Each year after the juniors finish their thesis projects, they all breathe a sigh of relief and turn their attention to a different kind of rhetoric assignment: the documentary film. Students sort themselves into production teams and begin the process of researching, directing, filming, and editing their own documentaries. This project provides them with a sense of empowerment. The students are given the freedom to decide what story needs to be told and how to tell it. The genre also allows them to experiment with presenting a story visually rather than telling it with words. Visual images shape the way our culture thinks about and understands the world. It is thus increasingly important that students understand the power of these images to shape and change hearts and minds. In the end, we hope the experience of making their own documentary films trains them to be critical thinkers who are also deeply engaged in the conversations of their culture.
Here are three such videos from the junior rhetoric class.
Life in the Fast Layne by Mason Greer and John Dunkerley
Common Threads by Olivia Brookins and Sarah Kate Lipperd
Unheard by Camilla Lemons and Anna Rebekah Richburg