Four short films exploring how Hoosiers experience and grapple with urban, suburban and rural divides will be part of a digital film festival beginning next week. The films, which were funded by Indiana Humanities, premiered in early 2020 at live events around the state and will now be available to stream online, for free.
In 2019, Indiana Humanities chose five award-winning Indiana filmmakers to create short documentaries examining the ways Hoosiers experience urban, suburban and rural identities today. The films—about a dance instructor in Gary dealing with the city’s disinvestment in arts education, about a rural community newspaper in Wayne County filling the gap caused by media consolidation, about a southern Indiana composting business that hires the formerly incarcerated to transform the land and their lives—complicate our ideas about who lives in Indiana and what they’re up to.
Every Tuesday in April at 7 p.m., Indiana Humanities will host Facebook Live watch parties for four of the films. Each week, online question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers, along with links to resources on the film’s themes will also be posted on Facebook.
“We hope these films help Hoosiers see themselves and their communities represented onscreen, and spark conversations online and in living rooms across the state,” said Leah Nahmias, director of programs and community engagement at Indiana Humanities.
The films and their launch dates include:
April 7: “Sundown to Sunrise” (features Valparaiso, Ind.)
Filmmakers: Pat Wisniewski and Tom Desch
About the film: Trace one man’s journey from sundown to sunrise as he and his family integrate an all-white Indiana town in 1968. By breaking the color barrier, they also helped transform the town and place it on a trajectory of inclusion.
April 14: “Hometown Media” (features Hagerstown, Ind.)
Filmmaker: Ryan Gleeson
About the film: Follow a week in the life of a small-town newspaper in Wayne County, Indiana, for a look at how rural journalism is practiced today and why it matters.
April 21:“The EarthKeepers” (features Bloomington, Ind.)
Filmmakers: Mitch Teplitsky and Gabriel Lantz
About the film: In southern Indiana, a married couple decide to leave academia to start a composting business—employing ex-offenders along the way. Now they’re on a mission to avert a looming waste crisis in Indiana, and beyond.
April 28:“Raised in Contrast” (features Lebanon, Ind.)
Filmmaker: Chad Perdue
About the film: A look at the experiences of mixed-race and non-white Hoosiers who live in rural and suburban communities.
The fifth film, “Larry From Gary,” is being submitted to film festivals and will be released online in late 2020.
The digital film festival will be held on Indiana Humanities’ Facebook page. Learn more, and watch a trailer of all the films, at IndianaHumanities.org/Films.
These films are part of Indiana Humanities’ two-year INseparable initiative. INseparable invites Hoosiers to explore how we relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined, and consider what it will take to indeed be inseparable, in all the ways that matter.