University of Iowa students enrolled in a course titled Film/Video Production: Nonfiction, led by Anna Swanson in the Department of Cinematic Arts, completed five RC&D Partnership projects during the spring 2016 semester. Swanson worked with the Office of Outreach & Engagement’s RC&D Partnership Program and Pathfinders RC&D to develop videos focused on different community assets and programs in the Pathfinders region. The students began the semester with a class visit from the Office of Outreach & Engagement and Pathfinders RC&D staff, where they learned about their projects and why they would be important to the partnering communities.
The students completed the Pathfinders Portrait Video first, familiarizing themselves with the mission and focus of Pathfinders RC&D. The students split into groups during the second half of the semester to create the remaining films, in which Pathfinders RC&D involved several additional community partners. Throughout the semester, Swanson and her students completed 11 trips to communities in Southeast Iowa to capture footage for the following videos.
The students captured the unique history, purpose, achievements, and current projects of Pathfinders RC&D in a video that the organization will use to share their story with partners, potential funders, and the general public. Community partners for this video included Pathfinders RC&D.
Iowan Grass Fed
This video highlights the benefits of grass-fed beef from the perspective of Lipes Family Farm, a small, diversified family farm specializing in pastured meats and eggs. Community partners for this video included Pathfinders RC&D and Lipes Family Farm.
A Small Town’s Secret
This video examines the economic impact that the American Gothic House Center has had on the town of Eldon, Iowa through interviews with local community members. Community partners for this video included Pathfinders RC&D and American Gothic House Center.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Mines and Minerals Bureau is responsible for reclaiming “abandoned mine lands” in Iowa. In this video, landowners from Southeast Iowa speak on the condition of their previously mined land and the experience of having it reclaimed. Community partners for this video included Pathfinders RC&D and the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Mines and Mineral Bureau.
Family farmers demonstrate their pride and share traditions passed down to them from generation to generation in this video that tells the story of the sacrifice that is often made to carry on a farm family tradition, to be good stewards of the land, and to help feed the world. This video precedes a public art project to be erected in Keosauqua, Iowa during the summer of 2016 as a tribute to the Van Buren County Farmer. Community partners for this video included Villages Folk School of Van Buren County and Pathfinders RC&D.
The semester ended with a film showing of the five completed projects in Eldon, Iowa at the McHaffey Opera House. The student filmmakers held a panel discussion to answer questions about their filmmaking process, as well as what they learned from engaging with southeast Iowa communities to complete their course projects. Several community members who participated in the projects attended the event to see the completed videos, and provide their own comments on their involvement in the video projects.
Continuing her work with the Office of Outreach & Engagement’s RC&D Partnership program this summer, Swanson is partnering with Southern Iowa RC&D to complete a local foods project. Swanson will film a farmer in their journey from planting to harvesting to selling at the Creston Farmers’ Market throughout the summer. The video will aim to help grow and promote farmers’ markets in Southern Iowa by showing consumers and farmers in the seven-county Southern Iowa RC&D region the vibrancy of local agriculture and farmers markets. The video will also seek to show local growers the wealth of possibilities offered by direct-to-consumer marketing and farmers’ markets. Stay tuned for the final video which will be completed late this summer.