Oct. 28, 2002
Calvin Video Series Honored
A three-part video series produced by the Calvin Media Foundation at Calvin College has won a prestigious national award. "Eyes Wide Open," a series based on a book on popular culture by Calvin professor William Romanowski, earned a 2002 Aegis Award, a national video competition featuring peer judging by fellow directors, producers, writers, editors, cameramen and other professionals from the video industry. Past winners include the Discovery Channel, Microsoft, Warner Brothers, TV stations across the country, other colleges and universities and social service agencies. Only about one in five entries wins an Aegis Award.
The Calvin Media Foundation has sold the Eyes Wide Open video series to a number of colleges and universities around the country. It also is targeted for use by adult Sunday school groups, high school and college church youth groups and more. In fact, the video series began as one component of a new course by the Student Life Division at Calvin College designed to introduce first-year students to the idea of cultural discernment, recognizing that popular culture is one of the most influential forces in contemporary society.
Says Romanowski: "While most students at Christian liberal arts colleges spend a good amount of time watching movies and television programs or listening to music, they do not necessarily engage popular art and culture as Christians. This is also true of adults who harbor Christian convictions and also consume their share of the mainstream media. While they think their faith should matter when it comes to popular art, in the absence of distinctly Christian critical tools, many simply defer to vague personal tastes and preferences. For some, 'Christian' means simply the absence of depictions of sex, violence or profanity. This video series employs a different approach. The central question it addresses is: How might a Christian faith perspective shape our appreciation and evaluation of popular artworks?"
Thus the purpose of the video series is "to provide an additional resource for Christians who are searching for a faith-based criticism of the popular arts and culture."
The videos are closely related to the book in content and are intended to bring the key ideas and themes of Eyes Wide Open to life visually by featuring clips from over 120 movies, TV programs and music videos for analysis. "These are educational videos that are loaded with ideas and information," says Romanowski. "They are meant to be engaging while also generating substantive discourse."
In addition to writing the book, Romanowski also narrated the award-winning video series. Talented Calvin video producer Rob Prince produced and edited the videos and also coordinated a trip to Los Angeles where some scenes were filmed on a Hollywood lot. Calvin vice president for student life Shirley Hoogstra was executive producer of the series.