2016 Sarah Jacobson Grantees

Natasha Mendonca

Mulachiparambu // Land of the Breasted Woman is a film on caste oppression, the state and gender activism. Set in South India, it juxtaposes the lives of two characters – The first is the historical tale of Nangeli, a lower caste woman who chopped off her breasts in rebellion against the breast tax law that enforced lower caste women to pay a tax in order to cover their breasts in public.

The second character, Som is a working class transgender activist. The film documents Som’s journey negotiating identities of caste, sexuality, class and gender. The film is a deliberate experiment in anachronism – a tracing across time of the politics of caste and the body, the embodiment of gender, and the risks and legacy of dissent against the hetero-patriarchal state.

MJasperMaura Jasper

In 1980 a film crew from Japan arrive in Muncie, Indiana to make a documentary featuring a typical American family.  For three days the film crew follow their family.  An American film crew is also in town to make a documentary, and they are following the Japanese film crew.  This is where my film begins.

Middletown Revisited: On Being Studied is inspired by the Middletown documentary series created by Peter Davis for PBS in 1982.  Davis’s series was structured after the sociological studies of Helen and Robert Lynd titled “Middletown” which focused on cultural conflict and change within the people and institutions of Muncie.  My film returns to Muncie in the present day and will combine outtake footage from Davis’ original series with my own recent footage to offer a current interpretation of “cultural conflict” and change within the community.  However, this new work will focus on the complications and impact of media spotlight and years of study on this small city.