“A movie is not thought; it is perceived. This is why the movies can be so gripping in their presentation of man. They directly present us with that special way of being-in-the-world.” – Maurice Merleau-Ponty
There are several steps to our cinematic-phenomenological research and filmmaking method.
Step 1: pay attention. We notice a particular human phenomenon in our every day life that intrigues perplexes us, entices us, wounds us, or demands that we open our eyes. Perhaps we have experienced this phenomenon ourselves, or witnessed loved ones or fellow humans live through it. The phenomena we select often have psychological and sociocultural significance, beckoning us to shed meaningful light unto its shadows for the purposes of consciousness-raising and healing.
Step 2: become curious. We begin to ask questions. What more is there to learn about this human phenomenon? What deeper meanings and insights are hiding in its shadows, which our film can help bring into the light? And what impact could our film have in society, if we share this awareness with others?
Step 3: collect stories. We reach out to research participants who have experienced this particular phenomenon and are willing to share the gift of their stories. We read their stories about lived experience, interview them, and collaborate with them for our joint pursuit towards human insight. Alternatively, we turn towards our own descriptions about lived experience, using our own stories as a springboard for phenomenological insight and cinematic meaning-making.
Step 4: illuminate insights. We dwell in the depths of our own and/or our participants’ stories of lived experience. During this reflective incubation process, we identify existential themes of humanity, symbolic and metaphoric imagery, and psychological and aesthetic insights imbedded in these stories that significantly deepen our understanding of the human phenomenon under inquiry.
Step 5: produce the film. We proceed with a traditional filmmaking process of storyboarding, production and post-production, in artistic collaboration with participants and artists. We conceptualize and produce a poetic film that brings insights, meanings, and symbols to life via beautiful cinematography. Cinematography is deliberately used to induce a visceral sense of empathy among viewers, such that the film immerses them in the lived experience of the phenomenon under inquiry.
Step 6: spread awareness. We hope our phenomenological films spread across the digital landscape to evoke reflection, empathy, and healing regarding the deeper meanings of human experience, to connect people to their own humanity and the humanity of others, and to advance our collective quest for a more intimate, humane, just, and caring world.
For inquiries, ideas, or collaborations for future films, please do not hesitate to contact us at: