A Saying

2018, super 16mm, 8min
A group of strangers attempts the interpersonal ritual of a saying; a phrase deeply located in the languages, homes, and mythologies of the speaker. A listener acknowledges and translates the intention of this saying into a saying in one of their own languages. The new saying is passed to the ear of their neighbor and so it goes––a complicated game of telephone, a (mis)understood tower of Babel, a map of linguistic migration and colonization––until it reaches the beginning. The film depicts three versions of the invented ritual simultaneously in split screen Super-16mm, inviting the viewer to participate by listening to what they may not understand.


Made possible by: The Meerkat Media Collective


Select screenings: Alchemy Film Festival, Revolutions Per Minute Film Festival, The Tang Teaching Museum, and The Filmmakers Coop


  • Directed by Sarah Ema Friedland, Sean Hanely, and Corrine Spencer
  • Cinematographer- Sean Hanely
  • Editor- Sarah Ema Friedland