Creative Projects: Film

The Hope of the Quechua

Chronicling the impact of holistic community development initiatives among the indigenous residents of the village of Illagua Chico, this 25-minute film follows Esteban and Maria Petrona as they and their neighbors address challenges in agriculture, women's rights, social justice, business, and spiritual formation.

A Legacy of Song

One of a suite of short films for social media sites to promote the cost-effective benefits of music therapy among elder populations, specifically those in eldercare facilities struggling with dementia.  In this film, board-certified Music Therapist Lindsey Perrault prepares songwriter Tom Driscoll to record a musical legacy project.

Camera Obscura

For 30 years, Jim Southerland has combined the centuries-old camera obscura (an optical device/photography predecessor used by painters like DaVinci and Vermeer to improve perspective) with printmaking technology to produce landscapes and portraits. The artist's personally-engineered apparatus grew from a desire to take fine arts to the children of depressed areas in the Appalachians.

A Shared Space

A small school in Hoboken, NJ is attracting attention for its progressive integration of fine arts, worship, and community service. The success of its intentional mission to the urban poor defies the economic model that typifies many private schools But in an environment of insufficient funds, politicized performance standards, and escalating drop-out rates, can any school make a difference? Can a curriculum infused with faith and art honestly and positively impact the lives of a diverse student body?

Falloff

The experimental dance piece employs images of antique neon to explore light’s interaction with irregular surfaces.
Diplôme du Court-Métrage, 17th International Festival, Belgium.
Finalist, East/West Confrontation Festival, Hungary.
Jurors’ Choice Award. Carolina Film and Video Festival.
Emmy Award. Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Region 5.
C.I.N.E. Eagle Award. Council on International Nontheatrical Events.

A Philosophy of Personal Scholarship

Filmmaking

The chief evidence of filmmaking scholarship is a roster of collaboration.  Selection criteria for film projects may differ from commercial to scholarly arenas, but should not diverge so widely that the teaching filmmaker’s work offers students and graduates no accessible model for their own careers.   Avoiding a false choice between meaningful aesthetic and pragmatic purpose, the following questions will govern my choice of scholarship projects:

• Will aspects of its viewing or production contribute to cultural renewal, improving the life of its audience, its subject, or its makers?
• Understanding that filmmaking is historically and inherently a cooperative undertaking, may I make an identifiably personal imprint on its content or forms?
• Does its content or form offer an opportunity for new expression? 
• Does the film’s production offer opportunity for student collaboration?  Does my participation improve me as a teacher?
• To what extent is peer review possible in pre-production, production, and distribution?
• To what degree might it improve the institution’s reputation for scholarship?   for teaching?  for community involvement/service?
• Do I have a sincere enthusiasm for the project?

Androgogy of Worldview

The Academy’s courses in media theory and history evince an obvious critical bias.  Their assumption – largely an application of Bazin’s auteur theory – is that, through manipulation of its formal elements, media conveys the beliefs of its makers.   A resulting pedagogy in suspicious media consumption allows professors ample and obvious opportunity to shape their students’ worldview.         

But a similarly reflective approach to media production is less common.  Instead, lighting, camera operation, and editing are too often presented as values-neutral skills to be mastered, redeemed chiefly by the content on which they are brought to bear.

Believing shooting ratio, camera angle, and editing pace to be opportunities for character formation, I pursue inquiry and present reflection which offers a distinctive androgogy that may be applied to the process (and not merely the products) of media creation.