Mustard Seed Documentary Film Project
Award-winning Filmmaker Makes Mustard Seed School the Subject of His Next Film
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Brian Fuller is burning through tapes. After two weeks at Mustard Seed School, he and his crew already have over 100 hours of footage and may shoot 50 more in the next week. For most of January, Mr. Fuller is on campus filming classes and interviewing faculty and staff, alumni, and parents. The school is the subject of his next documentary, which will focus on Mustard Seed’s holistic approach to education through integrating academics, arts, faith and service.
“I’m most likely to see new things through the camera when I’m surrounded by people who are also seeing new things. At Mustard Seed School, I’m surrounded by teachers who are trying to improve and broaden vision, but also by students who are learning by doing. The very nature of multi-modal teaching is about seeing things in new ways.”
One result of this project will be a film that is of the sort that one might see on PBS or the Discovery Channel. Another will be brief “webisodes”, shorter pieces of the film footage, which will be posted online. The goal of the webisodes is to provide educators from around the world with short, accessible case studies of Mustard Seed’s educational approach. These case studies can be used as professional development or as a part of a curriculum for teacher education programs.
“Throughout the year, visiting teachers and administrators frequent our hallways for observation, inspiration and vision. Others come to attend one of our mini conferences. The documentary and webisodes will be a way for the school to share its pedagogical style and culture and to have an impact on broader discussions about education,” says Christine Metzger, Head of School.
Having a filmmaker and his crew on campus has also given students the opportunity to learn more about filmmaking. Some students have even been given the opportunity to work on the crew after they’ve learned about focus, white balance, exposure, and composition.
Mr. Fuller is learning, too. “I’m discovering that a mission, even one as noble as Mustard Seed’s, isn’t merely stated, it is wrestled with, it’s brooded over. Mustard Seed has a mission of providing options to those who might not otherwise have them. You can’t just say that once and have that happen. I’m seeing people who pour a great deal of themselves into this mission-journey. “
Mr. Fuller is a professor of media production at Calvin College’s Communication Arts & Sciences Department in Michigan. He has won numerous awards for his work including an Emmy, a C.I.N.E. Eagle, two Telly Awards, three Davey Awards, and screenings of his work in Hollywood, Toronto, Egypt, Hungary, and Belgium. He is joined by three Calvin College students who serve as his film crew. A release date for the film has not yet been set.
Select the video below to play a clip from the 4th and 5th Grade Field Trip to the Buehler Challenger and Science Center.