On April 27, 2017, Muhlenberg senior Drew Swedberg screened a short documentary, Ciento uno años. Drew began the project during a MILA (Muhlenberg Integrated Learning Abroad) course on sustainability in Costa Rica with Professor Niesenbaum (Biology) and Professor Elliott (Art). “I was taking the class as a way of exploring community sustainability, documentary ethics, and the relationship between the filmmaker and the community. At the heart of all of the questions that drove my research was one that was a little more personal: was this what I wanted to do with my life?” During a 2-week stay in Las Juntas de Abangares, Drew spent time and worked closely with school children in the community, who are at the center of the documentary he created. Back on campus, Drew has spent nearly a year editing the final cut with guidance and mentorship from Professor Ebrahimi Bazaz. The screening was an opportunity for Drew to share his work with the faculty, fellow students, and staff who have helped shape and support his work and for Drew to speak about his creative and reflective practice as a student of documentary storymaking.
“I learned that a documentary can truly be an engagement.”
Drew invited attendees at the screening “to celebrate a community that is dedicated to educating their children despite the knowledge that those very same children will likely leave the community to pursue their dreams. It is an education that the entire community has invested in and one that expands far beyond the walls of the classroom.” Drew is one of the very first students to graduate with the Documentary Storymaking minor.