FRANKLIN, Ind. -- A man who helped transform the Indianapolis from 'India-no-place" to a booming metropolitan community is the subject of a new documentary produced by Franklin College students. The hour-long documentary shares the life and legacy of former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, who served as a U.S. senator, representing our state from 1977 to 2013.
John Krull, the Director of the Pulliam School of Journalism at Franklin College, says the project includes the work of 13 students who are part of TheStatehouseFile.com -- a news website powered by Franklin College students in partnership with WFYI.
"Proud is a small word for how I feel about them and what they've done," says Krull. "The work they do dazzles me. They inspire me on a daily basis."
Part of the reason Krull selected Lugar for this documentary has to do with Lugar's impact on this state and his accessibility. Lugar was one of Krull's first political interviews as a student. He knew he would be open to students and it would be a great educational experience.
"They were able to spend a lot of time with historic figures," Krull said. "They can see history is made by human beings, and that can be transformative for a young person."
Franklin College student Shelby Mullis served an important role as an assistant producer on the project and also as a videographer. It's a project months in the making. Mullis says she helped with the first interview with Lugar in Washington D.C. back in January 2017. Students traveled again to the nation's capitol for another interview with him the following winter.
"I was never a huge history buff," Mullis said. "Growing up I paid attention to the news and I had heard his name before. But being able to have multiple contacts with him, to where he knows my name, I've learned so much about his legacy in both Indiana and the United States."
It means a lot to Mullis that Lugar is making the trip to Franklin College for the premiere.
"Anytime you see a final product of your work, you are always proud to see it all come together," Mullis said. "It means a lot to me that he is taking time to come see it."
For many students working on the documentary, they are just now learning about the impact of Lugar's time as an Indianapolis mayor. They are getting an in-person history lesson of how he helped transform our quiet city into a model for urban development years ago.
"It's ancient history," jokes Krull. "And it's somewhat eye-opening to them."
The promotions video for the documentary offers a glimpse into what the film is all about. Krull's voiceover says that Lugar is and always has been a quiet man, a serious fellow, reserved in demeanor.
It goes on to say this quiet man did in fact become a politician and a popular one, serving longer in the U.S. Senate than any other Hoosier.
Mullis says she learned a lot from the project by watching how Krull handles himself during interviews. She says a moment that really stood out to her was when Krull interviewed Lugar about his tough loss to Richard Murdock in the Republican Primary of 2012.
She also gained skills in photography, feeling more confident behind the lens.
"It was really an honor to work on this project," Mullis said.
Krull offered a few hints as to what the documentary, Richard Lugar: Reason's Quiet Warrior, will be about. He says it is less about party politics and more about the man and his long career in government. Viewers can better understand the impact he made on Indianapolis as a mayor. It will also touch on his long history serving our country as a senator. But most of all, it will show his strength as a leader.
The premiere of the documentary will take place at Franklin College on Monday, April 30th at 7p.m. in the Branigin Room of the student center. The documentary will air on public television on May 21st.
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