Procedural residues after the shooting of The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park

Date created: 
Collaborative documentary film
Expanded western
Oppenheimer Park
Downtown Eastside
Political cinema
Urban reservation system

Documentary practices are embedded in the idea of the representation of reality. This paradigm reinforces the authority of the State and neutralizes the political agency of the people being filmed. What happen if, instead of representing, we assume that a documentary film is presenting a reality? After a year in conversation with Indigenous people who spend the day drinking in Oppenheimer Park, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, I proposed to them employing the framework of the Hollywood Western to make a collaborative film. By introducing the iconic elements of the Western in the form of props, I spent fifteen weeks in the park documenting a series of performances enacted by people who’ve been fighting the imposition of law and order since being ordered onto reservations. The result is 130 hours of problematic footage that raises questions about colonization, political agency, contemporary forms of control, ethics, and historiography.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed, but not for the text to be copied and pasted.
Video file DV NTSC 720x486 Stereo
Senior supervisor: 
Colin Browne
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.