Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Story to screen

Film Students in the Wheaton Archives

Documentary film students strike a pose in the Marion B. Gebbie Archives, where they spent time researching objects about which they created short films.

Students learn basics of documentary filmmaking

A student skilled at card tricks. The curious popularity of a new health drink. An elaborate Egyptian opera, never performed, that lives on the shelves of the Wheaton archives. These are just a few of the stories students explored through film last spring in Assistant Professor of Filmmaking Patrick Johnson’s “Documentary Storytelling” course.

“The goal of the class is to give students exposure to the conventions of the short documentary film and provide them with tools and techniques to successfully produce their own,” Johnson said. “In my opinion, there is no better way of learning than being actively engaged in the making process. You try, succeed or fail, learn and repeat.”

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Tribeca Film Festival screens documentary student had hand in editing

Khalid Al-Sudairy ’17

Khalid Al-Sudairy ’17 (plaid shirt) attended the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival in Lower Manhattan in April for the screening of Tickling Giants, a documentary film he worked on during a 2015 summer internship.

On a Tuesday this past spring, after his last class ended at 3:30 p.m., Khalid Al-Sudairy ’17 headed to New York City to see a film.

Tickling Giants logoBut this wasn’t an ordinary night at the movies. Al-Sudairy was off to the Tribeca Film Festival in Lower Manhattan to see the documentary film he’d had a part in editing. The documentary, Tickling Giants, tells the story of heart-surgeon-turned-talk-show-host Bassem Youssef—nicknamed “the Jon Stewart of Egypt”—and the ways he uses humor and satire to speak out against a repressive government.

For Al-Sudairy, the experience of seeing the final film on the big screen—and his own name in the credits—was “out of this world.”

“The feeling I had walking into the theater, watching the movie, and especially after the movie when I saw everyone and reunited with the people I worked with all summer, was beyond anything I had ever felt,” he said. “I always get an amazing thrill out of editing and showing my own films, but the feeling I got after watching the movie was just incredible.”

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Digital humanities leads to Beinecke award

Audrey Dubois ’17When Audrey Dubois ’17 looks at a book, she sees not only the words on the page but also a story hidden between the lines and among the author’s habits.

A double major in English and philosophy, Dubois is exploring the power of digital humanities scholarship—the use of computer-aided analysis of texts—to uncover insights about the authorship of prose and poetry as well as the cultures that gave rise to a particular work of literature.

She has received a significant boost in her ability to continue her explorations by winning a Beinecke Scholarship. She is one of 20 undergraduates nationwide to receive the $34,000 award for graduate studies.

“I wasn’t even sure I was going to go to grad school until this scholarship came through,” Dubois said, explaining the impact that the prize will have on her future.

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First Wheaton freshman wins Projects for Peace grant

Rebecca Rosenzweig '19Rebecca “Becca” Rosenzweig ’19 keeps close to her heart friends on the other side of the world—refugees who escaped Myanmar only to struggle to overcome poverty in Thailand.

Now, thanks to a $10,000 grant from Projects for Peace, she spent the summer coordinating the building and operation of a student-run shop so young refugees can develop business skills to improve their long-term career prospects, and futures.

Rosenzweig, who in spring 2016 became the first freshman at Wheaton to win the Projects for Peace grant, has visited Thailand multiple times over the years, as a family friend lives there. In high school, she volunteered there for a summer, teaching English and befriending refugees known as the Karen people—villagers persecuted by the Myanmar government who fled to Thailand. [Read more...]