Zen-Mind Filmmaking – A Pedagogical Approach to Liberate Filmmakers from Conditions and Entangled Dependence (74796)

Session Information: Innovative & Interdisciplinary Teaching in Practice
Session Chair: Alvin Leong

Saturday, 25 November 2023 16:10
Session: Session 4
Room: Room C (Live Stream)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

As a practice, filmmaking involves the interplay of many several disciplines to create a final finished product. Because filmmaking is so conditional and dependent on resources like finance, equipment, cast and crew, filmmakers often gets entangled in the acquiring of them, leading to fatigue and exhaustion. In trying to liberate filmmaking from its entanglements, a practice research experiment was conducted to see if the filmmaking practice can be improved using the parameters inspired by Zen Buddhist philosophy. This experiment worked with 3 filmmakers to make films, using Zen concepts like minimalism, non-attachment and being in the present to reduce filmmaking’s dependence on funding and equipment, adopting a minimalist less-is-more approach to storytelling with the moving image. By limiting shoot and edit time to 4 hours each, filmmakers practice non-attachment to fixated ideas and learn to use the “thus-ness” of their conditions in the present, opening themselves to modes of serendipity and sometimes co-creating with their conditions, however unfavourable to tell stories. The experiment also revealed that films made under these parameters focused less on image building and more on the image’s relations to rhythm, pacing, space and duration. Despite imposed parameters, Zen-Mind Filmmaking is found to be liberating rather than limiting. Like how Zen practice brings a practitioner back to his center, this methodology can be introduced to film education to help bring the practice of filmmaking back to its center – as storytelling with the moving image – without its excesses.

Tzang Merwyn Tong, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

About the Presenter(s)
Tzang Merwyn Tong is an award-winning Singapore independent filmmaker, arts educator and researcher whose research interests include pedagogies in storytelling, filmmaking and interdisciplinary learning.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00