My research centers around film and video production, gender, race, and storytelling. My documentary work follows the tradition of feminist filmmakers like Agnès Varda and Sarah Polley, seeking to tell personal stories that focus on women or on traditionally female issues such as motherhood. While my film work has a life of its own, screening at festivals and on college campuses around the country, I am also interested in creating connections between feminist filmmaking and rhetoric and composition, not only in our scholarship but also in the classroom.
The following projects are at different stages of planning and completion.
A Feminist Filmmaking Methodology for Rhetoric and Composition
This video book is an exploration of film and video production in the field of Rhetoric and Composition and an argument for adopting feminist filmmaking as our model as we step behind the camera. For this project, I interviewed ten Rhetoric and Composition scholars—five faculty and five graduate students—about their filmmaking practices in their research and pedagogy. I also did a survey of the kind of moving image work being published in digital journals and how scholars theorize film and video production in books and articles. Moreover, I draw from my own experiences as a scholar and documentary filmmaker.
William and Santiago Documentary Series
In this series of interconnected short and feature documentaries, I explore brotherhood, motherhood, and family life. I use edited home videos to tell the stories of how my sons, William and Santiago, are learning to relate to each other and to the world around them. I am currently working on three of these films. The first explores the similarities between siblings, the second details the nursing experience from the baby’s perspective, and the third tries to define what it is to have a brother and be shaped by that relationship.
Venezuelan Diaspora Documentary
Currently in the very early planning stages, this feature documentary seeks to tell the story of the Venezuelan diaspora in the United States by interviewing a number of former classmates from my Venezuelan high school, who have—like thousands of middle class Venezuelans—left their motherland in the last decade in order to find better job opportunities and to escape our crippling crime rate. Besides analyzing why so many Venezuelans are currently leaving their motherland, the film seeks to understand what is lost and what is gained by this particular immigrant journey. Is a mass exodus different from smaller migratory waves? What happens to a country that has been drained of many of its most promising young professionals? What is the cost of a diaspora to those who go and to those who stay?
Writing and Theorizing the Memoir
Of all the projects listed here, this is the only one that has been with me since childhood. My father disappeared in the Venezuelan Amazon when I was six years old and for almost two decades I have been researching his life and vanishing and documenting my search. My plan is to write a memoir about my father, but to simultaneously theorize the rhetorical underpinnings and implications of memoir writing and research. I hope to publish the resulting scholarly findings in both video form and alphabetic writing.