Dave Kelly, director of Advanced Media Production (AMP) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and his staff have won a second accolade recognizing their work for the production of the documentary titled “Panama Canal Expansion: The Battle for Jobs and Cargo.”
Kelly is receiving a 2012 Hometown Media Award on his staff’s behalf from the Alliance for Community Media (ACM).
ACM is a national organization of community, educational and governmental TV producers. Its Hometown Media Awards honor and promote community media and local cable programs distributed on public, educational and governmental access cable television channels. National awards are presented to creative programs that address community needs, develop diverse community involvement, challenge conventional commercial television formats and move viewers to experience television in a different way.
Eligibility requirements for the “Panama Canal Expansion” documentary were met by having it air on Beach TV, the CSULB 24/7 local cable channel.
Kelly and his crew were previously honored for their work on the documentary with an ACM-sponsored regional Western Access Video Excellence Award in October.
“As a documentary filmmaker, it’s always gratifying to me to be able to use the tools of filmmaking to tell a story in a way that is concise, clear and also historically relevant, and that’s what this was,” said Kelly. “It’s also a story that people are always fascinated by. If you mention the Panama Canal to anybody, their ears perk up and there’s a romantic, idealistic aspect of that—the whole adventure of going down to Panama and digging that canal and connecting the world from east to west and having the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific come together.”
A historically-based piece, the 19-minute “Panama Canal Expansion” film also focuses on the canal’s current construction efforts and the potential impact the culmination of those efforts will have on global trade and shipping routes.
The film presents a historical chronology of the quest to find a central waterway connecting the eastern and western hemispheres, resulting in the canal opening at the beginning of World War I. In recent years the Panamanian people voted to fund the expansion of the canal, allowing a third set of locks to be constructed. The new locks will more than double the size of ships and the number of containers which can pass through the channel and construction is scheduled to be completed in 2014, exactly 100 years after the Panama Canal initially opened.
Kelly said his sincere interest in the Panama Canal made working on the documentary a labor of love, not just for him, but his crew as well.
“The Panama Canal is interesting,” said Kelly. “I wanted to know more about it and I pursued it in terms of research, and our team here at AMP did the best we could because we enjoy the work and the subject matter, and that was reflected in the award we won. The awards are a pat on the back that occur after the fact. I work on projects like this because I find them fascinating and I have an intellectual curiosity about a lot of things, and when I find out about something like this I always have a desire to learn more about it.”
Along with Kelly, who was the documentary’s writer, producer and narrator, AMP’s Dave Ohl served as the video photographer, post-production editor and graphics effects animator while Craig Walker conducted field recording and image digitization.
The documentary was initially prepared for and presented at CSULB’s Center for International Trade and Transportation Point/Counterpoint event at the Carpenter Center in October 2010. The event included a discussion by experts in global trade and logistics about the impact of Panama Canal expansion. The film helped frame the issues for the discussion that followed. Ultimately, the documentary is not just about the Panama Canal; it’s also about the various trade routes in development now across the world. Audiences have responded positively to how the program pulled together all the related concerns.
“What makes me most proud of this documentary is the fact that we were able to take a large historic event, which is the creation of the original Panama Canal, and expand the history of that into the current day, including the efforts to reinvigorate the canal and the impact that will have on everybody who is involved in world trade,” said Kelly. “We were able to take 100 years of history of world trade and the fascinating history of the canal itself and distill it into a way that people could relate to it and understand it, and put the whole picture in context.”