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>  News Releases >   2003 >   August

One day in White River Junction

Posted 08/13/03, by Tamara Steinert

Students film documentary project in one day with eight camera crews

Seven videographers and a dozen students met for this photograph in White River Junction, Vt., as they prepared to spend the day filming on July 1 for the FS30 class, Documentary Videomaking, taught by Jeffrey Ruoff (far right). (photo by Junction Productions)

For 12 students in Jeffrey Ruoff's class Film Studies 30: Documentary Videomaking, a single day - July 1 - made all the difference.

That was the day the students, accompanied by professional videographers, spread throughout the town of White River Junction, Vt., to film the daily routine of several residents in the historic community. Led by Ruoff, Assistant Professor of Film and Television Studies, the students followed people as varied as the Hartford police, a museum curator, organic farmers, and volunteers from a nonprofit group as they went about their lives.

The short documentaries the students produced from the footage taken on July 1, along with additional footage they shot themselves, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20 in Loew Auditorium.

The July 1 footage will also appear in a longer documentary titled A Day in the Life of White River Junction, which Ruoff hopes to distribute to public television and to submit to film festivals. Although he toyed with the idea of making the work a 24-hour-long real-time film, the final product will probably be a conventional-length documentary. He believes it could be ready for screening next spring.

This photo, taken by George E. Fellows around 1900, is part of the documentary A Day in the Life of White River Junction. (photo courtesy of Dartmouth College Library)

A filmmaker himself, Ruoff each year asks his documentary videomaking class to produce films about people and places in the Upper Valley. He chose White River Junction this year for its "rich history" and "lively mix of people from different walks of life." Ruoff says the goal is to portray small-town life in a way "that is more truthful than what we see on commercial television, while still being entertaining and engaging."

"Whether they come from the U.S. or abroad, from small towns or big cities, Dartmouth students need to get off campus and experience life in towns other than Hanover. This can be as important as studying abroad in broadening students' experiences of the world," he said.

Bringing in the professional videographers was made financially possible by a grant from the Summer Arts Initiative.

- Tamara Steinert

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