Blog Post #5

A Story Within a Story

The concepts that were analyzed by Aguayo and Canella  were explicitly recognized  throughout Strong Island, a film directed by Yance Ford. These elements, within the documentary, allowed for there to be an appropriate balance between a compelling story while tackling major systemic issues. As discussed in class, the concept of vitality was a major element of projection as well as promotion. According to the slides, vitality can be described as the ability for the film to have a life of its own and how vital it is as a piece of storytelling. In relation to the film, there were many aspects throughout the documentary where the audience was able to deeply connect and/or sympathize with Ford and his family. For example, in order to establish a solid sense of vitality, Ford begins the film by having her mother describe the specific dynamics of their family. It is learned that the Ford family was extremely close in and definitely cherished each other’s goals as well as their overall lives. For Yance, the director, it would have been extremely easy for him to immediately delve into the specifics of the case and the events that transpired on the day of the situation. However, in order for there to be a sense of emotion as well as interest, it was imperative that Ford initiated the story with a background of the family. The concepts of framing, re-framing, developing and distributing messages of social justices was deeply analyzed within the Canella readings. 

“Documentary films and the social media platforms used to distribute these texts will not alone bring about an end to global economic and social inequalities; but using cultural production…. Bridge the ideological divide between working class people, and build a progressive political project.”(Canella 35)

 This idea of effectively constructing a story, in order for it to be recognized and understood by everyone, is clearly seen throughout the course of Strong Island. The use of social location as well as the analysis of systemic racism on Long Island was a strategy that Yance Ford used in efforts to project her beliefs. For example, the physical description of her brother’s stature and frame was used as the skewed perspective and assumption that was placed on him. More specifically, an above average sized African American man often gets deemed aggressive and angry based on his exterior specifications. This is one of the many examples that Yance Ford used to frame and reframe ideologies and previous stigmas that have been placed on specific groups of people for years in efforts to facilitate change. 

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