The Documentary Film : "What's Your Name" (or “How Do They Call You?")
Length: 74 minutes.
Produced during the phase 1997-2000.
This documentary movie is intended to be used as educational material for teacher training. It deals with the issue of multiple identities in Thrace. The title of the movie, “What’s Your Name?”, indicates the two levels on which the topic of identity is examined in the movie: (a) What is the name that you use for yourself? And (b) how do others call you? The movie examines the construction of identities through the ways we express ourselves, the different versions of “us” versus “them”, and how these versions are negotiated when “we” communicate with “them”.
The objective of the film is to induce dialogue on the way people live their identities in a region like Thrace, and to show, through images and words, the differences and similarities, the variety, the conflicts, the desire for negotiation, the difficulties in communication, the multiple cultural traditions but also the common land which connects the different residents of the same region.
Many residents of the region appear in the movie: Thirteen of them are from the Minority, ten from the Majority, and four of them immigrants of Pontian-Greek origin from the former Soviet Union. Through montage and editing these people appear as if they were engaged in a dialogue – a dialogue that is almost impossible to take place in the real world. The other aspect of the movie is the landscape of Thrace, the land common to all the people who talk in the movie. And the final aspect is our [the filmmakers’] perception of these relations, as it manifests itself through the questions we pose and the way we structure the movie.
Pedagogically speaking, the movie functions as a framework which, through the psychological projections and identifications that it causes on the viewers, facilitates and encourages a frank discussion about issues of identity and otherness. The recognition of oneself and the other, the establishment of a communication, the acknowledgement of the borders, of the other’s memory, the empathizing with the other’s pain, are solid bases upon which one can subsequently develop pedagogical skills. The film also works as a reminder to every teacher of the general rule that effective teaching is impossible unless one understands the framework in which one has come to teach. This rule is especially relevant in the case of Minority education, where the quiet, latent conflicts characterize the daily educational practice.
The film was used in the training of Minority school teachers during the period 1997-2000. Since 2000, the film has been included in the curriculum of the Greek Open University’s postgraduate program titled Education: Cultural Differences and Social Inequalities.