‘Outsider’ voice films open new storytelling spaces, says academic

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Parasite ... "Hollywood is being changed by ‘outsider’ voices." Image: Parasite movie

By Nicola Igusa

The value of different perspectives in film making is valued now more than ever, says Auckland University of Technology screen production Associate Professor Arezou Zalipour.

“We’ve just seen the historic win of Parasite at the 2020s Oscars – the first non-English language production to win Best Picture,” she says.

“In the same ceremony Taika Waititi used his Jojo Rabbit win for Best Adapted Screenplay to encourage Indigenous kids all over the world to pursue art.

READ MORE: Historic Parasite Oscar may be game changer for global film business

Dr Arezou Zalipour … innovative transnational storytelling film courses. Image: AUT News

“Hollywood is being changed by ‘outsider’ voices and here at AUT we’re helping prepare our students for that world.”

Dr Zalipour’s Contemporary World Cinemas paper, a selected topic in the AUT School of Communication Studies television and screen production department, is first offering by the university in a transnational storytelling approach.

It bridges theory and practice in a unique way through examples of Academy Award winners and nominees for Best Foreign Language Film (Best International Feature Film) and beyond.

Students in the course say it is refreshing and absolutely essential to be able to critically analyse film styles as well as their own choices when making a film.

Film making techniques
The course prompts deeper thought about film making, changing the way students think about film making and enable them to examine a wide range of film making techniques and narratives.

Dr Zalipour has designed a further paper to be offered in Semester 2 this year for post graduate students, Making Cinemas of Difference. This paper takes a “de-Westernising” approach in film and filmmaking by engaging, among other concepts, with issues of racism and postcolonial theories in film and practice, and teaches how to make a video essay.

“We learn from the masters of film making and storytellers, which allows the students to build their understanding of how film can be made to construct and convey a sense of identity and place,” she says.

“By exploring films from the Middle East, Asia and Europe, our students learn to recognise different modes of storytelling and film language, and the way culture, society and storytelling are intimately combined, and then apply that learning to their own film making.”

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