Journalism Professor Launches Philanthropic Documentary Brand

A UT journalism faculty member has launched a new project that will give students hands-on experience in documentary storytelling while providing no-cost video services for local nonprofit organizations.

Assistant Professor Nick Geidner has started Land Grant Films, an idea that evolved from the Medal of Honor Project, also led by Geidner. As part of the Medal of Honor Project, students created an hour-long documentary that aired on WBIR, Knoxville’s NBC affiliate.

“The Medal of Honor was an amazing success, and we want to build off that success to give our students more great opportunities” said Geidner.

While Geidner teaches a documentary journalism course, Land Grant Films is an extracurricular activity open to any UT student.

“My goal is to provide students with real-world documentary experience while getting them engaged in organizations and issues that affect the community,” said Geidner.

Land Grant Films—a project that fits perfectly with UT’s Experience Learning initiative— already has several projects in the works with local organizations including the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, the Metropolitan Drug Commission, Tennessee Para Cycle Open, and the Joy of Music School.

“Students involved in our films get to work on all aspects of the production, from running camera and conducting interviews to scripting and editing the film,” said Geidner. “It is an intense hands-on experience that gets the students ready for a job in the video production field.”

A fundraising campaign for Land Grant Films is under way, with the goal of raising $50,000 before the start of the 2016–17 school year. The campaign will support upcoming productions, the purchase of additional equipment, the student filmmaker grant, and workshops on video production for local nonprofit organizations.