Feb 05, 2013


Photo: Columbia State Film Crew program students and director pose with representatives from The Shalom Foundation. (Front row, left to right) Columbia State students Jeffrey Dickenson and Nathan Scullen; Read Ridley, Instructor and Program Director of the Film Crew Technology program at Columbia State; Mayor Ken Moore, M.D., City of Franklin Mayor and Medical Director for The Shalom Foundation. (Back row, left to right) The Shalom Foundation representatives Claudia Hurtarte, Missions Coordinator; Maria Jose de Gallardo, Director - Guatemala; Allison Bender, Executive Director; Steve Moore, Chairman and Kevin McQuaig, Director of Programs.

(Franklin, Tenn. - July 6, 2011) - - - Two Columbia State Community College Film Crew Technology program students recently had the opportunity to gain international documentary film experience by volunteering to film a project for The Shalom Foundation, a non-profit organization providing humanitarian assistance to under-privileged children and their families in Guatemala, where 75 percent of the population live below the poverty line. Jeffrey Dickenson of Spring Hill, Tennessee and Nathan Scullen of Franklin, Tennessee were selected by Read Ridley, Film Crew Technology Program Director to represent the Film Crew Technology program and participate in the on-location film production in Guatemala.

The Foundation had contacted Ridley to see if he would be interested in bringing a couple students to Guatemala in order to produce a promotional video highlighting the work of the Foundation and to document the opening of The Moore Pediatric Surgery Center in Guatemala City. The video is intended to raise awareness of Foundation projects and to encourage people to get involved through volunteering or through corporate and personal donations.

"Part of the curriculum that I teach in the Film Crew Technology program is that you have a social responsibility to others," explained Ridley, Instructor and Program Director of the Film Crew Technology program at Columbia State. "This project was a perfect fit for our students because it was able to open their eyes to another culture and the plight of those less fortunate; while also testing the skills they had learned in the program."

"This opportunity has helped me grow as a person," said Dickenson. "It felt good to be involved in doing something good for the children of Guatemala. Making this video will help get people to support the efforts of The Shalom Foundation. Seeing the results of their work really makes you feel like you are making a difference in people's lives."

While there was only enough funding to send Ridley and two students, other Film Crew Technology students were also able to gain from the experience by processing the video footage from the trip in post-production.

During their trip, Ridley and his students worked 12 hour days in order to document every aspect of The Shalom Foundation. According to Ridley this experience was a true test of his students' documentary skills. It required the ability to constantly adapt to the situation.

"When you are filming in another country, you are on your own," explained Ridley. "In other types of film you normally scout out your location in advance. When doing a documentary, you have to catch the action as it happens; it is an exercise in how fast you can think on your toes. I wanted to see how the students would perform in that situation and they did exceptionally well."

As a result of the skills and professionalism exhibited by Dickenson and Scullen, the Columbia State Film Crew Technology program was given the opportunity to film the Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award Gala honoring The Country Music Association held on Tuesday, May 17 at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Students worked as the main film crew technicians and recorded the live event in High Definition.

"The students all had their roles and they knocked it out of the park," said Ridley. "It was the most stress-free live event that I have ever done. It is a real testament to how much the students have learned and how well they function as a team."

"My experience with the Film Crew Technology program has been amazing," said Scullen. "Every day I learn what we need to be doing on a film set including things like proper etiquette and safety. We learn through hands-on experiences and all the equipment that we use is what is actually being used on industry sets."

The Columbia State Film Crew Technology program was developed in 2008 as part of the State of Tennessee's Film Incentive Plan in order to train more professional technicians in the motion picture industry. According to Ridley whereas many schools focus on training directors and producers, Columbia State's program focuses on providing students with hands-on real life experiences. Students are able to learn industry terminology, work directly with current industry professionals and develop skills that are needed in the various technician positions including grip, art department, electrical, cinematography and post-production. The program utilizes the latest motion picture industry technologies including High Definition and the RED Camera and is also the only program in the state of Tennessee that has a working, professional Grip/Electric Production Truck.

"I believe the best way for a student to learn how to make a motion picture, is to actually make one," said Ridley. "That is why our program focuses on hands-on experiences; students have the opportunity to participate in special projects and work alongside industry professionals."

The Shalom Foundation's mission is to encourage Christian values by providing humanitarian assistance to children and their families living in extreme poverty. They are dedicated to providing educational opportunities for children and adults, home construction and repair for families living in unsafe dwellings, essential food and clean water for the malnourished, community outreach and medical assistance for basic healthcare and critical care needs. For more information on The Shalom Foundation visit www.theshalomfoundation.org.

For more information on the Film Crew Technology program at Columbia State contact Read Ridley, Program Director and Instructor of Film Crew Technology at (615) 790-4410 or by emailing rridley1@columbiastate.edu.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. The Williamson County Campus has served Williamson County residents for more than 30 years, and currently serves more than 1,400 students in the various program areas of Nursing, EMT/Paramedic, Business Technology, Commercial Entertainment, and more. For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.