David Letterman visited Ball State University’s campus May 1 to present “Clear Reception,” a student-produced documentary about the Glick Center for Glass.
The Glick Center for Glass was the result of a $5 million donation from Maryland Glick, a notable artist in Muncie, the documentary stated. Its doors were opened to the public in 2011 with a variety of facilities used in the creation of glass art. The center is currently the only one of its kind in the state, offering both a bachelor’s and master’s of fine arts according to the documentary.
Ball State President Geoffery Mearns introduced Letterman stating “he has invested his time in projects that he cares about and with people who interest him.”
The documentary, “Clear Reception,” was written and directed by Ameliah Kolp, 2022 Ball State graduate, and produced by Faith Denig, 2022 Ball State graduate, with students in a variety of different disciplines across the university. Both Kolp and Denig were guests at the premiere and answered questions from Letterman.
The film follows Letterman, who wraps his phone in layers of colorful duct tape, and then after seeing one of his wife’s glass sculptures, gets the idea to contact the Glick Center to recreate his phone as a glass sculpture.
Letterman said the staff and faculty at the Glick Center “couldn’t have been more engaged in this nonsense, and I kept thinking there’s something wrong here because nobody ever says anything good about my phone … they knew exactly what they were doing.”
The staff and students take the viewer through the process to accomplish the task and share their personal experiences as glass blowers, an experience that Letterman described as “thrilling because the possibilities with glass are infinite and to be a part of that process, big or small, is fascinating.”
After the film, Letterman led a panel with Kolp and Denig. Letterman also included producer and director Morgan Neville in the panel.
Letterman introduced Neville as “a master filmmaker and academy award winner.”
Neville has worked on a number of documentaries, namely “20 Feet from Stardom” which won an Oscar for best documentary feature in 2014. Letterman and Neville also worked together on another documentary, “Bono and the Edge.”
The latter part of the conversation between the four involved Letterman discussing the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) in fields such as music.
When discussing the impacts of AI in this field, Letterman stated that “music has now become synthetic.”
One of the attendees of the event was Joshua Fisher, an assistant professor at the Center for Emerging Media and Design and Development (CEMDD).
“My students have worked on all of these things around you here,” Fisher said, gesturing to the various projects developed by students of the program.
He also mentioned that he wanted to support the work of his students and of the department.
“Helping students realize their vision, by helping them with the technical part is why I became an educator,” Fisher said about his experience in working with students on the project.
Letterman ended the event by recognizing Neville, Kolp and Denig as the “man and … the women who do a wonderful job telling stories.”
This program was the latest installment of the David Letterman Learning Experience, according to the press release on Ball State’s website, “an annual student-led interdisciplinary creative project that explores the intersections between storytelling, technology and art.”
The film was also a collaborative effort among the Department of Media, CEMDD and the schools of Art and Music, according to the press release with students filling roles as the tech crew, designer, editors and composers who created a score for the film.
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