When Allen Hahn stumbled across Bloomington's Woolery Mill in late summer 2016, he knew the beautiful, industrial, rusting structure was begging for a film to be made there.
"I find abandoned spaces have a romance to them," said Hahn, associate professor and head of lighting design in the Indiana University Bloomington Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance. "I explored the grounds and just had to let someone know about this."
This led him to associate professor Elizabeth Shea, "the adventurous sort" as described by Hahn. Within two weeks, the pair had visited the mill, decided to work on a film together, and successfully submitted a proposal for one of IU's New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities grants.
"The mill was beautiful, with a lot of spaces for dancing and movement to take place," said Shea, who is also director of IU's Contemporary Dance program. "The grant was essential to getting the project started. Nothing could have been manufactured without the grant."
The New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities funding program supports IU faculty in their pursuit of path-breaking and transformative scholarly creative activity or investigation. Shea and Hahn used the bulk of the $90,000 grant to hire Venture Productions, run by IU alums Andrew Lee and Ryan Newman. This allowed them to film in 4K and work with a production company that had experience filming athletes and capturing movement.
"It's pretty extraordinary what we were able to accomplish with the New Frontiers grant," Hahn said. "We had access to the expertise we needed to make a high-quality film. We feel very privileged."
The end result was "Breath | Light | Stone." The 15-minute film was captured at Woolery Mill, which "set the stage for stone and steel and flesh and bone to become one, breathing life and beauty into decay and uncovering distant memories," according to the film's description.