Something Other Than Other

07:05 min

Director: Jerry A. Henry and Andrea J. Chia
Producer: Jerry A. Henry and Andrea J. Chia

Winner of the Tolerance Education Award


More About Something Other Than Other from Director Jerry A. Henry

Andrea and I started to film a video diary on the day we found out that she was pregnant. We would sit down in our bedroom or living room and tape our conversations about our plans for the future, baby names, the progress of the pregnancy etc, etc. We did this so that Quin will be able to dig out these tapes later in life and see what we were really like when we were both in our early 30s. Thinking back on it now, I would have loved to have seen what my parents sounded like, looked like and how they interacted with each other when they were the age that I am now.

We decided that we wanted to film Quin’s birth in an unconventional way. Instead of using video, we decided to shoot it on Super 8mm and to shoot it frame-by-frame — like an animation. We then constructed the narrative by recording audio of ourselves having a conversation and adding the imagery. Similar to when two people have a conversation — free flowing and unbound by structure — we wanted the film to have the same feel. So that’s how we chose the style.

We wanted the film to make the audience feel like they were in our home listening to one of our many candid conversations. We recorded audio for a couple of hours and then pieced together segments to tell our story. We wanted the audio to feel seamless but in contrast, we felt that the imagery could feel disjointed. The families in the film are Super 8mm home movies from the 70s and 60s that I acquired over the years. They are included to give examples of the “traditional American family” and for juxtaposition with our families.

The film started out as a literal documentary with images matching the words exactly, but when we saw that that was rather mundane, we scraped that structure and reproduced the film as it exists right now. We shot it on Super 8mm to give it the texture of traditional home movies and like an animation to give the film a rigid feel. We wanted the audience to feel the tension and anxiety that we felt the night our son was born and throughout the first months of his life. This is our first child so the anxiety will probably never leave us.

The film was born from the incident at the hospital when the nurses thought our baby had jaundice and the incident with the social security application. This was the first time we had even considered any of the thoughts or questions we raise in the film. We wanted to make the film mostly for Quin so that when these issues do come up; and they will, it will help us as parents answer any and all of them. We think that if we are honest with ourselves then he will in turn be honest with himself, and then he can truly appreciate how beautiful he is.


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