such new methods are currently in early/experimental versions, but theories have emerged on what such a model would need: a grassroots-marketed community; a curated brand; a technological fusion between internet and televisions; an “economy of free”; lower budgeted films. As for whether these models can break out, it’s too soon to tell, and ultimately, it’s up to art as well as business for the new model to break through. This report on these developments includes interviews with industry insiders and essays on independent film’s past and present.
Funding provided by: Pomona College National Endowment For the Humanities Grant

Dawn in the Valley

MD Xiaoye Ma ('11); Zhiru Ng

Dawn in the Valley is a 10-minute documentary about the education for ‘left-behind children’ of the Miao (Hmong) race in China. The geographic location of Guizhou makes it one of the most beautiful yet poorest provinces in China. Agricultural cultivation in Guizhou is still heavily reliant on highly inefficient manual labor. This has resulted in many children being left behind in rural villages such as Niajia as their parents move to affluent cities to seek a better living. So many children have been living alone with their grandparents that a term, ‘left-behind children’, has sprouted in the Chinese lexicon. This documentary will serve as a short informative outreach film that helps my group and I establish connections with other volunteer groups and philanthropic organizations. I aim to raise $50,000 by May 2010 to renovate an elementary school and pave a road in Niajia to facilitate the Miao children’s transportation to schools.
Funding provided by: Stonehill Grant; PBI Summer Documentary Grant

Timing Is Everything: How Society, Economy and One Man Came Together to Create the Jamaican Cult Classic "The Harder They Come"

Zahra Phillips ('10); Kathleen Fitzpatrick

The paper focuses on the development and production of the Jamaican cult classic film, “The Harder They Come” (1972) and unearths a story as exciting as the plot of the movie. The success of the film is a culmination of social and business factors within Jamaica and worldwide, and at the centre is Perry Henzell (director), who had an almost obsessive faith in the possibilities of his film. The film has been incredibly successful not just locally but on an international stage. This success is especially impressive considering the film’s modest budget and that Jamaica had no film industry at the time. It is even more impressive as the majority of those who worked on the film were Jamaican. I discovered information regarding the film using previous research, and also by interviewing several people knowledgeable or involved in the development of the film, such as family members and business partners.
Funding provided by: Stonehill Grant

The Student Life and Cultural Sensitivity

Samantha Sullivan ('11); Kathleen Fitzpatrick

The Student Life proclaimed its mission to inform students, encourage original writing, and fairly represent Pomona College. It has been many years since its inception in 1889, but it is important that the paper stay true to its values by effectively informing students without bias. I archived five newspapers from each decade of the TSL, which I categorized into subjective and objective based on the style in which the articles were written. I also created a survey in which I asked 30 students about the TSL. I found many of the articles to be subjective and only 14.7% of students surveyed found the TSL objective. “The long-term issues reflected… are cultural gaps that exist between journalists and sources” (Sambandan). In conclusion, my results do not necessarily infer that the writers are culturally insensitive but rather that they are not well versed in journalism and media studies.
Funding provided by: Stonehill Grant

Research at Pomona