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Individually, Together

student films made at home in the Spring of 2020

Normally, in this seminar, we study the way communities work by documenting the lives of Trentonians.  This year, that changed.  Instead, from the seclusion of their own homes, students set out to sustain community by sharing their own stories. Taken together, the films that have emerged these semester – in eight short weeks – suggest that our job as artists and media-makers in this pandemic is to acknowledge the wide range of experiences we’re facing, while also creating what commentator Ezra Klein has called “a collective understanding of we’re going through individually, together.”  

You are cordially invited to watch the films ahead of time – they’ll be available as soon as they’re finished, May 19 -- and then join our online discussion with the filmmakers on May 20 at 5pm. Sharing these cinematic experiments with you will allow us to continue, albeit very differently, our project of community-engagement. Details and registration are here.

We are also sharing one project that fulfills the more urban studies-focused mission of The Trenton Project. Anna Hiltner chose to spend her Spring documenting the effect of the pandemic on the migrant community in Trenton and Mercer County. We welcome your comments and discussion on Facebook.

7,000 MILES

Jimin Kang (2020, 8 min.)

Set amidst the uncertainty of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, this film documents Kang, an international student from South Korea, as she spends her days in isolation at Princeton University, trying to stay connected with her family despite being 7,000 miles away.


Jamie Rodriguez  (2020, 6 min.)

A film about surfers and lemmings, two misunderstood populations that engage in dangerous behavior. Surfers have continued to gather despite stay-at-home orders. By following Max Edgerton, a North Carolina surfer, we gain perspective as to why surfers have chosen to engage in such deviant behavior. 


Sanna Lee (2020, 5 min)

Su, an immigrant mother who raised two daughters all by herself, recounts how she’s managed to feed her family on a low paycheck. 


Jonathan Romero. (2020, 11 min)

The testimonial potential of dreams is deployed in this collection of voices from Germany, Mexico, Ecuador and the US. Filmed and produced from quarantine in Garland, TX amidst the coronavirus pandemic, this short film essay provides us with rare access to the real concerns of a generation in the face of what some have referred to as “the worst crisis since World War II”.


Drew Pugliese. (2020, 6 min.)

A poetic meditation on Packanack Lake—the filmmaker’s childhood home—through a conversation with his mother, as she negotiates her relationship with the community in the context of pandemic. 


As the global pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, we feel far away from so many people we love and care about. But for some families, ironically, social distancing has brought them closer together. 


Johnatan Reiss. (2020, 6 min.)

Almost 50 years after her left hand was first tied behind her back to eradicate her left-handedness, Raya decides to draw for the first time in her life. With chalks and pencils, she reclaims her left handedness, and a childhood lived in second hand.


Liana Cohen (2020, 9 min)

As Covid-19 ravages New York City, a quarantined former opera singer rediscovers old photographs and materials from throughout her life, sparkling mingled nostalgia and self-reflection

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