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A student-produced documentary that chronicles an adventure race through “Alaska’s Playground” was recently accepted into the U.S. Drone Film Festival. The behind-the-scenes documentary, The Making of Expedition Alaska was created by the University of Cincinnati Production Master Class and focuses on the process that went into filming a 350-mile, seven-day adventure race in the Kenai Peninsula.

Students also created a documentary series titled Expedition Alaska which features the grueling race and beautiful Alaskan landscape. Two episodes of the series will premiere at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton from 7:30-9:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 27.

As previously reported, seven UC students traveled to Alaska in the summer of 2015 to work with two UC professors and a cadre of media professionals to film the documentaries. The Making of Expedition Alaska was nominated for Best News/Documentary in the New York City Drone Film Festival earlier this year and was recently accepted into the U.S. Drone Film Festival, where it will be screened April 30.

The UC Production Master Class used drones to film and chronicle the Expedition Alaska Adventure Race through the Kenai Peninsula. Photo provided by the UC Production Master Class.

The UC Production Master Class used drones to film and chronicle the Expedition Alaska Adventure Race through the Kenai Peninsula. Photo provided by the UC Production Master Class.

Featuring the pristine wilderness of the Kenai Peninsula, Expedition Alaska captures stunning scenery of ocean kayaking, whitewater rafting, glacier trekking, rock climbing and mountain biking during the Expedition Alaska Adventure Race — a qualifying race for the Adventure Racing World Series. The race pits four-person teams, comprised of the world’s best endurance athletes, against each other as they navigate by map and compass through the remote and beautiful terrain.

The UC Production Master Class crew gets wet while whitewater rafting during the Expedition Alaska Adventure Race. Photo provided by the UC Production Master Class.

The UC Production Master Class crew gets wet while whitewater rafting during the Expedition Alaska Adventure Race. Photo provided by the UC Production Master Class.

Expedition Alaska‘s premiere at Esquire Theatre is a FREE event and open to the general public. It is sponsored and supported by the UC Office of the President, Center for Film and Media Students, UC Forward Initiative, College-Conservatory of Music’s Electronic Media Division, and UC Alumni Association.

The Production Master Class is a collaborative, experiential learning initiative that involves students, faculty and alumni from CCM’s Electronic Media Division, the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning’s School of Design and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Communication.

UC students, professors, and a cadre of media professionals traveled to film "Expedition Alaska." Photo provided by the UC Production Master Class.

UC students, professors, and a cadre of media professionals traveled to film “Expedition Alaska.” Photo provided by the UC Production Master Class.

Since its inception in 2012, the PMC has provided a transformative “hands-on” experience for more than 100 students from nine different academic programs at UC, taking them out of the classroom to connect with nationally recognized professionals from the film and television industry.

“The idea was to totally re-invent the college classroom,” notes UC President Santa Ono, “focusing interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students on real world projects.”

NBC’s Universal Sports Network nationally broadcast the 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary series, produced by the PMC from 2012-15. Focusing on a grueling 275-mile adventure race through the California wilderness, the documentary was nominated by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award in the professional category of Best Documentary. Additionally, the student design team was recognized with a Silver Award at the prestigious Graphis New Talent Annual 2015, an international student design competition.

Join us for the FREE premiere of Expedition Alaska at the Esquire Theatre Wednesday, April 27, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.!

Racers from the Expedition Alaska Adventure Race trek up a glacier in the Kenai Peninsula. Photo provided by the UC Production Master Class.

Racers from the Expedition Alaska Adventure Race trek up a glacier in the Kenai Peninsula. Photo provided by the UC Production Master Class.

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Background on the Production Master Class
The PMC is an interdisciplinary collaboration at the UC. It involves CCM Professors Kevin Burke and Lorin Parker, DAAP Professor Yoshiko Burke and Brian J. Leitten, UC Alumnus and Emmy award-winning producer. The initiative was originally made possible by a grant from the UC Forward Collaborative that supports experiential learning and is part of the UC Academic Master Plan. In 2015, the PMC received additional support from the Office of the President and the Center for Film and Media Studies at UC, and external sponsorship by Switch Sunglasses. The PMC is offered as a class through the Electronic Media Division and School of Design; both programs provide the facilities and staff support.

During the production, students take on the roles of supervising producers, story producers, editors, scriptwriters, music supervisors and narrators. Electronic Media Professor Kevin Burke and Brian Leitten serve as Executive Producers on the documentary, advising and managing the project while providing professional guidance and feedback during all phases of the film’s development. Leitten joins Professor Burke for each class session via video conferencing from New York, where he serves as Director of Production at VEVO. Communication Design Professor Yoshiko Burke supervises students in the creation of all motion and graphic design content, and Electronic Media Professor Lorin Parker provides guidance and expertise to students regarding the audio mix and sound design. At each stage of the project, the students are held to the standards and expectations of professionals in their discipline, providing them with invaluable industry experience.

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