Collaborative production, 'The White Death,' receives nomination for best history documentary
A film about the stories behind the catastrophic Fourmile fire of 2010 won Heartland Chapter Emmy Awards in the categories of best topical documentary and best program editing.
The awards for “Above the Ashes,” directed, produced and edited by Michelle Bauer Carpenter, an assistant professor in Digital Design in the College of Arts & Media, were presented at the Heartland ceremonies in Denver and Oklahoma City on July 21.
Another CAM-produced film, “Tuberculosis: The White Death,” co-produced by assistant professor Hans Rosenwinkel and associate professor Craig Volk, was nominated in the category of best history documentary.
A longtime Boulder resident, Carpenter and her family live in the historic mining town of Sunshine in the Fourmile burn area. “The losses our friends suffered are absolutely heartbreaking,” she said. “Over half of the homes in our neighborhood were lost to the fire. As soon as we were allowed home I began documenting the devastation.”
The film’s surround sound, which received a nomination for best sound, was designed by David Bondelevitch, an assistant professor in CAM’s Music & Entertainment Industry Studies Recording Arts program.
The film focuses on the untold heroes, the strength of mountain communities and the fire’s devastation. Carpenter’s video pieces have broadcast nationally and screened in numerous international and national film festivals and art galleries.
Meanwhile, “The White Death” is being distributed internationally in hour-long DVD format. “I wanted to have international distribution for this, so it would be seen where tuberculosis is a problem, in Eastern Europe, Russia and Africa,” said Rosenwinkel, who teaches in the Department of Theatre, Film & Video Production.
The film was a collaboration between Rosenwinkel, Volk, numerous other CAM faculty, many students, National Jewish Health and Elmer Koneman, MD, professor emeritus from the School of Medicine. Koneman approached CAM about doing a film about the scourge of tuberculosis.
CAM faculty and students, most of whom were members of a Production Process class, assisted in making historical re-creation sets in Denver; other scenes were shot in Berlin (by Rosenwinkel) and Africa (by a student). National Jewish Health, a top hospital for respiratory research, opened its doors for filming.
“It wasn’t 100 percent history. It looked at today and the future (of the disease), but the history was a part of it,” Rosenwinkel said. “… We made it a full collaboration, including some faculty and about 25 students.”