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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — The film, "Coming Home: The CARE Program," a 16-minute documentary produced by five Bucknell students, was honored with an award presented in October by Federal Chief Judge Yvette Kane in Harrisburg.
CARE — Court Appointed Re-Entry program — was created in 2009 by Kane to reduce criminal recidivism through court oversight. Judges, probation officers and community volunteers work with individuals on probation to help them adjust to life outside prison. Participants who successfully complete the program have their probation time reduced.
The students — Caitlin Falco '13, Erich Gilbride '14, Tim Kim '16, Zander Massey '14 and Bucknell graduate student Brianna Derr, an Instructional Technologist Video Production Specialist — were members of Professor Eric Faden's Film/Media Production Clinic last year.
To produce the video, the film-makers conducted more than a dozen interviews with current and former participants; federal judges, probation officers and prison wardens; and community volunteers, condensing the resulting 26 hours of video into a documentary. The project took the class inside the walls of the Federal Correctional Institute — Schuylkill in Minersville, Pa., and to federal courthouses in Harrisburg, Scranton and Williamsport.
"I'm proud of the class because most viewers assume it was made by a professional film crew," said Faden. "Student films are often stigmatized as amateurish. We want to show that students can produce broadcast-quality work given a good mission and the support to produce it."
Two film production courses
As part of the Film/Media Concentration, Bucknell offers two production focused courses — an intro to film/media production and the film/media production clinic — both in response to student demand for requests for more production-focused courses.
"We live in a media-saturated society," says Faden. "Students know how to make films with their iPhones but not how to make a good film. They want to participate in making something of a professional level. We're a big believer that students should have those sorts of skills in the world. Businesses have this expectation that students have these high media skills."
Faden offers the example of a student in his Intro to Film Media Studies years ago who took a job at a pharmaceutical firm after graduation. "She sent an email saying the first thing she was asked to do was a two-minute video of her undergrad research and she was the only one who knew how to do anything. She said, 'I now realize every business is in the film business,' he said.
With funding from the President's office as part of the Presidential Arts Initiative, Faden developed the Film/Media Production Clinic. Located in a state-of-the-art studio on campus, the clinic offers non-profit organizations the opportunity to have a video made to showcase their mission.
Faden says he decided to solicit applications from the non-profit sector which seemed to need video the most and have the least ability to produce it. Organizations can apply to the clinic in January and students review applications the first week of classes and make sure the project is feasible, then enter into a client/customer relationship to produce a broadcast quality video by the end of the semester.
Applications for the spring semester project are due Jan. 17. "We choose one client whose project fully exploits the medium of video and film," says Faden. "Video might not be the best solution; video only works effectively for some things. Sometimes a webpage or brochure or graphic will do the job better." [click here to download a printable application form]
This is the third year for the course. Previous projects included a video about Dreamcatcher Farm, a local CSA; two spots for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco; and some PSAs for the Independent Film and Television Alliance in Los Angeles.