Celebrating Student Creativity: Design & Documentaries

Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Dr. Jiachun Hong has been creating spaces for students' work to be shared and showcased throughout the semester – his first as a Heidelberg faculty member.

Jiachun recently set up a gallery in the GEM Center to promote the artwork and graphic designs of students. Hanging on the wall of the lobby are now a number of framed, colorful examples of creativity and a passion for the digital. This Friday, in addition to sharing his students’ designs, Jiachun is hosting a documentary showcase to share the projects from his Film Studies class.

“Screenings and exhibitions are an important part of student artistic creations. It is very important for students to be able to see the reactions from the real audience and watch their films through the eyes of the audience,” he shared. “They have spent a lot of effort and emotions on the projects, and it is now the time to showcase their work and feel the value of their works.”

A documentarian by trade, Jiachun is excited to share the experience of a screening with his students. 

“Documentary screening also provides an occasion for gathering. In the documentaries, students have investigated various topics on campus lives, like gender stereotypes, body images, the injuries and pains of student athletes, the first-generation students’ adaptation, the dead malls in the Midwest, etc. They are not speaking for themselves, but for all the students who have experienced the same pains and struggles.”

This is just the beginning for Jiachun’s plans to celebrate his students. As he encourages them to participate in film festivals locally and internationally, he knows he is opening their minds to the possibility of global impact when they produce their next work. He is excited for his students to learn the power of their voices and skills in film. 

“I hope in their future career, they will be able to use the skills learned in Heidelberg to tell stories to audiences from different historical, cultural and language backgrounds.” This experience will not only boost students' confidence, but allow them to be more prepared critics as well as global storytellers.

The screening is Friday, beginning at 6:00 p.m., in Gundlach Theatre. There, students will be able to watch their own films on the big screen, and take in the experience with an audience of family members, friends and members of the Heidelberg community. Compared to reviewing work on computer monitors or the phone screens on which they shot their video, this viewing is going to be big. 

Eleven students are presenting their works. Five were asked to share about what they've created:

Scooter Austin 

Scooter is a junior media and communication major from Columbus. They are excited to share one of their favorite interests with an audience – abandoned malls and retail chains.

"What was once a symbol of American culture is now a vision of disarray and rot: Through the lens of nostalgia and loss, this documentary explores the rise and fall of shopping malls."

Samantha Mann

Sam is a senior business administration major from Easton, Massachusetts, with a management concentration and an art minor. They will be graduating later this month. They’re looking forward to sharing the story of a friend and fellow Heidelberg student, Sean Friedhoff, and informing students about how to properly treat and recognize service animals.

"Sean Friedhoff’s service dog Sonsa helps him while living on campus. Thanks to her training and incredible capabilities, Sonsa knows how to provide the support Sean needs to thrive." 

Lily Roth

Lily is a senior integrated media major from Toledo. Although their vision for their project was beyond what could be accomplished within a semester, they are looking forward to seeing the audience’s reaction to their work. They’re also very excited to analyze their artistic choices and the audience’s satisfaction, to be considered for future projects – needless to say, they're excited for the priceless growth opportunity that presenting in front of a crowd will provide.

"What was first an exploration of my gender identity slowly shifted into an expository glimpse of the societal perception of women at large." 

Parker Smith

Parker is a junior integrated media major, minoring in business administration. He is from Oak Harbor, Ohio, and is excited to share the information he gathered about the coaching profession.

"Becoming a football coach is a journey unlike any other. There is a grind and a passion that it takes for football coaches to get into their profession, and this documentary showcases that work and the respect their position deserves."

Kamryn Stanfield

Kami Stanfield is a sophomore communication major with a Spanish minor from Rushsylvania, Ohio. She is excited to present this project that she’s been working on all semester. She hopes that her documentary will show the reality of cheerleading and the hurtful stereotypes that come with the much-admired sport.

"Under the Rustling explores the challenges of the cheerleading world through the eyes of Angelique LeMaster and Dalton Rahrig, bringing their life experiences and insecurities to the surface."

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