Ball State student documentary wins award, screens at Indianapolis film festival

Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, College of Sciences and Humanities, Immersive Learning

October 1, 2012

A Ball State University student-produced documentary, "Stories and Legends: Historic Preservation in Muncie, Indiana," has been selected for the prestigious Heartland Film Festival in late October.

The documentary will screen four times in Indianapolis during the 10-day celebration of independent films.

"Stories and Legends," which won an Aurora Award for Platinum Best of Show in May, explores historic preservation while tracing the efforts to restore structures in several of Muncie's nationally recognized historic districts, including the hospital where bank robber John Dillinger stayed (Whitney Hospital), former headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan (Over House), an old railway stop (C.R.M. Depot) and the resting place of the city's rich and famous (Beech Grove Cemetery).

Senior telecommunications and French major Christen Whitney, who co-directed and produced the film, believes the documentary will shed light on Muncie's past. 

"I had so much fun learning about the city's mysteries, myths and history," she said. "The project enhanced my college experience and education because we were given the freedom to use our own creative processes and ideas."

The documentary was created as part of Ball State's Historic Muncie project, an immersive learning program funded by a Provost Immersive Learning Grant. The Historic Muncie project began in fall 2011 and involved 42 students from six majors collaborating to produce photos, video, website content and documentaries that chronicle the history of Muncie through an interactive online museum. The Historic Muncie website serves as a research and educational resource on the historical districts and architectural past of the community.

"The project and documentary provide an excellent framework for students to work collaboratively across disciplines as well as with the community," said Chris Flook, project director and telecommunications instructor. "The project had a tremendous amount of support from many community organizations and residents."

During the current semester, about 30 Ball State students continue the project and are working with preservationists from Muncie at the MidWest Restoration Festival to produce four short-form documentaries about Muncie's historic districts. The Historic Muncie program recently received the Governor's Award for Preservation of Historic Places by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

To learn more about the Historic Muncie project or to watch the documentary, visit www.historicmuncie.org. To find screening dates for "Stories and Legends" at the Heartland Film Festival, visit www.trulymovingpictures.org.

By Kait Buck

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