Senior documentary screenings to be held Dec. 15

Haleigh Wallace, mass communication senior, works in the broadcast department editting bay on her and her groups senior production final video project that is due Monday, Dec. 10, 2017. Wallace’s group’s 15 minute documentary is titled ‘Mom: Mother of Many’ and her group members include Hanna Heuring, Kara McPherson and Noah Fazekas. Photo by Rachel Johnson

To showcase the documentaries students made in the senior production course this fall, the mass communication department will be hosting a screening of the projects on Friday, Dec. 15 in the Fain Fine Arts Theatre at 3 p.m.

Students must take senior production to graduate with a major in mass communication. Jonathon Quam, assistant professor of mass communication, said the point of the project to utilize all the skills learned in mass communication to create the documentaries.

“Senior production is a documentary production class. As the capstone course for the program, we’re combining every element of what you learned in the mass communication program: shooting video, editing video to your basic writing and structure skills. So much of what we do in this program is storytelling and we constantly look at it in so many different ways,” Quam said.

Quam also said he enjoys this course because of his extensive background in documentary production.

“I specifically came to this course to teach this course as well as the other production courses. My background is in documentary production. My entire graduate degree and research is based off documentary production. I love teaching this course,” Quam said.

There are eight students enrolled in senior production, so Quam divided the class into two groups of four, each group tasked with making a 15-minute documentary. One group is showing its documentary, “Cenosillicaphobia,” and the other is showing its documentary titled “Mom: Mother of Many.”

“Our documentary [‘Cenosillicaphobia’] highlights downtown, the revitalization of it and local businesses and if its hard or easy and what goes through it when opening one,” Kristen Gregg, one of the producers of the film and mass communication senior, said.

The project was originally set to focus on an individual business, Sidecar Brewery; however, after the business closed down, the group had to change their direction.

“When we were originally talking about this idea, we had focused on local business, and then we became fixated on Sidecar. It was a brand-new business in Wichita Falls, and there wasn’t a brewery yet, so we decided to make that our main focus. We got to know the people at Sidecar so we just wanted to focus on Sidecar and throw out the theme of local business,” Olivia Zamora, another producer of the project and mass communication senior, said. “Then they closed, so we were back to square one. We came back around to the idea of local business.”

Since they had no choice, the group decided to shift its focus to local business and how a local business would be started downtown. The group interviewed various businesses around Wichita Falls to get a sense of what it is like.

Gregg discussed the process that went into making the documentary a reality.

“You have to have the guts to ask people to interview them, go do it, go ask the questions, get into their personal lives, keep a somewhat relationship with them outside of that and then putting it all together is a whole other story,” Gregg said.

The other group’s project, “Mom: Mother of Many,” tells the story of Johnnie Dinnin, a local, 86-year-old woman who has a history of fostering children and others in her home since the 1960s.

Haleigh Wallace, one of the producers of the film and mass communication senior, said, “She [Dinnin] never had any help. She did it all by herself and she started doing this after both of her parents and her husband died. It was just her and her daughter Paula. Paula’s friends started coming over trying to cheer her up and one thing led to another, then all these kids started showing up and none of them ever really left.”

According to Wallace, Dinnin has fostered around 50 children and has even outlived 22 of them.

Gregg said her group has spent long hours making the projects over the course of the semester and showing her and her group’s project is stressful.

“I’ll probably want to throw up by the time that actually gets here. You feel vulnerable. You’ve been working on something for a whole semester and here there are these people that just randomly figured out about your screenings and they’re going to watch it. It’s intimidating,” Gregg said.

Though Wallace also said her and her group’s project has taken a long time to produce, she is content with her work and thinks the story is inspirational.

Wallace said, “We’re pretty proud of it. It is such a good story. She has lived such an incredible life. She is definitely an inspiration to everybody. We have done a good job.”

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