The mission of HIF is to help non-traditional adult learners find a voice through the making of documentary films.
Humanities in Focus (HIF) is a two-semester documentary filmmaking course designed
to help non-traditional adult learners acquire the skills to make documentary films. The population is a diverse mix of cultures and ethnicities that have limited means
and great dreams. Humanities in Focus helps these students find a ‘voice’ to tell
their stories. Recently, students from Honors College at the University of Utah have
partnered with Humanities in Focus to work together with the adult learners to make
documentary films. It is a tremendous opportunity for both groups of learners.
To date, HIF is the only bilingual and multicultural documentary filmmaking course in the nation. Those who attend HIF’s program are taught fundamental skills relating to the technical and
artistic aspects of documentary film. These students later work together in small
groups to create their own documentaries, spotlighting important—and often local—social
issues. HIF provides an opportunity for films to be made that, in the words of an
HIF director, “tell stories about people who don’t have a voice.” The portrayal of these narratives empowers both the filmmaker and the community it
showcases, not only with the introduction of topics deserving attention, but with
a platform to engage others in the dissection and discussion of it.
This program is governed by a 5-time Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker, as well as a staff that is well-versed in the arts and education. Before release, all films are reviewed by HIF’s directors’ board and assessed to ensure their quality, accuracy, and overall condition. Following the screening of these films, community talkbacks are held in order to evaluate their immediate impact.