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Moviecation – The Crossroads: San Marcos Stories

todayFebruary 15, 2014 70

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picture of Lyndon Baines Johnson's nameplate under the statue of him on Texas State campus
Picture of Lyndon Baines Johnson plate under his statue on Texas State University campus

Writer and Producer – Veronika Kondratieva
Other Side Drive Producer – Shannon Williams
Editor – Adam M. Cook

Past, present and future intercept in a short documentary film called The Crossroads: San Marcos Stories, which was produced by Texas State students during their summer visual storytelling class, supervised by Doctor David Nolan.

The idea for the film was born from the LBJ-MLK Crossroads Memorial Project, a local community effort to establish a monument at the corner of LBJ and MLK drives in San Marcos. According to Crossroads Project member Linda Kelsey-Jones, long searches across the country to find another intersection where the two names meet failed, making San Marcos a unique destination and giving the Crossroads Project even more motivation.

“I have an image of Harvey Miller with his three children at the library, each of them on a different computer looking all over the country, trying to find another intersection because he wants to prove that we are the only one. They never did find another intersection like that,” Linda Kelsey-Jones said.

The Crossroads: San Marcos Stories, directed by Texas State student Bailey Campbell, documents the journey of many people in the community determined to bring this project to life.

When the five-week-long film production began, the biggest challenge for the crew was the short period of time. Nolan said that since the class is a basic course, most students didn’t possess enough technical skills, such as shooting or editing video. So, Texas State students plunged into a race against time.

Not having the luxury to waste time, they started researching the project as soon as the class began, while Nolan taught them the basic skills they needed for film production, which the students perfected during the hands-on experience while filming.

Unfortunately, when the summer semester was over, the film was not quite finished, Nolan said.

“There was just no time to finish editing, and we had some problems with the equipment and some of the video,” David Nolan said.

But Campbell, alongside the film’s editor Wesley Eaton volunteered during the fall to complete the work the class had started.

The finished product, created in a joint effort of students, professors and local community members premiered on January 15th at the San Marcos Public Library as part of A Vision in Action Film Series.

The film begins with a narrative by Thomas Grimes, a mass communication professor at Texas State. First, he shares with viewers some of the history of San Marcos, touching on the history of Texas State. Then, he slowly advances his narration to Lyndon Baines Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. and their collaboration during the Civil Rights Movement.

After the narration, the documentary provides interviews with local people and Crossroad Project contributors who speak about the memorial and its meaning to the community.

The camera captures the pride and joy interviewees have for the project. Watching the film, the viewer feels as enthusiastic as the speakers, which include David Peterson, Harvey Miller, Ollie Giles, Linda Kelsey-Jones, Diann McCabe and Frank Contreras. Nolan said it was an amazing opportunity and privilege when people share their stories.

“One of the things you have to understand and take to heart is that stories are gifts from people, and when anybody is telling you their story is a gift they are giving you,” Nolan said.

For history lovers, I recommend this incredible local community-oriented documentary, which sees future participation in various student competitions and film festivals. At the moment, the short film is available to view on the City of San Marcos’s YouTube channel under The Crossroads: San Marcos Stories.

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