How to Turn Your MA Thesis Into a Documentary: Filmmaking, Personhood, and Algeria’s Silent Memories of Uprootedness
Dorothée-Myriam Kellou is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Arab Studies program who transformed her MA thesis into her newly released film, “In Mansourah You Separated Us,” which depicts the Algerian War of Independence when 2.35 million Algerian civilians were forcibly displaced by the French Army and resettled in camps. Dorothée-Myriam and her father document this silenced memory by returning to Mansourah, their native village, and exploring this history that caused massive upheavals in rural Algeria, a history that young people don’t know.
About the Workshop: When Kellou was in a Georgetown University Master’s course her professor told her, “You should look at the forgotten side of your history,” a statement that still resonates with her to this day. She remembers asking “Which forgotten side?” In 2011, Kellou attended a class at entitled “History of Colonial North Africa” with Professor Osama Abi-Mershed. He encouraged her to explore her Algerian heritage to find exclusive primary sources and write a paper about it for the class. She found out about the silenced history of Algerian forced resettlement during the war of independence. The history paper documenting this chapter of Algerian history then became a thesis and years later a documentary film, featuring her father as the main character. Her film has been produced professionally and received support from international funds in Lebanon, France, Algeria, and Denmark. It is now touring film festivals world wide and receiving awards. Drawing on her own experience of making film drawn from a MA thesis, Kellou will present the main challenges as well as the exciting aspects of this unique process and her conclusion: the greatest injustice is to not have access to your own history.
This event is made possible by a Title VI grant from the US Department of Education for CCAS as a National Resource Center for the Middle East and North Africa. Please direct any questions or requests for accommodation to firstname.lastname@example.org