Monday, September 20, 2010

"Beyond Empires"

Filmmaker Chris GIlbert, who has taught Selected Topics in Urban Media in Gordon’s Boston program and courses in the Communication Arts Department, is one of our busiest adjunct faculty.

Gilbert, who is originally from Australia, was recently interviewed by The Times of India, the largest circulation English language newspaper in the world, for his new documentary film.

“We prize our adjunct faculty members who bring to our students professional experiences that widen and deepen their Gordon education,” says Dan Russ, academic dean. “Just as many of our full-time faculty leave the classroom and find time to research, make art, consult, write, and perform in Boston and beyond, so our adjunct faculty leave their corporate offices, labs, ministries, public school classrooms, law practices and art studios to bring their knowledge, skills, and wisdom to our students. The synergy is invaluable.”

Gilbert, Gordon alum Paul Van Ness ’73, filmmaker and president of Van Ness Creative Group, and another Gordon adjunct instructor, Jon Cairns, also of Van Ness Creative, recently traveled to India to work together on the documentary film Beyond Empires, assisted by a production crew from Chennai. Van Ness is the director of photography for the film, Cairns operated Camera A and is technical editor, and Gilbert is the producer and story editor. The film tells the story of 23-year-old Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg, the first ever Protestant missionary to India, in 1706. “It was remarkable to have alongside us Muslim and Hindu colleagues who’ve been on the journey with us for almost five years, as keen to tell Ziegenbalg’s story as we are,” said Gilbert.

No English speaking film, nor book for a general audience, has ever told the story of Batholomaus Ziegenbalg.

“A bright moment in India was to interview and involve students as interviewers of their peers for the film at a University and two colleges, which was actually inspired by my enjoyment and respect for the undergrads I’ve worked with in Wenham and Boston,” said Gilbert. “When my schedule frees me, I’ll look forward to bringing something of that kind of participation-in-the-process back to Gordon, and the opportunity for students to unearth some worthy untold stories.”

The film is now in post-production, scheduled for release in both short and long form in 2011, and aimed at public television internationally.

To read The Times of India article, click HERE.
Photo credit: The Times of India, September 13, 2010

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