“[Phenomenology] consists not in stringing concepts together, but in describing the mingling of consciousness with the world, its involvement in a body, and its coexistence with others… and this is movie material par excellence.” – Maurice Merleau-Ponty
The Phenomenological Film Collective is a research-filmmaking group that creates sensual works of cinematography to illuminate people’s lived experiences of being-in-the-world for the purposes of social advocacy. Our films seek to bring viewers “back to the things themselves” by evoking the deep, textured, taken-for-granted aspects of people’s lived experiences in everyday life and across sociocultural contexts.
PFCollective’s approach to filmmaking is unique in that it relies on a “cinematic-phenomenological research method” in order to achieve such aims. Phenomenological research is a method of qualitative research which collects people’s intimate stories of lived experiences as its chief form of data. This research approach interprets the rich details of people’s lived experiences, and extracts meaningful themes that illustrate profound insight into that particular human phenomenon.
PFCollective utilizes this research method to produce poetic short films that communicate rich insight into what it is like for human beings to live through various kinds of existential and sociocultural phenomena, including the lived experience of being in the closet as an LGBTQ person, the lived experience of mindfulness meditation, the lived experience of breastfeeding in public, etc. Conducting phenomenological research helps us to produce films that convey profound meanings about the depths of these experiences and to invite viewers into intimate contact with the phenomenon itself. We hope that viewers step into the lifeworld of our short films, become transported, and emerge with a deeper empathic understanding of their own humanity and the humanity of others, in our collective quest for a more just and caring world.