Capturing the Stories of GWHT through Digital Story-Telling.
February 26, 2019
Emerging documentary filmmaker and new media scholar, Andrea Kim, is the newest addition to GWHT.
Q: What is your background and how did you first get involved with the lab?
Andrea: I majored in Global Culture Studies with a certificate in Documentary Studies. At surface level, the space and people of these realms might seem profoundly different than those found in Engineering. In class, we discussed literature that draws from traditions of philosophy like critical theory, phenomenology, and things like that, and at the Center for Documentary Studies, I developed a lot of my interpersonal interviewing and on-the-ground media production skills. I actually first met Nimmi when I was interviewing her for my capstone documentary project, a 12-min short film about the Calla device. As we were talking, I quickly found that we had a lot of similar ideas about culture and technology, and how gendered power dynamics affect these social domains. I'd say from there, I was hooked.
Q: Did you ever expect yourself working at a biomedical engineering lab?
Andrea: Not necessarily, no. I was amazed by, and grateful for, how open the lab was to the idea, actively incorporating the arts and humanities into their work. I want to study interactive media and new technologies, so I’ve actually been applying to graduate schools that are more known for its engineering than humanities, so in some ways the synergy I felt with the lab does make sense.
Q: How has the process of filming the documentary been going so far?
Andrea: I'm learning so much. Working with GWHT, I've been diving deep into topics I might not have explored otherwise, such as the technology behind the Callascope, the procedures for the clinical trials at the hospital, and the federal regulations for new devices. Not only that, but in filming the exhibit, I ended up learning about how art exhibits are created and curated. I have also been interviewing several local artists about their work, which have resulted in enlightening conversations of depth and personal resonance. It's also been exciting to drive out to random spots in Durham or Raleigh and explore the community right here, around us. This project really puts me at the epicenter of hundreds of different worlds
Andrea Kim and Nimmi Ramanujam presenting at the Ruby's Art Talk on the Calla Campaign.
Q: What makes you passionate about this story? What do you hope the film captures?
Andrea: The goal for the art exhibit was to create a space in which people feel comfortable to reflect on the stories, ideas, and perceptions about female sexual and reproductive health. Often times, you don't feel comfortable to do that— in professional settings, maybe within your family, maybe even with your friends. But it shouldn't be something to be ashamed of, and that shame can be a barrier to seeking healthcare. That's the same idea I want to carry on into the documentary. You know, the space between a viewer and a film—that's a space that I want to cultivate. And, I want people to exist in that space, then create that space in their lives after they watch the film. Documentaries are a really good medium and platform for not only sharing information in a compelling way, but for starting dialogue. You don't have to physically be anywhere to see it, you could watch it within your house, on your laptop, at a screening with a community of people. And I find that really powerful for starting new conversations.
Q: What are the next steps for the documentary?
Andrea: My immediate goal right now is quite simple. It's to find more funding, and build a team. The amount that I, myself, have been learning makes me confident in the necessity of this film to be at the best quality possible. I want to show my work. I want to share what I'm seeing and doing and learning. Also, this story of women's reproductive healthcare is incomplete if it's one that only covers women in Durham and voices at Duke. I'd use my additional funding to apply my past experiences collaborating in global contexts to interview women's groups and medical collaborators in Ghana, where the lab is conducting its next set of clinical trials. I'd love to offer a holistic story that includes all the voices it involves, which includes a more global reach. In the long term, I plan to screen this film at several film festivals and hopefully secure distribution through online streaming, and share this amazing story to as many people as possible.
As part of GWHT's Calla Campaign, The (In)visible Organ Documentary is currently in early stages of production. Andrea is trying to secure funding to bring this project to life at the most professional quality it could be, and could really use your support to get to the finish line. Support this film by contributing to its Kickstarter campaign and following its journey on social media.