Rollins Student Filmmakers Participate in Global Peace Festival

September 19, 2008

The 2008 Global Peace Film Festival features three short social documentaries by Rollins students. The student films demonstrate Rollins’ core mission to promote global citizenship and responsible leadership through the academic experience. The documentaries were shown collaboratively this September 20 at 9:30 p.m. in the Bush Auditorium at Rollins.

In addition to the Rollins student films, the showing included the film “Who’s Next,” a documentary featuring American citizens coming of age during the Millennium. 
The Rollins student films “Out of the Muck.” “The Snake & the Rat” and “This is my Rollins College T-Shirt” cover diverse subjects, from pesticide poisoning to sweatshop labor. The film “This is my Rollins College T-Shirt” was produced as a final project for Associate Professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies Lisa Tillmann’s course “Introduction to Media and Cultural Studies.” Rollins’ Critical Media and Cultural Studies (CMC) curriculum examines how forms of media and culture impact a democratic society. Critical Media and Cultural Studies major Adrian Cohn says, “Essentially, I think it’s the greatest major possible and I’m delighted to be in it.”

Cohn, along with CMC students Alik Alfus, Rachel Albergo, Margaret Dewees and Whitney Wallingford, produced the film “This is my Rollins College T-Shirt.” The documentary tracks products sold in Rollins’ campus bookstore and discovers that some of the manufacturers use sweatshop labor. The student collaborative film involved extensive research, interviews, filming and editing. During interviews, Cohn said he found students to be compassionate, yet misinformed about sweatshop labor.

The student film led to an in-depth article regarding sweat shop labor in the national magazineSustainability. In seeking a wider audience for the film, the students submitted it to the Rollins College Campus MovieFest then the Global Peace Film Festival.

Rollins alumni Shaun Cricks and Jamie Snead Cricks produced the award-winning documentaries “Out of the Muck- Geraldine’s Story” and “The Snake and the Rat.” Working with the Rollins’ Office of Community Engagement, the students created both films with a focus on community concerns within the Central Florida area. “The Office of Community Engagement is wonderful,” Shaun Cricks said. “They directed us, both years, to people that needed help and awareness of their situations.”

“The Snake and the Rat” focuses on the devastation left by deadly tornadoes in the Lake Mack area in 2007. Jamie and Shaun worked collaboratively to accomplish the filming, interviewing and editing. Shaun states the community “was a scene of great devastation and pain, but also of inspiring hope, and we did our best to capture that.”

The documentary took top honors at the 2007 Campus Movie Fest, sponsored by Apple Computers. After winning at the festival, Shaun and Jamie recruited Rollins student Logan Kayne and alumnus Cecil Mack for production assistance on their second film.

"Out of the Muck-Geraldine’s Story” examines the plight of the Apopka Muck Farm workers. The state of Florida closed the muck farms in 1998 after determining the pesticides used were killing the bird population. The state spent millions of dollars researching the bird deaths but neglected the ailing farm workers. One of the biggest challenges for the film makers was encompassing a 10-year struggle into a 10-minute documentary.

Both students saw the filmmaking experience as a way to give back to members of the African-American community in Apopka, who were seriously impacted. The filmmakers continue to meet with the farm workers and the community remains inspired by the work of Rollins students. Shaun and Jamie are considering pursuing graduate degrees in documentary filmmaking.

The student filmmakers successfully integrate the Rollins academic experience with community and global outreach. The Global Peace Film Festival provides an excellent opportunity to combine Rollins students and faculty with the local community to further discuss global peace initiatives.

By Heather Georgoudiou (Class of 2009)

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