Irma's Project Proposal

From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki



I want to make a short film, around 20-30 minutes, with interlocking storylines of three main characters and one protagonist of a documentary which one of the main characters is working on. My film will use various visual languages, it would be a mix of a documentary style combined with a "classic Hollywood" cinema look and social media film-look to address the state of a character. (see visual examples at description of characters) One of the themes of the movie will be the rhetorics of storytelling. All the characters in the film struggle with choices within the representation of themselves or the world around them. The manner that a story is told is very relevant to judge the trustworthiness of the information, how the audience judge if the message or person is reliable. The language that society uses to share information has an important position in the rhetorical playfield. With the rise of video, the manipulation skills which were often used in commercials and propaganda are in reach for every common person in the western society. But could you be part of the game if you're not aware of the effect of the language on the audience?


SCRIPT (this will be in development during the making)


There is a strong connection between my thesis and this graduation film. My characters are all based on a theory I'm researching in my thesis. For example, the storyline of the documentary-filmmaker Emma, is based on the journalistic opinions of Noam Chomsky and the personality of Ed is based on Edward Bernays.


Working step by step, navigating between theory and practice. I will develop the scripts and characters more, organize and research within my theme. The starting-point at this moment is filming the most concrete storyline, the characters Margarita and Ed. (see script) In the meantime, I will get in contact and research the character which I want to base the documentary scenes on. I'm aware of the risk of depending on the non-actor living in Portugal, who is the protagonist of the documentary filmmaker, nevertheless, the story is about her struggle to make a trustworthy film. If for some reason the collaboration would fail, it would be a matter of finding a different subject for her documentary, her struggle story will stay the same.

My goal is that all these stories can be read in different layers as I think it is important that the film is still interesting for an audience that is not familiar with the theory I'm researching.


I want to use the medium of film to express my personal point of view on the world, to use the storyline of different characters that represent theories I've been reading.

In my artistic practice, I like to play with the language of communication and how this influence the interpretation of the audience. My work method, in a nutshell, is to analyze a recipe of a familiar visual communication language, then use these rhetorics to plays with the expectation of the public, often I try to create a tipping point in the project to express my comments or to create awareness on the theme I'm working with.

Rhetoric in communication is used on a day to day bases and does affect us if we like it or not. These often well-known tricks are done in commercial marketing, but the seeds seem to have been spread through politics and mass media communication. Could you say that in every form of information, there is a profit to be made? This brings the receiver in a difficult position, they have to judge the intentions of the sender before they can accept the information as the truth.



  • Make (test) shots/casting shots of actors
  • test shots film location and cinematography
  • Work on Ed/Margarita script
  • If the narrative is in a developed state, then I'll start filming already

Before Dec 2017

  • Filming dream scene (transparent body) with Margarita
  • develop the script
  • Organise first location and actress
  • research the real-life character, sovereign citizen, have a pre-interview.

January 2018

  • Filming scenes of Ed

Beginning of February

  • First draft of the movie scenes with Ed & Margarita (have a smaller version ready for our EYE project)

February - March - April

  • Filming documentary scene's of Sakshin (sovereign citizen)
  • Filming youtube-channel footage of Emma (documentary filmmaker)

Before 7th of May 2018

  • Have all Film all footage

Before end of MAY 2018

  • First draft Film

JUNE 2018

  • test screening on peers
  • color and sound effects

Who can help you and how?

  • Next to peers, tutors I'm also trying to get some knowledge on creative writing during an extra course at crea/Uva
  • The actors:
    • Margarita, found actress, will start with first recordings in December
    • Ed, need to get in contact with the actor when the script and timetable are clear.
    • Emma, haven't found the actress yet, but she is the last one on the list to film.
    • Sakshin, need to get in contact him when the script and timetable are clear.
    • Extra's for the company scenes at Ed's office, I will ask friends and peers.
  • Some locations
  • Maybe extra technical help on some shooting days, for this I have enough filmers in my network.

Relation to a larger context

In combination with my thesis, I would like to research the cause and effect of storytelling, the rhetoric's behind the manipulation of believability of the truth. Next to the theories of Noam Chomsky and Edward Bernays, I'm analyzing creative storytellers who play with rhetorics in their work. There are different colleagues playing with the subject of manipulation.

I'm looking at :

  • Charlie Kaufman
  • The YES MEN
  • Floris Kaayk

Relation to previous practice

I'm trying to stay in my previous themes of interest. Which I consider is manipulation of truth, the longing for advice from a bigger individual or spirit and creating a language that is suitable for the target audience.

I see a lot of overlap in my previous research in the theories of Rhetorical manipulation, propaganda, ideology, the big other, trepanation (making a hole in the skull of a living person to create a higher consciousness) which seems in the line of the Tachyon Energy Theory, longing for a bigger power to advice you. This was also a theme within the projects of last year called Fortunewood. Hereby a company has the role of the bigger other and offers advice to individuals. I can also imagine there is a connection with the philosophy of Noam Chomsky and a person choosing to be a sovereign citizen. Both theories lean against conspiracy theories, I find it fascinating to analyze where a story crosses the line of conspiracy and the role of the rhetorical language to transfer information.


Research on Emma (documentary maker)


  • Chomsky, N and Herman, E. (1988) Manufacturing Consent. The Political Economy of the Mass Media
  • Herman, S (2000) The Propaganda Model: a retrospective
  • Chomsky, N (2015) Het einde van de Americaanse droom, Amsterdam, ....
  • Dáncona, M (2017) Post-truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back, United Kingdom, Ebury Press

Documentary film:

  • Wintonick, P and Achbar, M (1994) Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky And The Media
  • Chomsky, N (2015) Requiem for the American Dream

Research on Ed (App developer)


  • Bernays, E (1928) Propaganda, New York, Horace liveright
  • Tye, L (2002) The Father of Spin, Canada, Mckinsey & Company Inc

Documentary film:

  • Curtis, A (2002 ) The Century of the Self, United Kingdom, BBC Four

Research on Saksin (Sovereign citizen)

  • "The Big Other doesn't exist" - Slavoj Zizek
  • Mockumentaries such as Incident at Loch Ness by Werner Herzog

Research on Margarita (Social media influential)

  • Rachel Dolezal - a white woman pretending to be black.
  • Zjesus Zila - art project of a student from the HKU who pretended online to be on Holiday while she was staying in holland.

Research on Storytelling

  • Wired for Storytelling - Lisa Cron
  • Plotting and Writing suspense fiction - Patrica Highsmith
  • Me and You and Memento and Fargo - J. J. Murphy
  • Anatomy of a Premise Line - Jeff Lyons