John LaLoggia and Laura Lujan (Bucknell University)
The Stories of the Susquehanna Documentary Series is a public history project in which Bucknell University students discover and unfold the stories of Susquehanna River Valley communities in a 26-minute documentary film. The first documentary in the series, “Utopian Dreams,” will be broadcast by public television station, WVIA. The students involved in this project work full-fledged in all aspects of the production process, including researching local history, pre-planning, and making final edits on Final Cut Pro X.
“Utopian Dreams” focuses on the aspirations of two separate communities to create their ideal societies. Joseph Priestley founded a society in the Northumberland County region that emphasized scientific and technological progress. The other community was founded by French Aristocrats, who were fleeing the French Revolution. Their perfect society was based in egalitarian thoughts and the idea that human kind should re-engage with nature. This documentary is beneficial not only for the students who created it but also for the community; they have both worked together in order to showcase the narratives that surrounded the Susquehanna River.