DER Documentary

Oh, What A Blow That Phantom Gave Me!

Oh What A Blow That Phantom Gave Me

by John Bishop and Harald Prins
color, 52 min, 2003

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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This film takes its title from a book written by filmmaker Edmund Carpenter in 1972 about his engagement with media in Papua, New Guinea. In the film, several filmmakers discuss the introduction of media, and film in particular, to native cultures.

Media has the ability to help native peoples document their own cultures, but it also has the power to encroach upon those cultures and irreversibly alter them.

This film relates the ways in which native peoples engage with media, from the Biami who proudly developed the "Big Wink" to learn how to properly focus a camera, to the Kandagan people who changed the rules of a thousand year old male initiation ceremony to allow a woman camera operator to document the ceremony. At issue is the way in which media "swallows cultures" and the benefits and dangers of introducing preliterate societies to Western modes of communication and expression.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology. Media Ecology Association, 2004
IWF International Festival of Ethnographic Film, Germany, 2004
8th Royal Anthropological Institute’s International Festival of Ethnographic Film, England, 2003
Northeastern Anthropological Association, Burlington, Vermont, 2003
14th Beeld voor Beeld Ethnographic Film Festival, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2003
4th Media Ecology Association Annual Conference, 2003
American Anthropological Association, Chicago, 2003
7th Documentary and Ethnographic Film Festival of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2003
Taiwan Ethnographic Film Festival, 2003
Documentary & Ethnographic Film Festival of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2003
Göttingen International Film Festival, Germany, 2004
Interuniversity Ethnographic Film Festival of Montreal, 2005

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