To Alaska; Texas Tech team to produce 'Arctic Soils Field Tour' documentary
Fueled by an interest of scientific research, Texas Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science's Chair of Pedology David Weindorf is helping produce a documentary on the effects of climate change in Alaska. Making a yearly trip to Alaska to help teach a course with University of Alaska-Fairbank's Professor Chien-Lu Ping, Weindorf was inspired to professionally document the research of the two schools.
Called the 'Arctic Soils Field Tour,' both instructors bring students, along with soil science professionals, to tour Alaska to analyze different features of the Alaskan soil. But with the imminent retirement of Ping, Weindorf realized the research and information that Ping had done would potentially go unrecognized, even forgotten.
"I thought, 'You know, we ought to find some way that we can videotape him talking about all of this stuff in the field,'" Weindorf said. "But then I thought, 'You know, just video tape it, why don't we do it right? Let's make a real documentary film about it.'"
Developing a task force from the Soil Science Society of America of about 10 members from around the country, Weindorf chaired the task force to develop a 60-page script complete with numerous scientific interviews and accounts from local people. With the total goal of $100,000 to complete filming, Weindorf and the task force were able to reach the goal with endowments from Tech, Alaska-Fairbanks, Soil Science Society of America and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.
So with the idea ready and script in hand, the next step was to find a way to film which led Weindorf to Robert Giovannetti, former managing director of Tech Public Media and the team at KTTZ. KTTZ Director Paul Hunton said he found the project was an opportunity to show people from around the world the global perspective of Tech. It's also an opportunity for Tech electronic media and communications students to gain credit, he said. With a four-member crew, two of them are students and another is a part of KTTZ.
"It's not just a matter of us going to shoot this film, but this is actually a learning opportunity for two students to get real world hands-on experience in feature documentary film-making," Hunton said.
KTTZ has done documentary work in the past, but none are close to the magnitude of this upcoming film, he said. "Working with all of those different people and documenting their work, I mean these are world-class scientists who are doing their profession," he said, "and so being able to document that is a huge honor and privilege."
Later during the winter, the team will go back to do some follow up shots on the landscape, Hunton said, and then they will be able to go into post-production of the film. With the current release date sometime in early 2017 with the working title "Between Earth and Sky: Tales from the Last Frontier," the film crew hopes to be able to showcase this documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest and distribute it through PBS.
"Everyone really views this as a partnership, as a collaboration," Weindorf said. "It's no one person or no one agency driving it. It's 'let's all chip in together, let's create this great educational piece and then let's all celebrate it.'"
Written by Michael Cantu
CONTACT: David Weindorf, Associate Dean for Research, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0729NM15 / For a full text of Michael Cantu's article, click http://www.dailytoreador.com/lavida/texas-tech-team-prepares-to-produce-alaska-documentary/article_781e45aa-2996-11e5-8bb2-3765349a1e33.html
Editor's Note: More information on the documentary is available at Tech's KTTZ's website at "Between Earth and Sky: Stories from the Last Frontier "at http://kttz.org/programs/between-earth-and-sky-stories-last-frontier?page=1&ajax=1 Among the recent posts are http://kttz.org/programs/between-earth-and-sky-stories-last-frontier ; http://kttz.org/post/between-earth-and-sky-alaska-verb ; http://kttz.org/post/between-earth-and-sky-chatanika-gold-dredge ; http://kttz.org/post/between-earth-and-sky-meet-elaine ; http://kttz.org/post/between-earth-and-sky-palmer-ak ; http://kttz.org/post/between-earth-and-sky-chasing-light ; http://kttz.org/post/between-earth-and-sky-journey-begins
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