PVAMU TV professor announces production of documentary series

Professor Terésa Dowell-Vest, director of film and television production in the department of languages and communication at PVAMU, recently announced her plans to produce the 10 episode documentary series, “The Leap, The Lane, and the Lens: Prairie View A&M University Lady Panthers Basketball and Film.” The documentary will follow the journey of the women’s basketball team in the 2018-2019 season as well as the budding filmmakers shooting the documentary series. The goal of the 10 episode docu-series is to shed light on the excellence of PVAMU’s student-athletes and creative artists on the court, behind the lens and in the classroom.

Modeled after the HBO Documentary series following the UCONN women’s program, PVAMU senior communications major Paige Thomas began directing the series with the January 5th basketball game against TSU, though initial filming began in November of last year. Thomas recently received an undergraduate research grant to film the series. In order to capture all the necessary footage for the series, Production crew member Attiana Brown, a junior communication’s major and the women’s basketball team manager, will be traveling with the team on away games to shoot footage, conduct interviews and capture the complete journey of the team.

“Although the production process is new for everyone involved, we’re taking it in stride, and I’m really enjoying gaining relevant creative, storytelling and leadership experience,” Thomas said. “I started off being interested in a career in film, but after directing two television shows last year, it opened my eyes to the great things the PVAMU communications department is doing.”

“The opportunity here is really beyond content creation it’s also hard skills, leadership, delegation, organization, time management, which are all skills that are essential for being a functional human being, in addition to being key elements will make you more successful career-wise,” Dowell-Vest said. “It’s been remarkable to watch (Thomas) work with her peers, and I’m incredibly proud of the fact that it’s a crew of all women, which was done purposely. I believe illustrating the complexities of being a female athlete and the relevancy of having an all-female creative team on this film will even outlast the basketball team.”

Once the crew wraps up production at the end of the basketball season, they plan to release the series all at once both on YouTube and Vimeo. Dowell-Vest noted that Thomas was awarded a grant for the project, which she has until the end of May to benefit from, so she would like to take advantage of having the time to produce a quality series that is cut together and is able to look polished.

“As a teacher who is constantly looking for opportunities to work with students, and as someone who has worked in the television industry for two decades, this project feels like legitimate filmmaking, which is exciting because it means that we get to produce content every day that could eventually serve as recruitment pieces for our program,” Dowell-Vest said.

By Emilia Benton