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Department to teach historians about documentary films during summer institute


History_IconThe Department of History at Georgia Southern University invites professionals in history – including historians, professors and curators – to participate in its first Visual History Summer Institute, an intensive 12-day hands-on seminar aimed at teaching basics filmmaking techniques.

“The production of historical documentary films has reach an all-time high because of the proliferation of subscription television stations and streaming Internet sites over the past two decades,” said Michael Van Wagenen, Ph.D., the coordinator of the Institute. “Almost without exception, these programs have been created by filmmakers, not historians. The Visual History Summer Institute will instruct historians how to use the basic tools of media production to create their own programs.”

The Institute, made possible in part by a seed grant from the University’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, will take place on campus May 12-23 and will include hands-on equipment lessons with and discussions on theories and practices in visual communication. Topics to be addressed include idea development, budgeting, proposal writing, storyboarding, screenwriting, postproduction, and distribution in addition to technical training on digital cameras, lighting, sound, and editing. Eric Strange, an award-winning independent documentary producer, will serve as the keynote speaker of a teleconference Friday, May 16.

“There is no expectation that participants will become experts in two weeks,” Van Wagenen said. “Rather, they will acquire enough proficiency to continue developing their films and skills when they return to their home institutions.”

The inaugural Institute, which Van Wagenen said the Department hopes to continue in the future, is open to doctorate-holding historians working in educational institutions, public history professionals with master’s degrees and advanced doctoral students. Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, personal research statement and description of their film proposal to by Feb. 1, 2014.


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