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Documentary from alum receiving positive reviews

Kenneth Portter stands with two diplomas

Kenneth Porter '14, M.S. '16

Alumnus Kenneth Porter is receiving accolades for the documentary he made while at Illinois State University.

A 2016 graduate with a master’s degree in communication, Porter opted to complete his thesis using the new documentary format. His film Blackbirds: African American Identity and Academic Achievement, A Documentary Film follows the experience of two male undergraduate students—one performing well academically, and other facing challenges. The film “examines how their status within the African American community on campus influences their academic success,” said Porter.

The film has been accepted at several film festivals, including the National Communication Association’s Social Justice Film Festival, and is receiving positive reviews.

Here is the current list of exhibitions where Blackbirds screened:

  • Gary International Black Film Festival, Documentary Short, 2016, Gary, Indiana
  • Social Justice Film Festival, 2016, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • ISSoTL 2016: Telling the Story of Teaching and Learning, Los Angeles, California
  • Ethflix Film Festival 2016, Decatur, Illinois
  • 10th Annual Documentary Project Film Festival, 2016, Normal

Film Festival submissions, judging in process:

  • Socially Relevant Film Festival, 2017, New York, New York

Kenneth’s thesis chair was Associate Professor of Communication Maria Moore.