WOUB’s “Our Ohio” high school documentary film project begins its second year

Posted on:

< < Back to

Five local high schools are participating for 2021-22

Ohio Arts Council LogoATHENS, OH –WOUB Public Media is working with five area high schools in the region this school year as part of the second year of the Our Ohio documentary film project. The project challenges the students to learn about and explore independent documentary film, Appalachian cultural identity, media literacy and multimedia storytelling. WOUB received funding to Corporation for Public Broadcasting Logosupport the 2021-22 project from the Ohio Arts Council, the Scripps College of Communication through the AT&T Aspire grant and the Our America: Documentary in Dialogue grant from American Documentary | POV, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Through the course of this school year, students in the participating schools will learn about documentary filmmaking through watching POV documentary films and talking with their creators. The first film is called Portraits and Dreams and will be screened virtually at the participating high schools for students and their teachers this fall. Portraits and Dreams revisits photographs created by Kentucky schoolchildren in the 1970s and the place where the photos were made. The film is about the students, their work as visionary photographers and the lives they have led since then, as well as the linkage of personal memory to the passage of time.

Portraits and Dreams allows local students and teachers to see a documentary which tells the story of Appalachian culture in an authentic way that will inspire them to tell their own story in that same fashion,” said WOUB Producer/Director Evan Shaw.

“At its core, the Portraits and Dreams film is about Appalachia culture and the people who are a part of it,” said WOUB Community Engagement Manager Cheri Russo. “We loved how the documentary showed the children telling the story of their roots and culture through photography, and we thought it would be a great documentary to show to local high school students to inspire them to think about how their culture and community shaped them and give them the ability to tell their own Appalachian stories.”

Students from Ohio University’s Appalachian Studies program are also working with WOUB on the project this year. Assistant Professor of Sociology Rachel Terman guided her students through the development of a survey that the high school students are taking at the beginning and end of the project that will measure the impact of the project on the students in regard to their cultural identity.

WOUB’s Learning Lab is working with the high school teachers to identify resources and activities that align with educational standards and support the project. The Learning Lab also has camera equipment available for participating teachers to check out, so students can use it in creating their films.

“Media is such a part of all of our lives these days. We encounter video storytelling everywhere,” said WOUB Learning Lab Educational Services Manager Deborah Brewer. “Helping teachers learn about not only how to use the tools to create video, but the elements that are needed for strong storytelling will help them to educate their students on how to create the stories they want to tell and the power well-constructed multimedia stories can have.”

WOUB is working with students at Logan High School, South Gallia High School, Alexander High School, Wellston High School and Meigs High School. After the students screen the documentary, they will participate in a virtual panel discussion with the film’s producers and local community leaders to talk about the documentary and discuss what kinds of stories they might tell in their films. Once the students have some thoughts together about how they would create their own film, Shaw will conduct virtual storytelling workshops with the students to get them started.

WOUB is also working with the University of Cincinnati and public television station WCET to add a cross cultural exchange component to this year’s project. Students in urban Cincinnati are working on a similar project, and the two groups of students will learn about each other and the films they are creating.



POV logoIn times of political division, we believe in the power of independent documentaries and their ability to help bridge divides. In light of the aftermath of the 2016 election, and current cultural wars, we seek to partner with PBS stations to use POV films as a platform for dialogue, and utilize the resources we create to help start conversations, give voice to the disenfranchised and mobilize individuals, communities, organizations, and for policy makers to take action based on informed decisions. We also desire to empower stations with creative approaches to audience building and attract a cross section of citizens. We propose to activate our extensive network of community partners for a high-impact screening series called OUR AMERICA: DOCUMENTARY IN DIALOGUE, designed to inspire dialogue and understanding around divisive issues in nonpartisan spaces in the regions of the Midwest, West, the South, and rural areas.


ABOUT THE AT&T Aspire Grant:

The grant was created in response to growth in technology, media, and telecommunications and to provide continuous learning to acquire new skills that are needed to drive innovation across the AT&T company. By investing in education, the initiative helps provide access to training young people to get and keep good jobs.