University's special program for documentary production, called
ElonDocs, is now under way, with its headquarters in the School
the epicenter for faculty-sponsored student documentary work of
all types at Elon. The program encourages and oversees student-produced
documentary productions, offers screenings of well-known documentaries
and serves as a link between professionals and students.
Brooke Barnett and Ray Johnson said the idea behind the concept
is to produce high-quality documentaries for screening and distribution
outside of Elon. Final products are produced under the ElonDocs
name in partnership with other programs at the university when appropriate.
In keeping with Elon's emphasis on engaged learning, all work includes
really just putting the documentary work already going on in the
Elon University under one umbrella name," Barnett explained. "The
thing I most like about the concept is that students, staff and
faculty will be working together on projects. Enormous energy comes
from that collaboration and it had already been a time of learning
for everyone involved in the first projects."
projects come from faculty-and-student collaborations that begin
with faculty mentorship. Guided by professors, students doing ElonDocs
work gain hands-on experience in the art of creating documentaries.
They plan, write, produce and direct documentaries on important
social issues. Some of the projects originate in the School of Communications
through independent projects that are linked to ElonDocs. Other
projects will be faculty-led initiatives that include student participation.
in partnership with other university programs to help faculty and
students from outside the School of Communications realize the documentary
portion of their work. Project Pericles and the Program for Ethnographic
Research and Community Studies are two such partners.
in residence will also work on projects - 2005 graduate Anna Brodrecht
was hired to fill this role in the program's inaugural year. Current
Elon students are expected to be employed in production, publicity
and graphics coordinator positions.
"As part of
the Elon Program for Documentary Production, students learn the
methods of documentary through their own productions and through
collaboration on the projects of other students and faculty," Johnson
explained. "ElonDocs will work with students on every stage of the
project from story conception to promotional materials."
in their initial stages include a film on the gifted and talented
in Kentucky; a production on the Lost Boys of Sudan; a profile of
Pulitzer winner Horace Carter; a profile on Chris Hendricks, a man
who hopes to be the first cerebral palsy sufferer to complete Navy
SEAL training ; a history of Elon University; a work titled "Beneath
the Falls"; and an illumination of malnutrition in Honduras.
in advanced stages include "Kinderville"; an update on Elon's civil
rights series, with new interviews and focus; the Black Mountain
College project; and a film on David Rhodes.
production "Dying to Get In: Undocumented Immigration at the
U.S./Mexico Border" was the first Elon student-led documentary
to be produced under the ElonDocs banner. The film, by former student
Brett Tolley, was the winner of the Best Student Film Award at the
Plymouth Independent Film Festival July 21-24. It follows the stories
of Ramon, a 50-year-old father of two who is trying to find a way
to make the money he needs to put his son through school; Francesca,
a 32-year-old mother, who explains how her faith in God will guide
her husband and 5-year-old child across the desert; and a father
who, guiding five children all under age 13, explains how choosing
the right coyote can be the difference between life and death.