sheila in DC

sheila in DC
With the Pentagon in the background, I pause for a quick shot at an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. I was shooting footage for my last film "SoleJourney" (available through First Run Features).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Woodstock West: State of the Project

It has been some time since I last posted a blog entry about my documentary film project, Woodstock West: Build Not Burn. I've decided to simplify my blog writing and really use this space to keep readers informed about the progress of the film and our ancillary projects related to the film. To that end, here are some things we've accomplished over the past few months:

  • We've talked via phone, over coffee and during lunch and dinner to lots of folks with first-hand accounts of Woodstock West. These include presidents and members of the University of Denver chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), former directors of the Denver Research Institute, students who built shelters on the Woodstock West site, members of the Clarion, faculty and staff.
  • We've connected with the DU Retiree Association and published an article in their newsletter that led to many leads. I'll be teasing the project at their April 20 luncheon and will be giving a full presentation in October to the group.
  • We also received many inquiries after Don Oppliger published a blurb about the project in the Mathematics Department newsletter. Thanks a lot Don!
  • Numerous stories have been posted to this website from folks who remember Woodstock West. Many thanks to those of you who have contributed! We encourage those of you reading this blog post to take a look at the fascinating stories and add your own.
  • We have worked with two different groups of students in Professor Nadia Kaneva's Strategic Communication courses to do primary research for an activism on campus video contest we're going to launch in conjunction with the film's completion. With the video contest we hope students on college campuses today will submit short films about peers who are carrying on the spirit of activism that was found in some of the students from Woodstock West.
  • We have organized and started culling through the thousands of documents from the Penrose Library Woodstock West Collection. A big shout out to Archivist Steve Fisher who continues to be a real help!
  • We have received and continue to work on a song submitted to us by Ray Smith, a Canadian, who was in Denver during Woodstock West. Ray's story is in the story section of this website. He calls Woodstock West a defining moment in his life and he was so moved by the story that he wrote a song appropriately titled, "Build Not Burn." Stay tuned for more information on the progress of this song!
  • Speaking of music, we connected to bass guitarist, David Givens, formerly of the Boulder-based band Zephyr. Zephyr, according to Ray Smith, was the real sound of Woodstock West. David has given us permission to use some of the Zephyr recordings in our film. A huge thank you to David!
  • We have scanned hundreds of photos from the Woodstock West library.
  • We have had wonderful conversations with Terry and Steve Datz who, in 1970, created a photo booklet of the protest they called, "WoodstockWest: Five Days of Freedom." Sold through the Clarion and an ad in The Berkeley Barb, the booklet sold for $1.50 and launched their publishing company, Matchless Publishing Co.
  • We had an opportunity to do our first on-camera interview with Professor Bob Amme who, in 1970, was taking over as President of the University Senate at the time and was part of the executive council that was trying to broker a peaceful end to Woodstock West.
  • In February I went on a self-imposed writing retreat to work on an important grant. I made a great deal of headway and submitted the grant. Because of the exceptionally competitive nature of arts grants, I'm not holding my breath, but just submitting the grant was a great step forward in clarifying the film and the larger goals for the project.
  • I did find out that a proposal written for a conference in Montreal, Canada was accepted and I will be there for five days in May talking about a relatively new phenomenon in documentary production, the I-doc or Interactive Documentary. I-docs use an interactive platform like the internet to help tell their stories in new and interesting ways. See the award winning Prison Valley as an example of an I-doc.
These are just a few of the many items we've been working on since last fall. I have to say that I'm really overwhelmed by the willingness of folks to share their stories in writing, in person and over the phone and e-mail with us. We have much to be thankful for as your generosity is truly amazing.

I'm working at being a more disciplined blogger and hope to create a new entry each and every Monday. Please feel free to link, post, and pass along this blog to interested parties.


Associate Professor Sheila E. Schroeder is the Producer/Director of Woodstock West: Build Not Burn

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