This spring students in my Documenting Southern Foodways course spent the semester completing short films. This week we are sharing those films along with the directors’ thoughts on developing as filmmakers and storytellers. Next up is Victoria De Leone‘s film, Part Of It.
Joseph Hosey has spent almost all of his life in and around the woods. The Jones County native spent his early childhood picking dewberries and plums with his brothers, and climbing any tree he could wrap his arms around. That adventurous spirit and keen interest in the workings of nature has been translated into a succession of passion projects, from herpatology to bass fishing to forestry and, finally, to foraging. Joseph now spends most of his spare time identifying, learning about and harvesting native species that grow in South Mississippi. He calls this food source “beyond organic”, and has become a spokesperson both for Jones County’s complicated history and it’s bounty of native edibles.
I found Joseph through his role as a spokesperson. I thought I would be making a film about foraging — the plants and animals that make up a foraged diet. Upon meeting Joseph, however, my conception of the project shifted. Through numerous trips down to Jones County to get to know Joseph, and foraging trips in his native woods, I found myself making a film about the sense of place one can only find in one’s home place, and what it means to see the land as a character, not just an object.
Part Of It is the first film that I’ve produced and edited on my own. Working on this project, and Ava Lowrey’s class as a whole, allowed me to become comfortable with juggling all the equipment that is required to make a film. Through trial and error I also learned to think like a documentarian, allowing my filming to be flexible and impulsive in what I’m shooting and letting what I capture tell the story, instead of walking in with a story in mind.
– Victoria De Leone