We are proud to announce that onJuly 18th 2015 Women Warriors: A Vision of Valor received the 29th Annual Heartland EMMY Award in the Student Achievement Long Form Non-Fiction Category. We want to thank all of the Front Range Community College Multimedia Graphic Design students that participated in the making of this important documentary film. And above all we wish to thank the women veterans who shared their stories with us in this film.
We have been getting very enthusiastic responses from people that have heard about our film. Now it is getting even more! I have been promoting all summer and have gotten to show it to veterans at the 1’st Annual Veterans’ Art Showcase this past month with great praise by the veterans in attendance.
Now for more great news! We were accepted into the CIWF
2014 Colorado Independent Women of Film
We are honored to be showing our film “Woman Warriors: A Vision of Valor” among such talented women! The event is two days Aug. 15 & 16. We showing On August 16th in a block of films starting at 6:00 PM! But if you can go both days to meet and check out these amazing filmmakers work! Please go to and join the event and get your tickets https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10153059195288378&id=735933377
After 11 weeks of working on post-production, our documentary is getting closer and closer to being finished. At the time of this writing, all of the animations and photos for the narrative portion of the project are on the timeline. Brandon has turned into a zombie after spending most of his waking hours working on the finishing touches of this project and gearing up for the MGD Student Video Expo. This semester has been a blur, as we have all been very busy trying to meet our deadlines.
Different dynamics, same enthusiasm
This semester has been very different from the first. Not only did we almost triple our number of classmates, but we went from working as one big team for interviews to working individually or in small groups to get all the elements for the script’s b-roll together. The script, which is essentially the history lesson that follows women involvement in each war, was broken down into managable chunks that were distributed among the class for animating, supporting with photos and videos, or both. We created the greatest work environment one could ask for: postive, fun, and supportive. Everyone knew it was ok to ask for help or feedback when needed. Communication has been encouraged so that everyone could stay on top of their workload or, if they felt overloaded, there weren’t any bad feelings about having to pass off some of their work to someone else. We’ve been pushing ourselves to learn more about a particular skill area to create something better than ever.
Not your average history lesson
We signed up for an MGD class. We got that combined with an ongoing history lesson and a bit of copyright law sprinkled in there. This way of learning about this part of our history has been incredibly interesting for a few reasons. Between learning about what was going on (a lot of which had never been covered in the K-12 years) and hunting down photos, documents, or other videos to illustrate the script, it’s been very interactive. For some students, it’s opened a dialogue with family members that have served or love history and want to share their knowledge. History has also come alive for us. We found out about what it was like for women serving 70+ years ago in WWII from two of our interviewees. We learned how that changed over the years from veterans that served during the Korean and Vietnam wars, both of which happened before most of my classmates were born. Probably the most important was how relatable the subject became when we were talking with women that have served in the recent wars that we have heard so much about. We are at an age when any of the women in our class could have been one of our interviewees.
So long and thanks for all the fish
At the beginning of the year (and the semester for our newcomers), we were told that this was going to be a memorable adventure. That may have been an understatement. We’ve spent countless hours working on probably the greatest project of our time here at FRCC. For those of us graduating next month, it’s safe to say we’re going out with a bang. It’s been an incredible journey for all of us. Big thank you to Brandon for choosing us to be part of it. He’s been an instrumental part of making this experience so great for everyone.
Today marks the end of Women’s History Month. Well, maybe for most people. For us, it’s been an ongoing process since last September. We’ve learned more about the role of women in US military history in this class than in all the history classes taken during the K-12 years. We’re focusing on the role of women in the military from the Civil War to the present day. It’s amazing how much has happened in that time that is either briefly mentioned (women dressing up as male soldiers during the Civil War, for example) or never even makes it in the history books as a footnote (women serving in the military during WWII).
At least for me, it’s of some comfort to know that this will be remedied slightly when our documentary is distributed to Colorado high schools. While they’ll only get to see a fraction of what we heard in the interviews and dug up in our research, it still feels like it goes a long way towards shedding some light on a little-known aspect of our history. I am still amazed at how much I didn’t know. Today, I came across a post by Peggy Lutz, a WAVE from WWII. Her thoughts explain this invisibility far better than I ever could. Women veterans deserve so much more credit than they’ve been given. Hopefully, they will one day be given their rightful place in our history books.
During the summer of 2013, Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s office requested FRCC to produce a documentary on woman war veterans that would span from WWII to the present. This documentary would be added to the Library of Congress as part of their Veterans History Project, which hopes to collect and preserve stories from our war veterans. Eight MGD students, including myself, were selected by Brandon Berman, head of the Multimedia Graphic Design department, to be part of a unique class during the 2013-2014 school year that would be creating this documentary from start to finish.
We began collaborating with Kathryn Wirkus, a representative from Rep. Perlmutter’s office and retired lieutenant colonel from the Air Force, who would oversee our work. Under the guidance of Brandon, Kathryn, and Jay Shaffer (who has become the uncle of the class), the eight of us jumped into the project. Everyone was assigned a role during the interview process, ranging from being the interviewer to working behind the scenes with camera supervision, sound recording, lighting, makeup, and scanning photos and other documents from each interviewee. Some students also took on additional tasks to create the graphics and animations that will be going in the documentary. Over the course of the shortened semester, we completed five interviews in ten weeks at the FRCC studio or at the homes of admirable women with incredible stories. Each week, we came away in awe of these women and what they experienced during their service. We were thanked for giving them a chance to tell their tales, but they had no idea how much we were honored to sit down and talk with them.
As the fall semester ended, we had to figure out a plan to finish all the interviews and put everything together in time. To keep the momentum going and make up for lost time at the beginning of the semester, we decided to push through five more interviews over winter break with a skeleton crew consisting of whoever volunteered. Students and staff invested their own time and resources to travel to Colorado Springs for back-to-back interviews over a weekend and completed three more interviews in the FRCC studio. These efforts served as springboard for our incoming additions for spring semester as our class size nearly tripled to 21 students. We gladly welcomed the extra talent, since the most challenging part was still to come: post-production.
Of the ten women we talked with, we had a Marine and a WASP from WWII, a Marine from the first Female Engagement Team in Afghanistan, and veterans from Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Vietnam, Iraq, and the Gulf War. Now that the interviews are complete, it’s time to extract the best pieces and weave them together with a script written by FRCC’s own Dr. Cecilia Gowdy-Wygant and narrated by Tony Heideman (both in the FRCC history department), 2D and 3D animations, music, photos, and war footage. The final product will be distributed to approximately 100 high schools around Colorado and women’s studies programs at a few universities. It may also be entered into film festivals and broadcasted on TV. Our goal is to fit everything into approximately an hour-long documentary that properly honors the service of these women.