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Exploring the Art of the Documentary

Philadelphia might not be the most prominent movie producing city in the world, but that hasn’t stopped Caileigh Feldman ’14 from exploring the exciting profession. This summer she is working with three filmmakers in the city to produce documentaries that focus on important and often neglected issues.  She is assisting Laura Deutch with her film El sol sale para todos about the growing Mexican population in South Philadelphia.  She is also helping Maria Theresa Rodriquez and Kaye Pyle with their film Niños de la memoria, which examines the lives of children who were kidnapped and put up for adoption during the Salvadoran civil war in the 1980s.

Feldman says she has been interested in documentaries ever since she took Vicky Funari’s Documentary Video Production course at Haverford in the spring of 2012. Taking a Documentary Filmmaking Practicum course this past semester with award-winning documentarian Louis Massiah, she says, has only furthered that interest.  Feldman describes the genre as “an extremely effective mode of expression and a powerful tool to initiate social change.”  On a more personal note, she lists Africana, Latin American and environmental studies as three of her priorities.  Her ambition for the future is to find a way to combine those passions by pursuing a medium of expression “capable of inspiring positive change.”

While working at her internships, which she obtained through the John B. Hurford '60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, Feldman will be promoting El sol sale para todos as an educational and informational tool through resources such as Facebook.  Meanwhile, she is helping Rodriquez and Pyle prepare materials to deliver to the film’s backers.  These include legal documentation and publicity materials, as well as the final product after it is completed.  Feldman may also be editing a rough cut of the film later this summer as well.

Although her internship is far from over, Feldman has already become proficient with important film production software, such as Compressor and DVD Studio Pro. Additionally, she says that the most important thing she has learned to date are the basics of film production, especially applying for funding, and devising ways to extend the life of a film and ensure that a film reaches a large audience.

—Jack Hasler ’15

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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