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Alum airs documentary on PBS after making film for class
In a film about creationism in Texas schools, alongside other prominent figures in American education history, UNT alum Scott Thurman questions the way “separation of church and state” is upheld in public schools.
Thurman’s documentar, “The Revisionaries,” won the special jury award at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012 and aired on PBS Jan. 29. The film documents the Texas Board of Education and the battle between evolution and creationism, as they revise the educational textbook standards.
After premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, it attracted the attention of PBS.
“I have friends from out of state that are mentioning the film after having seen it on PBS,” Thurman said. “It’s by far the most exposure I’ve had for anything I’ve worked on.”
Thurman began working on a master’s of fine arts degree at UNT in 2007 and graduated in 2010, after being rejected by the faculty in the jazz department in his efforts to profile a few students going through the music program. His backup project was “The Revisionaries.”
Thurman said his rejection by the jazz department faculty was oddly beneficial because it led him to this new path and eventual success.
“On your way through college, you’ll find many closed doors so plan on it and move quickly to other options,” Thurman said.
Film professor Melinda Levin said Thurman’s project began as a short film for his second year film production class. The scope of his project was widened and became his thesis film, then was further expanded and revised to become the film’s current form.
“Scott is a very talented and dedicated director who is committed to both the documentary form and to subject matter,” Levin said.
Executive producer Vijay Dewan said he had a great experience working with Thurman on the film and the two of them became close friends in the process.
“Scott does an amazing job at getting access,” Dewan said. “He gains people’s trust because he’s true to the story.”
Information about Scott Thurman and the trailer for the film can be found at http://www.therevisionariesmovie.com