In March of 2020, the trailer for The Library That Dolly Built premiered on the Today Show. The film was scheduled to premiere in more than 330 theaters across the country in April. Unfortunately, the pandemic cancelled those plan. We pivoted to an online premiered in December of 2020 and paired the premiere with an online fundraising campaign. The premiere was viewed by more than 1 million people and raised more than $250,000 for the Imagination Library.
The film was produced and directed by Land Grant Films director and University of Tennessee professor Nick Geidner and edited by UT video specialist Clinton Elmore. The rest of the crew was comprised of UT students, ranging from freshman to graduate students. The film is currently available on Amazon Prime, Apple Video, and Google Play. It is also available for free on Kanopy via many local libraries. We hope to do select in-person screenings after the pandemic.
Director/Producer: Nick Geidner
Writer/Producer: Abby Bower*
Editor: Clinton Elmore
Director of Photography: Brock Zych*
Associate Producer: Lindsey Owen*
Associate Producer: Story Sims*
Assistant Producer: Kayli Martin*
Assistant Producer: Samantha Wathen*
Audio Recordist: Ben Proffitt*
Additional Camera: Chet Gutherie*
Additional Camera: Isaac Ward*
Scoring: Jonathan Braun*
* Were UT students at time of production
The crew interviewed Dolly Parton after the dedication of the 100 millionth Imagination Library book at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
Land Grant Films partnered with Oak Ridge National Lab to create a half-hour documentary about the revolutionary neutron science program at ORNL. This student-led production traces the history of the neutron science program from the days of the Manhattan Project all the way to the current day research on climate change, COVID, and other pressing issues. The film is in post-production and will be released in Summer of 2022.
Reverend Harold Middlebrook is a civil rights icon in East Tennessee. This half-hour oral history - helmed by UT journalism professor Mark Harmon - introduces the audience to The Rev's story, from being arrested with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to reflecting on the current state of race relations in America. This film is in post-production and will be released in summer 2022.
Land Grant Films is partnering with with the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee to produce a documentary about the late Senator Howard Baker. The film - directed and produced by UT professor and LGF director Nick Geidner - will introduce the audience to Senator Baker and use touchpoints from his career to discuss the state of current political discourse in America. This project is currently in preproduction with the film expected to premiere in spring of 2023.
Land Grant Films is partnering with East Tennessee PBS and the Tennessee Valley Authority to produce a series of short videos aimed at 7 to 12-year-old children. The videos will introduce students to available jobs and careers in our community and relate those careers to concepts the are learning in school. This project is grant funded for the next two years and is still in development.
Here are some we especially enjoyed making.
This marks Land Grant Films' second Midsouth Regional Emmy nomination. ᎡᏘᏴ ᏥᎾᎾᏛᏁᎮ ᎠᏰᎵᏐ ᎾᏛᏁᎰ (She Carries On) was produced by Natalie Welch, Issac Fowler, and Tim Morris. The film aired on ETPBS and Kentucky Educational Television and was selected for numerous film festivals.
The Library That Dolly Build premiered exclusively on Facebook in the midst of the pandemic. The global premiere garnered more than 1 million viewers and raised more than $250,000 for the Imagination Library.
LGF films will be partnering with the Knoxville Medal of Honor Celebration, like we did in 2014, to document the 2022 Medal of Honor Convention to be held in Knoxville in September 2022.
"7 Days in America" follows a case worker from Bridge Refugee Services as she helps a family of Burundian refugees resettle in Knoxville after 12 years in a Tanzanian refugee camp. Watch the full documentary.
Defenders of the Dream is a half-hour program, comprised of three short documentaries by student filmmakers at the University of Tennessee. In September 2017, Defenders of the Dream aired on East Tennessee PBS in coordination with Ken Burns' epic film, The Vietnam War. Watch the full documentary.
Last year alone, nearly 1,000 children in Tennessee were born drug dependent. "Reaching Recovery: Pregnancy and Addiction in East Tennessee" examines this terrible phenomenon plaguing our state. Through interviews with medical experts, addiction specialists, policy makers, and, most importantly, the mothers whom have struggled with these issues, this half-hour film presents a comprehensive view of the problem and documents the struggles addicted mothers face in reaching recovery. Watch the full documentary.
Wounded veteran Dan Moneymaker says if it hadn’t been for Project Healing Waters he would be dead. "Teach a Man to Fish" tells the story of this amazing organization and its participants. This film was produced by University of Tennessee professor Nick Geidner and journalism students Clinton Elmore, Hannah Marley and Maxwell Baker.
Our mission is to provide University of Tennessee students with real-world experience in documentary storytelling while providing local non-profit organizations with videos assets that can be used to raise awareness and funds. We aim to do this by building strong service-learning relationships with local non-profit organizations and working with our students to tell the stories of the people and issues affected by these organizations.
In 2013, we launched the Medal of Honor Project as a service-learning program devoted to covering the 2014 Medal of Honor Convention held in Knoxville, Tenn. Our students produced a 45-minute documentary about the event that aired on WBIR, Knoxville's NBC affiliate. After the convention, we decided to continue doing documentaries, but to broaden our focus by working with various non-profit organizations to create a wide range of stories.
Associate Professor of Journalism
Assistant Director &
Video Production Specialist
Graduate Assistant &
Journalism Graduate Student
Our senior leadership guides the dozens of students involved in our projects every semester. We're also grateful for our advisory board's help in shaping our organization & improving our films.
Anchor & Reporter
Director & Owner
FWD: Video & Promotion
Director & Professor
UT School of Journalism & Electronic Media
If your organization is interested in supporting this project, please contact our director Prof. Nick Geidner at ngeidner (at) utk.edu or fill out the contact form below. We also appreciate personal donations of any size. Individuals interested in donating can either contact Prof. Geidner or donate online by clicking the link below.
Are you a student looking to get involved, a non-profit organization with an amazing story, or a individual wanting to support our work? Feel free to contact us below or email Prof. Geidner.