Collaborative Filmmaking

A Collaborative Filmmaking project for pitt public health students from the creators

At Pitt Public Health, we understand that expressing oneself is different for everyone and we want to give students the opportunity to do so in many different ways. This summer, we are introducing a new relationship with Collaborative Filmmaking!

What is collaborative Filmmaking? 

Collaborative Filmmaking is an embodied, participatory, and visual research method in which participants are trained to create, analyze, and screen films to answer a research question. The method is useful for exploring sensitive health topics and providing nuanced insight into practices, relationships, and spaces that are difficult to capture using existing methods. Additionally, the participant-produced films center community voices and can serve as powerful, authentic advocacy tools. Fun fact? The research method was developed at Pitt Public Health by Drs. Sara Baumann and Jessie Burke!

Why is it important for new students? 

We want to give you every opportunity to express yourself, and as new students you are going through a lot. Some of you are beginning graduate school for the first time in your lives, some of you are moving to a new state or even country, and all of this experience brings new feelings. For some of us, embracing art and creativity through filmmaking is a great way to showcase your thoughts in a way that is therapeutic for the creator and inspiring for viewers.

What are we asking of you? 

We are looking for a few students to create short film projects over the next month to help illustrate the experience of preparing for grad school. These pieces do not have to be completely refined and can be as creative as you want them to be! We plan to share your masterpieces during new student orientation to kick start a longer collaborative filmmaking project, in which students will be invited to document their experiences throughout their first semester at Pitt Public Health.

I am not familiar with creating videos, is there help available? 

Absolutely! Here are some tips to get you started, but if you would like to connect with a member of our team to brainstorm or need technical support, please reach out to Mike Dolinger.

  • Have you used Instagram stories or Tiktok? If yes, you already have experience creating original, creative content to tell your story! Feel free to use the videos you create on these platforms as the foundation for your film. 
  • Do you have a smartphone or tablet? If yes, spend a few minutes showing us a day in your life as you prep for grad school. 
  • Are you more of a photography type? Use your phone or camera to capture still photographs that reflect your feelings, whether it be excitement, anticipation, or even nervousness, and drop them in a timeline with music on iMovie or another video editing platform.

What are the rules and technical specifications? 

  • Create films of any form (e.g., drama, video diary, animation, montage, comedy).
  • Films should be under 5 minutes in length.
  • Make sure everyone you show in the film has given permission.
  • Films in their final form should be submitted to (Mike or Sara) by August 15.

Ok, you got me interested! How do I sign up? 

Registration will be available here soon. More details will be announced during a special session with Sara Baumann during Orientation. 

Meet our Faculty: A Conversation with Sara Baumann

Sara Baumann is a graduate of BCHS from 2019 and the newest member of the BCHS faculty. Her research focuses on harnessing visual, arts-based, and mixed methods for global health research. She shares a bit about what she's working on, her favorite BCHS memory, and the restaurant she has on speed dial.   

Baumann and Burke launch project using film in community health

A team at Pitt Public Health that is pioneering the use of film in community health research and practice recently received funding to launch a new project with deep emotional implications. Drs. Jessica and Sara Baumann will be working with the Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition and clinicians from Pitt's School of Medicine on teh "End-of-Life and Grief Experiences Among Families: Harnessing the Power of Participatory and Visual Research" proje... 

Baumann blogs about Health Policy and Planning article, asking Is criminalization the answer for ending a harmful practice in Nepal?

HPP DEBATED - BCHS' Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) talks about a recent article in the journal Health Policy and Planning, Is criminalization the answer? Perspectives of community members and police on menstrual seclusion policy in Far-West Nepal. The study was completed by an interdisiplinary Pitt team including Baumann, BCHS's Jessie Burke, and BCHS students Monica Merante, Chris Wiltrout, and Trevor Cutlip.   

Baumann's Research Project Explores Mental Health of Teenagers

KDKA - The mental health of kids and teenagers has been a big concern, especially during the pandemic. Work from BCHS' Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) led eight local teenagers to create short films focusing on the stressors and supports for their mental health. The research project used Collaborative Filmmaking, giving teenagers equipment to create, film, and edit on their own.   

Burke and Baumann take filmmaking to the health sciences

Jessica Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) have created a new form of public health research called Collaborative Filmmaking. The six-step process engages its participants to create a detailed, multimedia form of study rarely seen in the field. Baumann said she knew Pitt was the right fit for her studies when she came across the work of  Jessica Burke , professor and associate chair in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Scienc... 

Burke and Baumann start University-wide Creating Community art project

BCHS's Jessie Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) created this virtual community art project as an opportunity for our Pitt students, faculty, and staff members to nurture a sense of community by creating, connecting, and sharing experiences navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that is significantly affecting our lives. While the past several weeks have been incredibly challenging, through flexibility, ... 

Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health

WESA-FM -- A documentary about a local transgender musician’s reproductive health offers a new way to think about public health research: through the visual medium of film. Produced by Pitt Public Health postdoctoral associate Sara Baumann  (BCHS '19), the film focuses on Jude Benedict, who identifies as trans-masculine genderqueer (someone whose gender was assigned female at birth, and often expresses themselves in a masculine way, but does not... 

Baumann Investigates Illegal Practice Against Women in Nepal

INSIDE UPMC - Sarah Baumann (BCHS '19) spent the past nine months in Nepal, in part conducting qualitative research and data collection on  chhaupadi , an illegal cultural tradition that isolates menstruating women – who are considered “unclean” – to huts, basements or livestock sheds. Baumann has long researched the practice, most recently with a study published in the journal Global Public Health that assessed the role of caste (a cultural and... 


Contact Mike Dolinger
Director of Student Services

Minimize New Student Summer Events

Out On Oakland
Every Wednesday @ 11:00 a.m. 
starting July 28 

Come check out campus and meet incoming and current students! Join Director of Student Services, Mike Dolinger, to get together with faculty, staff and students and explore the Oakland area. See different neighborhoods and eat lunch at one of the local restaurants. Lunch on your own. Meet outside Pitt Public Health facing Fifth Avenue on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. to join, starting July 28.

Don't forget to complete your 
New Student Survey!