PHOTOS COURTESY OF ETL’S FACEBOOK PAGE • ETL works on filming their next production with a member of the Red Lake Nation Band of Chippewa Indians (above). The ETL logo is featured below.

By Gabe Hance
[email protected]

With over 20 different majors, 18 members and hundreds of different ideas,
passions and strong opinions on condiments, the documentarians of Extending the Link (ETL) chose water for their 11th annual featured documentary topic.

“There are so many important aspects of water we could focus on. Privatization, water access, sanitation and pipeline projects,” senior co-director Grace Lindquist said in ETL’s latest video on their YouTube channel. “We feel it is important to focus on the interconnectedness between humanity and this
resource that provides so much for us.”

This year’s film will feature water activists in India and Native Americans from the Red Lake Reservation.

Choosing the topic last May, the film crew has already begun shooting their documentary this fall on the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Reservation.

“Filming with the Chippewa was an eye-opening experience to see how different a place or environment is when people truly value nature first,” junior Will Johnson said. “Capturing the pure sound and images of nature, uninterrupted by human interference was incredible and humbling.”

The documentarians also interviewed Sharon Day, the Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, an organization whose mission is to improve the health and education of indigenous people through a variety of programs.
Over winter break, six members of ETL will travel to India. They will film and interview non-governmental organizations working to stem pollution and creating new infrastructure in Kolkata.

“While in India, we hope to see where the story will take us,” senior videographer George Dornbach said. “We’ll do this by listening.”

The film makers will continue filming in the spiritual capital of India in the city Varanasi.

There, they plan to interview and film Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites.

With the premiere approaching on April 19, countless hours of filming and editing are still needed for a finished project. In recent years, ETL has switched their style of narration in their films. Starting in 2014, the documentary team switched their format from their own narration to only narration from the individuals being interviewed.

“We removed all personal narration from our film during Ger Kler: A Journey of Untold Strength during the 2014-2015 school year,” Lindquist said. “We are providing the outlet for these stories to be heard, and we want to make sure these stories are being portrayed purely and authentic as possible.”

In the meantime, the members of ETL will hold weekly meetings and several fundraising events in local breweries in the next coming weeks. More  information will be released via email and can be found on ETL’s Facebook page.

“We are looking to host local fundraising and promotional events in our community to embolden our mission,” sophomore event coordinator Alexis Solheid said, “The films promote community and dialogue both internationally and locally and we want our community to feel involved and able to support a great cause.”

For the documentarians, ETL is more than an extracurricular activity or a resume booster—it is an opportunity to listen and share untold social justice issues.
“It’s the most important thing we can do as storytellers, documentarians and students of life,” Dornbach said. “I’m looking forward to hearing people’s stories, and to bring them back to our CSB/SJU community upon our return.”