On Thursday, February 9, National Geographic Producer Jeremy Zipple was on campus for the Millsaps premiere of Quest for the Lost Maya. In addition to serving on a panel after the premiere that night, he also attended two anthropology classes.
First, Mr. Zipple joined Dr. Michael Galaty's "Archaeological Method and Theory" class. In that class, the conversation focused on the difficulties involved in filming archaeological subjects. He talked about what it's like trying to present the past in film without modern biases and about creating things that are exciting and interesting without being misleading. "The students had great questions, and Jeremy was very honest in his answers," said Dr. Galaty about Jeremy's visit.
From there, the conversation shifted from the archaeological to the ethnographic in Dr. Julian Murchison's "Cross-Cultural Human Sexuality" class. Mr. Zipple engaged in a frank conversation about sensationalism in filmmaking, especially as it relates to depictions of the exotic and the erotic. He compared the early history of National Geographic to current projects and discussed the tension between academic interests and the need to produce films with audience appeal.
After the visit, Dr. Murchison commented, "We're so wrapped up in academic ethnographic representations that it's helpful to compare our daily fare with depictions of culture produced for more popular audiences. To have such an unvarnished window into documentary filmmaking was really illuminating."