Trading a Notebook for a Camera: Toward a Theory of Collaborative, Ethnopoetic Filmmaking

  • Author(s): Mark Patrick McGuire
  • When: 2014-03
  • Where: Contemporary Buddhism
  • In this article I elaborate and reflect upon the representation of contemporary Japanese mountain ascetic practitioners in an immersive, collaboratively produced documentary film. My intent with this self-reflexive methodology has been to clarify how the continuous presence and participation in ascetic training by two North Americans with camera equipment most certainly altered the nature of our interaction with fellow Shugend√¥ participants and guides, shaped the footage we captured, and determined the kind of story we could tell. I attempt here to shed further light upon important decisions, challenges and dilemmas that emerged with reference to key texts, films and discussions that shaped our collaborative filmmaking sensibilities and practices. Readers interested in the practice and representation of Tantric Buddhism, asceticism, Japanese religious and cultural life, and Shugend√¥ may find these reflections of interest and value.

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