During the spring semester of 2018, Meredith College launched a film lab pilot project. Instructional Design Specialist Paul Keys has created a curriculum that teaches students the fundamental technical skills of filmmaking while allowing them the freedom to base their films around their main course; the film lab is much like a biology lab in that it gives students an hour and a half a week to focus on their project in exchange for one credit hour.
Currently, two courses are involved with the lab, Sociology of Families and Shakespeare, where the students have been encouraged to create a short documentary that ties into their class lessons.
Professor of English Garry Walton and Associate Professor of Sociology Amie Hess have given their students the opportunity to partake in this film lab by incorporating it with their classes. Each professor provided students with appropriate guidelines for the subject of their films.
Hess said, “In the future, I hope that sociology students will take some classes in tandem with the film lab. It will become mandatory and the final project of these classes will be a documentary film.”
Walton emphasized to his students the skills they could develop during this lab and the wide range of topics they could explore. “It’s a valuable skill in today’s workplace and is something you can use in a wide variety of careers,” he said.
The sociology department hosted a small film festival on April 17 as part of their annual Sociology Week, featuring the student films. The course’s prompt, “Families,” has allowed for a wide variety of films and social critiques for students to explore.
“This lab allows us to open up filmmaking as a skill to various departments without struggling with conflicting projects,” said Hess. “We hope that more professors and classes will show interest in this opportunity and suggest this lab to their students. Students are learning how to work together on these huge projects and it’s a wonderful skill to develop and can be very valuable going into the job market. Our goal is to maximize our students’ education and the film lab allows us to do that.”