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Mini Documentary studies HAPS Class

By Submitted, 10/5/18 5:44 PM

Filmmaker and Artist in Residence through the Arkansas Arts Council Michael Merritt films an interview with Hope Academy of Public Service Principal Dr. Carol Ann Duke as part of a mini documentary involving the HAPS “innovation lab” concept. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools

HOPE – Students in the Hope Academy of Public Service innovation lab recently worked with multimedia specialist Michael Merritt, of Little Rock, to produce a mini documentary about the unique class.
“It’s a precursor program to the EAST lab,” Merritt said.
Using techniques derived from virtual reality technology, three-dimensional graphics, digital surveying and digital editing, the class has been involved in documenting its “maker space” concept.
“Not only are they doing Science, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Science, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM), they’re also doing film,” Merritt said.
The project is being developed for HAPS social media and release on YouTube. He said the capacity for innovation in this generation of students is enhanced by the digital power available to them in the everyday world.
“These kids are walking around with more power than they had to go to the moon,” he said.
Releasing that capacity through hands-on application is the key to learning, Merritt said.
“You can take a hammer and hit someone in the head; but, you hit a nail with it, and you build something,” he said.
Merritt says he seeks to show students “an overview of the independent movie making process.”
An essayist, poet and short story author, Merritt is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and the New York Film Academy, in Manhattan, N.Y.
“I have written, directed and produced several short films and mini documentary films over the past seven years,” he said. “I am currently in production of my third book and editing several documentaries that highlight Arkansas’ rich heritage.”