Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sandusky Scandal Propels Film Prof Back to Penn State

It's a different kind of combat zone than the one profiled in Postcards from Tora Bora, Kelly Dolak's documentary about the impact of the Afghanistan war. But the end result, No Act of Ours, about the Penn State sex abuse scandal, will no doubt be just as explosive when it is released in 2013.

Dolak just raised an additional $15,000 via Kickstarter to take care of some crew payments and start editing the footage she has accrued over the past seven months. Based in Ithaca, New York, she graduated from Penn State in 1996. Dolak went on to earn her M.A. from Rutgers and currently teaches film at New Jersey's Ramapo College. She also produced Our Lips Are Sealed, John Gallino's documentary about a pair of Jersey boys trying to break the world record for longest continuous kiss.

Dolak recently told a reporter for the Altoona Mirror that she dropped everything when the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke last November so that she could drive down to her Alma Mater. Once there, she quickly discovered a powerful narrative angle:

"The main focus is the question of loyalty," she said, bringing up the documentary's tagline - 'Does loyalty limit the reach of our morality?' - a quote from one of the film's interviewees. "I noticed that word was being repeated in almost every interview I conducted. It was either 'I'm still loyal to Penn State' or 'I'm not loyal to Penn State anymore. I'm really disappointed with what happened here.'"

A chunk of No Act of Ours will focus on a pair of student journalists for the campus blog Onward State. Dolak followed Kevin Horne and Ryan Beckler as they covered the Sandusky trial. She will continue to tail them closely during the final months of production. The total production budget for this enterprising film professor's latest sideline project is pegged at $200,000.

[No Act of Ours]

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