|Ethnofilms originated from the concept of making films representative of a category of film that some anthropologists have referred to as a"missing genre"
We suggest that the genre is not missing, merely that the area has not been defined adequately, and is a misnomer of sorts. It has existed ever since the beginning of filmmaking and evident in early works such as Robert Flaherty's Nanook and Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera and anthropologist, John Marshall's Nai: the Story of a Kung Woman.
The films of this genre are still apparent today and may even include the titles of such fictional films, such as; JFK, Shindler's List, Apocalypse Now, A Beautiful Mind, and Gangs of New York to name only a few. Why? Because these films try to incorporate their art with the facts. So with that, we ask, what's next? To us, it's oral history told by the "best of the best" storytellers making it visual and making it real.
Ethnofilms mission is to employ this ethnographic approach in making films, whether they be non-fiction or fiction, that are real. What this means, technically, is that during our predevelopment stage of production, usually lasting a year or longer, we do in-depth research for building character and story, structuring the script to include elements of the highest visual appeal. We then create a specific project methodology for production and again in post production to each story's needs in order to apply the appropriate filmic techniques for the most effective visual storytelling possible. Simply, it is our belief to always begin with the facts as known and blend the best of cinematic principles of fictional storytelling. The result is our keystone and Ethnofilms own signature style that we call "fait-fictif mélange."
For your consideration, (academics and film-lovers alike), Ethnofilms would like to be the first to propose the name "So-Sci" for the so-called "missing genre" of film. So-Sci is a category of film that deals with stories emerging from and relative to the areas of human history, culture, society, etc. Essentially, "So-Sci" is a shortened hyphenated version of social science.
It is important to understand that the genre of "So-Sci" does not imply that its films have themes about the field of social science. The films of So-Sci are films that strive to represent or tell visual stories that are relative to the areas that the social and behavioral sciences explore...stories that are relative to humans, the human condition, the human experience (holding moralistic judgment at bay) and all that life may illuminate.
"So-Sci" and "fait-fictif mélange" are part of the ten plus years of research done by Ethnofilms owner Stacy Thornton and will be available in the future in a publication titled, The Films of So-Sci (aka the "missing genre"). Feel free to contact her if you are interested in information regarding her research or her future book.
Please note that we are happy and grateful to you in advance for giving proper credit to either Stacy Thornton or Ethnofilms if and when making any references to the names and findings regarding the Ethnofilms "fait-fictif mélange" film style or the larger concept of the film genre "So-Sci."
Thank you. C 2006 Stacy W. Thornton and Ethnofilms.com
(*) "missing genre" is being used here as defined by esteemed Visual Anthropologist Jay Ruby. Think you want to learn more about the interesting world of ethnographic film as according to the academics? Just read anything by Jay Ruby or Bill Nichols.
Ethnofilms owner Stacy Thornton received her MFA in Screenwriting from Chapman University in 2005 and obtained her B.A. in Anthropology & minor in Criminal Justice from California State University San Bernardino. Prior to that she earned an A.A. in Radio/TV/Film from Saddleback College.
She designed her course "Ethnographic Filmmaking" and taught it for the first time at CSUSB in the winter quarter 2007. She was hired as an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago and has taught documentary film & ethnographic film courses in their Film & Video Dept. since January 2008.
Stacy most recently taught "The Music Documentary " at Columbia College Chicago in the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters.
Stacy is now completing a full-length screenplay based on a character her mother created long, long ago.
Any questions or information you would like to know please email Stacy.