Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Immersive Learning

October 7, 2009

"My Name is Jerry," the university~~~s first commercial film venture, will be one of two Ball State features selected in this year~~~s Heartland Film Festival, Oct. 15-24 in Indianapolis.
 Ball State University has scored a double feature at this year's Heartland Film Festival, taking place Oct. 15-24 in Indianapolis.

"My Name is Jerry," the university's first commercial film venture, will be a full-length feature official selection, and "Free Wall," an HD movie created by students, will compete in the student dramatic short category at the premier Hoosier film event.

"Being an official selection of the Heartland Film Festival as a full-length film is a great honor," said Rodger Smith, director of the university's Institute for Digital Entertainment and Education, and "Jerry's" executive producer. "'My Name is Jerry' is a small film, and gaining the attention of one of the major film festivals is quite a coup. It means that distributors will take a closer look at buying the film, and audiences will give weight to the festival's selection as they consider what DVD or download to buy."

During the festival, there will be four screenings of "My Name is Jerry." For more information on the dates, times and costs, visit

"Free Wall" is Ball State's fifth summer HD movie immersive learning project. It is also the university's largest immersive learning program, involving approximately 180 students, nine classes and a 15-month production schedule.

"'Free Wall' is the first movie under the Frog Baby Productions banner and the second film to have Ball State's Digital Corps as an integral part of the postproduction process," said Tim Pollard, associate professor of telecommunications. "The movie was also an official selection to the Indianapolis International Film Festival and has been sent to 11 other film festivals, including Sundance, for consideration."

For more information about screenings of "Free Wall," visit

"My Name is Jerry" has also played well on the festival circuit. Additional awards include:

  • Route 66 Film Festival — Best Feature Comedy 2009
  • accepted in the Tacoma Film Festival
  • accepted in the Filmmaker Festival — Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Morgan Mead), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Doug Jones), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Catherine Hicks) and Best Soundtrack (Rick DiGiallonardo)
  • accepted in the Grand Rapids Film Festival

Along with gaining notoriety for the film, these accolades mean that everyone who worked on the film can identify their contributions on resumes and for professional consideration, Smith said.

"For students, it means that an immersive learning experience of this kind paired them with professionals who can meet the standards of the film and media worlds — they learned from the best," he said. "That recognition, added to the experience of making the film, means that students had a win-win — a professional credit from a learning environment."