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The WRUV station manager and Werner Herzog

May 21, 2014

We here at the JaM blog can be guilty of pigeon-holing our talented students, thinking of our TV students only as awesome filmmakers or our newspaper students only as amazing journalists. Which, of course, they are.

WRUV Station Manager Sadie Holliday

2013-2014 WRUV Station Manager Sadie Holliday

Yet they’re so much more. WRUV’s just-departed station manager, Sadie Holiday, served up some excellent radio as a DJ, for sure. But she was serious about the visual arts, too.

Not too long ago, she and classmates in the 3-credit class Motion Picture Production got a chance to collaborate just a bit with Werner Herzog, the legendary German film director known for his recurring themes of remoteness in time and space.

Coming off local media attention about her efforts, Holliday took time to fill us in about the experience, which started with her professor, Peter Shellenberger, asking Herzog to work with his class. Herzog responded by sending Shellenberger some footage to use with his students . . . .

Said Holliday:

After Herzog initially sent up his roll of film, he followed up with two letters, which stipulated how the students should use the film. He requested that we use his footage in a piece of our own, using no more than 25 percent of his own footage, which meant that 75 percent of the running time had to be our own work. Other than the title having to be “Where’s Da Party At?” there were really no other guidelines.

Herzog really left the project and the content up to us. He didn’t want the original footage he shot to be released to the public. The project was really about the student’s work, and he had little involvement after the two letters he sent.

It was a really interesting experience. I’ve been a fan of Herzog’s work for a long time so having original material from him and having the chance to use it in our own work was amazing. This Herzog project became kind of normal to us, but every time I would mention it to anyone who knows who Herzog is, they would be astonished, and I’d be reminded of what a big deal it actually is. We’ve all been very lucky. It’s definitively been a great opportunity for everyone to get their work out into the public eye.

We recently had a screening of all of the Herzog projects at the BCA Center on Church Street in downtown Burlington. The Associated Press picked up the film night, which really shocked all of us. We had a great turnout. The room we were in was nearly full. It was great to see people from the community and students take interest and come out for a night of independent films.

Holliday’s video, as well as all other videos from the class, have been posted online for the world to enjoy.

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