On Wednesday night, the “Community Voices” class screened its fourth annual series of final projects.

The documentary program, founded in huge part by the Dhont Family Foundation, allows students in the Television and Broadcast Journalism department to partner with local families and nonprofit organizations.  Through a series of short films, these student filmmakers bring awareness and recognition to local heroes and the experiences of Orange County residents working to make their community a better place.

Like many of our final thesis screenings, Community Voices was streamed live on our Justin.TV webstreaming site, located directly on the Dodge College website.  Keep in mind, to ensure the films aren’t disqualified from film festivals, these films are only found online for less than a week, so those filmmakers’ families, and the subjects themselves, who couldn’t attend the screening in person, may view the students’ work briefly.

Professor Jeff Swimmer:

Thanks to the Dhont Foundation for truly making Dodge a documentary destination.  We treat our students not just like students, but professionals.  And they deliver.

Professor Sally Rubin:

We want to thank the subjects of the films as well.  Opening your doors to college students for two months is not for the faint of heart.

In 2 years, 70 students have participated in more than 20 films.  22 local nonprofit organazitions have been profiled, by students, making a real impact on local Orange County families and ogranizations, combining traditional storytelling principles with innovative outreach techniques.

Past nonprofit subjects are currently using Community Voices documentaries, even years after they’re produced.

This year we partnered with Dawn Taubin’s Public Relations class, for unique outreach and promotion to local nonprofits.

About the films:
“Sebastian,” or first film tonight, is about a blind teenager, who forms a broad understanding of his surroundings using a technique called echo location, which you’ll learn about in the film.

“In the Shadows” is an intimate look at an undocumented, immigrant family has been able to make a life for itself in the shadows here in southern California (http://intheshadowsfilm.org)

“In Her Boots” profiles the work of Tanya Graves, who works with the community and veterans, as her husband is overseas serving in the military.

“A Part of Me” looks at how a family stays together in the face of adversity. Nathan, a local student, returned home, to find how the recent economic downturn had affected his family, resulting in job loss and divorce.”

“Still”  is about an underwater photographer and environmentalist, Carlos Eylos, who practices deep breathing and free diving, to explore the ocean floor.  It’s important to remember – and incredible to watch – that the subject you see here is actually holding his breath the whole time, not using diving gear or scuba.

“Breathe Life” our final film is about people who expel their breath rather than holding it, chronicling a local family, the Montelones, affected by cystic fibrosis.