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A documentary film produced by a team of Bucknell students is now getting the documentary treatment itself.
PBS affiliate WVIA-TV will feature a 16-minute documentary created by Professor Eric Faden's film/media production clinic on its State of Pennsylvania program, which will air Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m. Encore presentations will air Friday, April 18 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, April 20 at 1 p.m.; Thursday, May 15 at 7 p.m.; and Friday, May 16 at 7 p.m.
Titled "Coming Home: The CARE Program," the documentary examines a fledgling re-entry program for federal inmates sentenced through the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The Court-Assisted Re-Entry (CARE) Program aims to reduce criminal recidivism by inviting judges, probation officers and community volunteers to work side-by-side with individuals on probation in adjusting to life outside prison. Participants successfully completing the program can have their time on probation reduced.
In the spring of 2013, a class of five Bucknell students and Faden conducted more than a dozen interviews with current and former CARE Program participants; federal judges, probation officers and prison wardens; and community volunteers, condensing the resulting 26 hours of video into the documentary short. 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.
"The participants were some of the most empowering interviews that we did," said Caitlin Falco '13. "They were willing to go back to the day that they were arrested and to share those feelings and experiences with us, which is what was going to make the film effective and powerful, and you really saw how the CARE Program changed their lives."
In October 2013 the program's founder, Federal District Chief Judge Yvette Kane, honored Faden and his students with an award for their work.
"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."
WVIA's hour-long program will include a panel discussion with Faden; video production specialist Brianna Derr, who worked on the film as a graduate student; and Eric Noll, Deputy Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The station will also air the students' documentary in full at the start of the show.
For a preview of the special, watch below:
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