The role of nonhuman actors in contributing to filmmaking solidarity: Ethnography of independent filmmaking in Japan

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Shun ConeyYasunobu Ito

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to clarify how nonhuman actors contribute to solidarity in independent new film production. Specifically, it examines independent new film productions from a relationalist perspective, using actor-network-theory (ANT), which considers humans and nonhumans as equivalent actors and analyzes phenomena based on their interactions with each other. The research method used was ethnography with a focus on participant observation. One of the authors, a filmmaker and researcher, observed the inner workings of the filmmaking activity, while the other author observed the observer from an anthropologist’s perspective. In a previous paper, we found from the process of translation that the two nonhuman actors of the film’s original story and funding are inextricably linked, and the agency of the human actors surrounding them interacts with and transforms the nonhuman actors (Coney and Ito, 2021). In the present study, we analyzed the interaction with the solidarity among human actors in the process of film production by closely following the linkage of nonhuman actors such as provisional publicity materials, in addition to funds and scripts. In the process of filmmaking, the nonhuman actors often encounter unforeseen circumstances such as budget adjustments and filming postponement, but despite the setbacks, the nonhuman actors form a network in which they accept each other’s roles, and filmmaking is promoted by solidarity as human actors of the film become more interdependent through the agency working as an inclusive collective. The results of the study revealed that the human actors in film are interdependent and that their solidarity promotes filmmaking.

Keywords: Filmmaking, Independent Film, Solidarity, Nonhuman, Actor, network theory

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003115

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