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UConn Idea Grants supports

By Rahul Darwar
On April 13, 2014

On Friday, April 11th a group of students, faculty and family members gathered in Laurel Hall to screen two student documentaries: "The Search for the White Rose," a film by 8th semester English major Peter Logue and the preview of "Free Time," a film by 6th semester art major David Pereira and 6th semester individualized/international development and human rights double major R.J. Anderson.
Both films were supported by the UConn IDEA grants, an initiative that funds students' self-designed work on a topic, project, problem, artistic product or performance or other entrepreneurial or creative idea of their choice. Program Coordinator Melissa Berkey says the goal of the IDEA Grant is to allow students to create "innovative, creative, independent" projects that do not necessarily need to be tied to a student's major or minor, but should be guided by a student's academic goals and future plans.
Peter Logue's visually stunning film, "The Search for the White Rose," tells the tale of the little known World War II German resistance group, The White Rose. Logue first learned about the group during a trip to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
The White Rose consisted of a group of University of Munich students in their twenties and Professor Kurt Huber who created and distributed a large number of leaflets and flyers beseeching the German population to rise up against the moral and ethical decay of the German nation under Nazi rule. The brave story of college students his own age resonated with Logue and propelled him to reach out to former UConn faculty member Dr. Oliver Hiob and begin researching the group, a process that culminated with a trip to Munich and the filming of his documentary. Logue said he hopes to introduce the story to other people in order to "show people the light in the darkest of times and how that message applies to the modern day."
A preview for "Free Time," a documentary about human trafficking, was also shown at the screening. Over the course of making their film, Pereira and Anderson realized that people have not received the whole story from their educations or the popular press. Through the course of creating their documentary, both Anderson and Pereira found they we learning a great deal about themselves and how they viewed complex humanitarian issues.
Pereira found that the project "snowballed, at a certain point it seemed like it was moving on its own" while Anderson recognized the "learning process is not what we expected, it's certainly something that as we've done, we've learned more and changed as people and began to see the world through varied perspectives."
The film, which will be finished in spring 2015, is part of a larger cluster of projects by both Pereira and Anderson that include a critical guidebook about the issues surrounding human trafficking, a poster campaign to raise awareness and a website to house all the projects. Pereira and Anderson hope the project not only elucidates the issues surrounding human trafficking, but also that it provokes people to take a "critical look on our expectations and how we view humanitarian issues."
Pereira and Anderson will continue to work on their project throughout their senior years, which will culminate in the screening of their completed documentary in spring 2015. Logue hopes to complete a screenplay about the White Rose and eventually make a feature film about the group.
Questions regarding the IDEA Grant Program can be directed to Melissa Berkey of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

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