If you’re looking to add to your film viewing at home during the long holiday weekend, consider the documentary “Objects,” by Vincent Liota, which also features appearances by some of the people who contributed their personal object to the CSUSB Anthropology Museum’s “Re|Collect: Memories of Childhood” exhibit that ran from May 2016 to March 2017.
“Objects,” which premiered at the 2021 DOC NYC film festival on Nov. 14 – and available for streaming through Sunday, Nov. 28 – asks the question, “How can you remember stuff without stuff?” On the film’s website: “There are two kinds of people. To some, objects are the root of clutter and materialism. To others, objects are a way to keep a treasured record of their lives. ‘Objects’ follows three unique people who have held onto something that gained incredible meaning for them over the decades.”
At roughly the midpoint of the movie, Liota introduces Arianna Huhn, director of the Cal State San Bernardino Anthropology Museum and associated professor of anthropology. She led the effort to assemble the exhibit “Re|Collect: Memories of Childhood,” which roughly shared the same theme as “Objects” – that things people hold onto and hold dear are often tied to meaningful moments in their lives. “Re|Collect” was a collection of items contributed by members of the community, including university staff and faculty.
Appearing in “Objects” with Huhn are Eugene Wong, CSUSB professor of psychology; and Eri Yasuhara, dean emerita, College of Arts and Letters. Also in the film are Margaret Bynum Hill, a CSUSB alumna, former CSUSB faculty member Amy Gusik, and community members Delia Vasquez, Nadine Chaney and Theresa Polly Shellcroft.
Liota said Huhn heard about his project when the WYNC program “Radiolab” featured an episode about people who saved objects that have no apparent intrinsic value, but are linked to important moments. She contacted Liota and had him come out to film “Re|Collect.”
“I had hoped to include the exhibit, but it didn’t fit into the larger picture of the film,” said Liota, an Emmy-nominated filmmaker who spent more than eight years making the film. “As you can see, we never mention the show, but have Ari (Huhn) and people from her exhibit talk about their things.”
In the film credits, under “The producers wish to thank,” are Cal State San Bernardino, Huhn, Vasquez and Jean Peacock, CSUSB psychology professor emerita.
A trailer of the film can be viewed here.
For information on streaming “Objects,” visit the DOC NYC festival’s website where online streaming tickets can be purchased.