Change My Food ‒ Change My Life: An Autobiographical Documentary About Food and Acculturation in New Zealand

Ou, Zihao
Nicholson, James
Zalipour, Arezou
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

Ethnic food and documentary in the New Zealand context have been an area that lacks attention by the public, and there are not many representation films of it. By producing an autobiographical documentary, Change My Food - Change My Life, this research project engages with the concept of ethnic food experience and documentary practices based in New Zealand.

This research project contains a production of an autobiographical documentary and an exegesis to document the studies and findings of the project. Change My Food - Change My Life explores my experience of changing my diet and stepping out of my comfort zone and how this change affected what I explored as my acculturation process as an international student in New Zealand. Besides, the fundamental concept of the exegesis is to provide a conceptual foundation to support my production of an autobiographical documentary.

In this practice-led research project, I combine an autobiographical approach focused on my personal experience with an interview-based approach that explores the perspective of other international students and a food culture expert. Furthermore, to produce a compelling autobiographical documentary, I developed filmmaking techniques and strategies, including re-enactment, time distorting and montage, based on the framework of action research methodology.

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