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'IU 2020 Part: 1' documentary premiered Nov. 13, follows lives of IU students


IU Cinema and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President virtually premiered “IU 2020 Part: 1,” a film about 12 IU students and their undergraduate lives at IU at 7 p.m. Nov. 13. The documentary was filmed and edited by IU students. 

Part 1 of the multiple-part documentary series focused on the different journeys of three students during their four years studying at IU. Part 1 of the series was divided into three shorter films that focused on Doña Eliassaint, Yash Agarwala and Emily Leung during their time at IU.

Doña Eliassaint’s film focused on her time as an anthropology major, her life on campus and her decision to take time off from college for her mental health. During Yash Aragarwala’s section, viewers were able to see his time in the Kelley School of Business and many different student organizations, including a business fraternity,  as well as his experience as an international student. Emily Leung’s film gave viewers a sneak peak into the world of the Jacobs School of Music and her close relationship with her teacher.

Attendees were invited to watch “IU 2020: Part 1” via an external link. After the film, a virtual Q&A session took place between Ethan Gill, multimedia specialist for the Office of the Provost, Garrett Goad and Emily Miles, who worked as interns, editors and producers on the project.

During the Q&A, Gill, Goad and Miles answered questions about working on “IU 2020.” All three members of the Q&A had worked as multimedia interns for the Office of the Provost during the project. The multimedia interns for the Office of the Provost played a huge role in the creative process and execution of the series.

“Their job is to be down in the trenches, you know, going to the shoots getting things secured, getting permission granted by professors or, you know, the departments to come in and bring in a camera into these spaces,” Gill said.

Student interns are responsible for every aspect of film production on “IU 2020,” from scheduling interviews and shooting b-roll to editing and exporting the projects for viewing.

Evelyn Sanchez, a student intern for the Office of the Provost, was assigned to cover Jayla French’s final semester at IU for “IU 2020.”

“Our role is that we’re a little bit of everything,” Sanchez said about the student interns. “We do video for not only our ‘IU 2020’ episode but for everyone else. We edit, we do audio, we produce the content as well.”

Sohile Ali, a graduate multimedia intern for the Office of the Provost and the Executive Vice President, has been working on this project since fall 2018.

“You're assigned to a number of students, typically one or two, and then we're responsible for the entire production of those student films,” Ali said.

Ali discovered the Office of the Provost was hiring interns through his mutual friend, 2020 IU graduate Aidan Whelan, who he had met in their engineering major. Ali would eventually be assigned to cover the journey of his friends Whelan and Spencer Biery for the IU 2020 series.

“I remember being in a classroom with Aidan, and then having somebody come and film him,” Ali said. “And next thing I knew I was the one also filming him.”

Ali said knowing one of the featured students personally put him in an interesting position when working with students since he was able to document both his and Whelan’s experience as members of IU’s first engineering class.

Sanchez said she learned so much due to French’s involvement in the medical field and greek life. She said during the filming process, she and French became very close.

“Just recording the documentary, I felt like I knew Jayla my whole life,” Sanchez said. “And I'm like I've literally only known this girl for like a semester. It's so crazy.”

Both Sanchez and Ali said that by experiencing the studies and activities of the featured students, they have been able to learn about many different areas of campus and connect to students outside of their majors.

“I feel like I've lived through the 12 students’ four years myself just by being associated and working on them,” Ali said.

Sanchez said that the documentary gives students a view of a different major or extracurricular activity and a variety of perspectives. Ali said the series has elements that every student could relate to, such as class uncertainty or taking a semester break.

“We run the whole gamut, the whole spectrum of experiences that can be had,” Ali said.

“IU 2020 Part: 2” will premiere at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 through a registration link on the IU Cinema Website and will feature the journeys of Courtland Crenshaw, Jayla French and Broderick Balsley. Tickets are free and the screening will be followed by a virtual Q&A.

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