Lawrence hosts brainstorming for future documentary

Melody Moberg

Ten students, four faculty members, and the chief executive of the Documentary Channel discussed democracy and media with two film producers from New York City Friday, Oct. 17. This discussion is the first step in generating a documentary addressing political apathy among youth today. The conversation was open for a public audience.
Partners in life and work, Catherine Tatge and Dominique Lasseur head Tatge/Lasseur Productions and its nonprofit counterpart, Global Village Media.
Tatge is an alumna of Lawrence who has gone on to direct and produce many documentaries. In 1988, she received an Emmy award for the television series “Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers,” which she produced and directed. In 2004 she directed “The Question of God,” a four-hour PBS series exploring the views of theologian C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud, a critic of religious belief.
Tatge and Lasseur were on campus to judge the More Light! student video competition. The discussion Friday morning was the first brainstorming session toward the new documentary, with the goal of reinvigorating political engagement among our generation.
Junior Stephen Anunson interned with Tatge/Lasseur Productions this summer, where he conducted research for the Democracy Project among other tasks. Anunson wrote the questions and made the agenda for Friday’s session as well as discussed the project with President Jill Beck, who recommended faculty members and students for the discussion.
Student participants were also recommended by Anunson and Kristi Hill of the career center, in the hopes of generating a diverse group of politically and civically involved students.
This was the first of four brainstorming sessions with students for the production company. Tatge and Lasseur intend to hold similar discussions in a private Connecticut high school, a public inner-city high school in New York and a larger university in New York. They may come back to Lawrence to continue the conversation next year.
The panel discussed questions of civic engagement and discussed how active citizens are made and whether the media can mobilize people into action.
The next phase of the project involves developing a Web site where selected individuals can continue the dialogue begun at the brainstorming sessions via posts and videos.
Lasseur explained that instead of following the usual procedure of only doing outreach after the development and broadcast of a documentary, Global Village Media intends to begin with outreach to develop ideas leading to the formation of the democracy documentary.
At the beginning of the brainstorming session, Tatge stated that she and Lasseur began Global Village Media to tell meaningful stories through traditional and new media, “to engage citizens in advancing the common good” and help create “a global community in conversation around critical issues of our time.”
“Our generation is primarily text-based,” she explained, “while your generation is much more visually oriented. Our project is an attempt to bring these worlds together.”
Students involved included Nora Taylor, Jess Vogt, Nicole Capozziello, Kyle Griffin, Sarah Bruemmer, Stephen Anunson, Harjinder Bedi, Chrissie Nelson, Kaleesha Rajamantri, Doha Ayad and Andy Francis.
Professors present were Monica Rico, William Hixon, Jerald Podair and Robert Beck.
Anyone interested in joining this discussion and helping contribute to the early stages of this documentary should contact Stephen Anunson. For more information, you can also visit