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Students Johnathan Kruis and Ian Harriman didn’t know each other before they came to Providence but have some things in common. They are both juniors. Both come from Arizona. Both love making movies.

“I always liked messing around with the camera, just recording,” Harriman said. Not until he came to Providence  did Ian find a regular and varied outlet for his interest and abilities. This year, he has been making short promotional videos for the Providence website homepage. Click here to see them. Kruis makes longer promotional videos for the Admissions Office at Providence, like this one featuring a campus tour by school mascot Piet Hein.

Making movies has been a big part of their Providence education. Kruis and Harriman have learned how to use filmmaking in a variety of areas. Their broad application of these skills is a keen demonstration of the type of student Providence aims to produce: a critical, creative citizen, in the words of Providence’s Dr. Ryan McIlhenny.

Making videos is not just a niche skill any more, in light of all the ways videos can be used as a powerful medium in advertising, churches, schools, and in communities. “I got the sense it [making films] was specialized, but it’s way more available. Everybody’s watching and making videos,” Harriman said.

Providence professor of art Bernie Chadwick has been especially formative in teaching Johnathan about filmmaking.  “I’ve moved more toward the artform and away from the narrative,” Kruis said. A short piece he created about San Francisco demonstrates Kruis’s development.

Johnathan has also put his skills to use in his English classes, for the Providence website, for his home church, making music videos, and creating films for his own enjoyment. For the past two years running, Johnathan has helped lead a team of Providence students to 1st prize in the Prairie Grass Film Challenge, Dordt College’s annual film contest.

In addition to the fun of moviemaking, both Johnathan and Ian have honed their leadership and organizational abilities. Professor of Communications Troy Lamberth has taught film and screenwriting classes over the past five years, often focusing on what a film involves from the beginning of the writing process to its release and distribution.

“He helped me understand all the organizational aspects involved in film. It can be a little daunting,” Kruis said.

Perhaps more acutely, Johnathan and Ian have both gained a firmer grasp on the harsh realities connected with working in show business. “People are working terrible jobs, dealing with unions,” Kruis said.  “So many people haven’t gotten opportunities in the industry.”

Ian said that he likes Los Angeles and Pasadena and the fact that the industry is close. Being geographically close to the center of moviemaking has no doubt made it easier to develop a more realistic sense of what it’s like. “I was naive about the fact that movies aren’t for everybody. I’ve learned to be sensitive about that,” Johnathan said. “I feel a strong calling in engaging this medium. I’ve learned that it’s wrong to deny that calling, but it’s also wrong to force that on other people.

Finally, Ian talked about not letting video documentation take over a his life, but to keep it in perspective. He referenced C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce when talking about his philosophy of art. “An angel says you painted, but you stopped painting because you didn’t like the sunset. I always want to capture stuff but if you do that, you end up exhausting yourself and you fail to enjoy God’s creation.”

Stay tuned for more short movies and promotional videos about Providence from both Jonathan and Ian in the coming semester!

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