West Virginia natives, Elaine, Tricia and Megan, first collaborated and co-founded WV Uncovered a P.I. Reed School of Journalism project that focused on telling stories from rural areas and trained reporters at small newspapers in the basics of multimedia storytelling.They will now focus their efforts in McDowell County where they will be working with an talented team of media artists all well positioned to launch the interactive experience.
Elaine McMillion: Director, Producer, Story Editor
Elaine McMillion is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose short and feature works focus on unique individuals with striking and inspiring stories. She uses techniques gained through journalism, in addition to experience in research, audio/video production and photography, to express a story visually through multiple mediums.
Raised in Southern West Virginia, Elaine has been fortunate to travel all over the world for work, school and pleasure. In these many places she has encountered individuals who know almost nothing about her homestate beyond Jesco White, hillbilly stereotypes and often mistake it for Virginia. These constant interactions with people show that the true stories of West Virginia have not been brought to a broad audience. She hopes that this interactive documentary will engage, educate and entertain people from all over the world while bringing the McDowell County community together to share stories and brainstorm for a better future. Elaine has won several journalism awards and received the “Director’s Choice” and “Audience Choice” awards at the West Virginia Filmmakers Festival for her documentary feature, Lincoln County Massacre. The Lower 9, the second feature she co-directed and co-produced recently won the Golden Circle Award in Los Angeles and was picked up for distribution by Third World Newsreel. Follow Elaine’s Tumblr, which features updates on the project, relevant news/stories and photos.
Jeff Soyk: Co-Producer, Art Director, Architecture & Design
Jeff Soyk is a Boston-based designer/media artist, originally from Westchester County, New York. He started his design career in advertising after receiving a BFA in New Media Design from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005. His design work has received WebAwards for brands such as Motorola, Maid of the Mist, and Nucor.
His passion for meaningful storytelling has lead him to reach outside of advertising and expand beyond the web into film and sound, as he recognizes the potential for engaging transmedia experiences that create a lasting impact. He is currently an MFA candidate through the Media Art program at Emerson College in Boston, MA and seeks to work on projects that explore the possibilities of modern media and strive to address important and meaningful social issues.
Through Hollow, Jeff is providing interactive UI and UX design, art direction and strategy as well as the project’s brand essence.
Nathaniel Hansen: Producer
Nathaniel James Hansen is an award-winning filmmaker and media artist. His directed works include nationally broadcast commercials, short and feature-length documentaries, short narrative films, episodic television, web-based media, and ethnographic film. His extensive background in theater, cultural studies and anthropology informs his creative work, often pushing him to take on and examine difficult socio-cultural, ethical and moral issues. His first documentary, Into a Heart of Darkness, was awarded the prestigious Cecil and Helen Rose Ethics in Communication award.
His visual style has attracted commercial clients like Johnson & Johnson, Covidien, and the Estée Lauder family of companies, as well as global non-profit organizations such as the UN, bottletop.org, sowersofhope.org and Wayuu.org. His 2010 documentary short “Profiles” series received praise online and at festivals in New York City, South Korea, and Barcelona, and his current documentary feature film The Elders (2012) is scheduled for festival release in 2012/2013. A recent commissioned short film, about Boston’s Chinatown, was screened at the White House in May 2010 and Nathaniel’s ethnographic film from New Caledonia in the Pacific Islands has been retained by the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
In 2011 he was Director, DP, and Editor on the documentary film and user generated video series for Row6.com, co-sponsored by the UN, Qualcomm, and the Joseph Campbell Foundation. He profiled 36 people from all over the world in a 7-week production that took him to dozens of cities in five countries on four continents. Six of the 36 short films screened at the prestigious Phillips de Pury art gallery in NYC.
Nathaniel earned a MFA and MA in Media Art from Emerson College, a BA in Cultural Studies and an AA in Theater both from BYU-Hawaii. Nathaniel currently serves as the Project Manager on Hollow, and is the producer and creative director of the interactive documentary Kupuna. Nathaniel is the author of “The Kickstarter Revolution: A Guide to Successful Crowdfunding” and is an adjunct professor of media art at Emerson College. Nathaniel resides in Boston with his wife Felicity Salmon and their two children.
Robert Hall: Lead Technologist
Robert Hall is a Boston-based technology director and fullstack web engineer who enjoys cutting teeth on bleeding-edge HTML5 technologies and media projects. With 10+ years experience in a rapidly changing and innovative industry, he has kept his skill set sharp working for prominent clients in multiple verticals, from gaming to education to film.
He has developed for renowned award-winning websites such as the Oxford English Dictionary, Harvard University, Berg & Bloomsbury libraries, and presidential campaign websites.Robert is often found looking across various technology and media thresholds, especially with an eye to the marriage of art and code. For Robert, code is art, a creative and inventive pursuit: cerebral, emotional, expressive, aesthetic. He has contributed to multiple open source and commercial projects, specifically ones that aim to expand the essence of the Internet as a publishing and entertainment tool. (He worked for Safari Books Online’s PubFactory platform for several years as the lead UI engineer.) His latest passion is Node.js and SocketStream.
Tricia Fulks: Copywriter & Researcher
Tricia Fulks is currently a freelance digital journalist in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. Residing in Shepherdstown, W.Va., Tricia was recently named one of the Online News Association’s MJ Bear fellows and now serves as story director of “Hollow” and a researcher and production assistant for PBS Frontline. Tricia has previously worked as city editor of The Martinsburg (W.Va.) Journal and editor of The Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Chronicle.
An award-winning journalist with honors from the West Virginia Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists, Tricia holds a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University and a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial from West Virginia University.
Tricia became interested in digital storytelling during her time at WVU when she co-founded the program West Virginia Uncovered, which was funded through grants from the Ford, McCormick and Benedum foundations.
Eric Lovell: Cartographer
Eric is a human-environment geographer with particular interests in dry land pastoral ecosystems of East Africa, mixed-methods research, and critical cartography/GIS. During the Summer of 2010 he conducted his own research in the Kilimanjaro region of northern Tanzania which examined the spatial and temporal dimensions of pastoral mobility and resource access among Maasai pastoralists. Eric used a suite of both quantitative and qualitative techniques to assess how both daily resource access and patterns of mobility during extreme events, such as floods, disease outbreaks, and droughts, have shifted over the past century. Eric will be putting his skills to use in Hollow as he works with the community to conduct participatory mapping. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle Miller: Community Outreach
Michelle Miller is a cultural organizer, participatory media artist and workers rights activist. A native of Fairmont, WV, she joined the Hollow team as Workshop Director, working with McDowell County residents to weave their stories and voices into the documentary.
A Practitioner Fellow at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, she is the co-founder of Coworker.org, a digital platform that will provide tools to any worker, anywhere to join with fellow employees and advocate for change in the workplace. Before launching Coworker.org, she spent a decade as Lead Cultural Organizer for the Service Employees International Union. In this role, she integrated the creative process into organizing, political and public engagement strategy through innovative partnerships between artists and workers. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek.com, Boing Boing, and Washington Post as well as the Guggenheim Museum and countless art shows, public spaces and conferences across the country.
Megan Bowers: Story Editor
Megan Bowers started her career in front of the camera, graduating with a degree in Broadcast News at West Virginia University. She worked as associate producer at WDTV, news director for U92 College Radio and head anchor for WVU News. After joining forces with Elaine and Tricia on West Virginia Uncovered, she realized her passion for online multimedia and never picked up the reporter’s mic again.
She moved to New York City and went from intern to content manager for shatterbox.com, a video-based social community of young professionals who’ve found their dream job. Megan spent the next two years enveloped in the start-up scene, creating documentary-style vignettes on entrepreneurs around the world.
Getting inspiration from these features, Megan took the leap to create her own videography company, Pictory Productions. She now plans to give back to the Almost Heaven home state she loves by highlighting it’s people and their stories.
Sarah Ginsburg: Story Editor
Sarah Ginsburg is a documentary filmmaker who graduated from Emerson College in 2011. She is fascinated by the overlooked and challenges herself to illuminate even the tiniest ingredients of our culture and environment. Her short documentary, 10,000 Trees (2012), has screened at film festivals across the country and received Maria Menounos’ Take Action Hollywood! Award at Emerson’s LA Showcase. Sarah currently devotes her time to several Boston-based documentary projects that tell significant stories and engage audiences in unconventional ways.
Jason Headley: Contributor
Jason Headley works as a writer, director and actor in San Francisco. He left the Mountain State in 1996 but he spent his formative years in Paden City, on the Tyler/Wetzel county line. He lived on the Tyler County side of town, with his whole extended family just blocks from the house where he grew up. Jason will be lending his writing skills and will be traveling to McDowell County to help the production team run community events and interview residents.
He recalls leaving his homestate in ”Dear West Virginia:”
Rheanna O’Neil Bellomo: Production Assistant
Rheanna is a freelance photojournalist based in Boston. Her strong reporting, writing, and shooting skills and passion for story-telling have led her to documentary work, which she hopes to pursue full-time. In May, she will complete her B.S. in Print and Multimedia Journalism and Photography from Emerson College.
Last year she was chosen for the American Society of Magazine Editors internship at Food Network Magazine, where she earned a byline, conducted extensive research, and assisted photo shoots. She is a regular contributor to Boston.com and has also written and photographed for Granite State News, where two of her in-depth features ran on the front page. A true journalist at heart, Rheanna believes in the power of telling deeply reported stories through the eyes of others to effect change. In working on “Hollow,” she intends to connect with community members, bring to light issues in the area, and help produce a piece of work that sparks action.