"Paths of the Displaced," a documentary by Natalia Ledford, a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will show at Anderson Hall Nov. 14th at 7 p.m. The film explores the experiences of several Sudanese men and women who fled civil war in their home country and resettled in Lincoln. The showing is free and open to the public.
Ledford began the project as a 17-year-old senior at Lincoln High School. She became interested in Sudan after interviewing students for her school newspaper and decided to delve deeper. Her classmates' stories of struggle and resilience spurred her to continue researching the civil conflict ravaging the country.
Casting aside her pen and paper, Ledford picked up a camera and continued asking questions. Her initial idea was to videotape an interview with the Sudanese students, edit it on her MacBook and show it to classes at Lincoln High. The project took an unexpected turn after her mother asked a friend to give Ledford a tour of the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications studio. Mike Farrell, a producer at NET and journalism faculty member, liked her idea and offered to be her mentor on the project. He gave Ledford access to editing space at the NET studio and quickly realized her potential.
"Natalia started working with NET as a high school student," Farrell said. "She showed tremendous promise as a documentary filmmaker. This project is proof of her present and future ability."
Throughout her senior year in high school, Ledford spent an estimated 2,000 hours editing raw footage of her interviews, sorting through other footage and photos of Sudan and writing the script for the film. As the documentary's narrator, she expresses her personal grief and emotional connection with the featured students. Because of her deep personal connection, the film evolved into a heartfelt narrative, chronicling Ledford's feelings and the stories of the Sudanese students.
Ledford continues to study broadcast journalism. Her connection with NET influenced her choice to stay in state and attend the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at UNL.
"Our college is proud of Natalia's commitment to this documentary and her determination to see it through," said Charlyne Berens, interim dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication. "We believe this kind of work demonstrates the highest ideals of journalism -- the kinds of principles we teach our students in this college."
Ledford will study in Nairobi, Kenya, next spring and plans to extend her stay on the African continent into the summer.
Saturday | Nov. 14 | 7 p.m.
Anderson Hall | Rm. 15
Screening is free and open to the public