Ball State PBS will broadcast “Clear Reception,” an original documentary about the art of glass, at 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.
After premiering the documentary in front of a live audience at Emens Auditorium in May 2023, the film was presented at the Indy Shorts International Film Festival presented by Heartland Film. “Clear Reception” will also be available for streaming on Vimeo starting Nov. 3.
Created by Ball State University students and featuring 1969 Ball State graduate David Letterman, the documentary was part of a yearlong student-led project and The David Letterman Learning Experience, an ongoing Immersive Learning project at Ball State.
Students from Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media‘s Department of Media, led by Chris Flook, senior lecturer of media, collaborated with Mr. Letterman during the 2021-22 school year to produce the documentary. The 25-minute production shares the story of Mr. Letterman’s interest in Ball State’s Glass Art program and his request for a commissioned unique sculpture created by students studying and working at the University’s Marilyn K. Glick Center for Glass.
As part of the David Letterman Learning Experience, the project also included graduate students from the Center for Emerging Media Design & Development (EMDD), led by Dr. Jennifer Palilonis, George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Multimedia Journalism; undergraduate students from the School of Music led by Dr. Christoph Thompson, assistant professor of music media production; and undergraduate students from the School of Art led by Brent Cole, associate professor of art, and Jon Rees, glass facilities manager and assistant teaching professor of art.
Recent Ball State graduates Ameliah Kolp and Faith Denig served as writer/director and producer for the film, respectively. The 2022 graduates participated in a Q&A with Mr. Letterman after the film’s debut at Emens Auditorium in May, and were joined on stage by Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville.
“I absolutely loved collaborating with all the artists. And by ‘artists,’ I mean the producers, cinematographers, editors, composers, instrumentalists, and glassblowers,” Ms. Kolp said of her experience working on the project. “I got to work with composers. Composers! We made music for this thing. Incredible. But also, so challenging. I had to learn how to communicate my ideas into a whole new language with music.”
Ms. Denig said “working with David Letterman was amazing.”
“He was the sweetest guy. So genuine and just wanting to share his love of the arts with the students at Ball State. Truly, the most incredible experience I’ve had,” Ms. Kolp said of Mr. Letterman. “I’m so proud of what we accomplished, of this story that we get to tell, and for the relationships that I formed that will last a lifetime.”
In addition to the documentary, EMDD students created a transmedia project that included a social media campaign, a website, a virtual tour of the Marilyn K. Glick Center for Glass, and a glass art augmented reality scavenger hunt. These and other digital artifacts developed by students in the David Letterman Learning Experience were on display at the documentary premiere.
“Working with David Letterman and being part of the David Letterman Learning Experience has been the highlight of my experience in graduate school,” EMDD student Elena Lazoff said. “We have learned so much about cutting-edge technologies, user-centered design, and innovative approaches to storytelling. I am so grateful for Dave’s generosity and love for Ball State.”
The David Letterman Learning Experience (DLLE) is a student-led, interdisciplinary creative project that combines storytelling, technology, and art to give students across many disciplines and departments a project-based, hands-on experience inspired by Mr. Letterman’s contributions to the University.
Mr. Letterman, former host of the “Late Show with David Letterman” whose current Netflix-original talk show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman” has earned four Primetime Emmy nominations, has given back generously to his alma mater over the years, most notably through a lecture series. His name also resides on The David Letterman Communication and Media Building, which was completed and opened in 2007.