Project: “Stories of the Susquehanna Valley: Churches of Coal Country” Documentary Film
Faculty: Alf Siewers
Student: Sasha Weilbaker
DP&S Liaison: Brianna Derr
Dates: Summer 2016, to be continued Fall 2016 through Spring 2017
Churches of Coal Country, the third installment in the Series of the Susquehanna Valley sequence, tells the story of how the Slavic heritages of both St. Peter and Paul’s Ukrainian Catholic Church and St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church in Mount Carmel, PA, have been retained since the immigration of coal miners to the anthracite region in the nineteenth century. The documentary examines the youth membership currently in both churches compared to that of the past in each church to determine the importance of ethnic and spiritual identity to the youth in Mount Carmel today.
In Summer 2016 Professor Alf Siewers and student Sasha Weilbaker began practicing the art of digital storytelling through documentary film production. They began with pre-production which included digital story discussions, creating a treatment, script writing, and story boarding along with some production which included the study of shooting techniques, composition, framing, interviewing best practices, lighting, equipment training, and collecting b-roll footage. Professor Siewers and Weilbaker integrated themselves into the community by conducting site visits and speaking with the locals. Churches of Coal Country is set to wrap up in the Spring of 2017 in conjunction with students from English 314.