By TIM PRESTON / The Independent
ASHLAND — Adam Black gets visibly uncomfortable when asked to talk about himself or his work as a student of convergent media at Morehead State University, although he loses his tension as he discusses his documentary project, “Amy Compston: Feet on a Mission,” set to premiere Tuesday at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center.
“Her story grew on me after meeting her. I thought it would be a good story for people to hear,” said Black, 23, of Ashland, explaining he was filming for Compston’s website, amyforafrica.com, when he first met her and heard about the challenges she’d overcome in her personal life before dedicating her energies and abilities as a runner toward helping others.
Black has been working with The Independent for several months as a freelance videographer, Black said the project was his first attempt at a documentary. Encountering a few technical challenges along the way, he said he is pleased with the finished product, which has so far been seen only by Compston and a few close friends and supporters.
Compston and Mark Maynard, the editor of the newspaper, are co-founders of the Amy For Africa mission that supports mission work in Moyo, Uganda. The mission, coming up on its one-year anniversary, has raised more than $55,000. Compston’s story is at the center of the mission and the documentary.
Maynard was an executive producer of the documentary, working closely with Black, especially on the interviews. Several still photographs from all that happened during the Amy For Africa mission last year are also shown throughout the documentary.
“It was a lot of hard work. We did most of it locally,” he said, explaining he used the newspaper in Ashland, as well as the school newspaper office at Morehead State, for most of the on-camera interviews. With loads of source material to choose from, including Compston’s past as an addict as well as her participation in the Boston Marathon during a terrorist bombing in 2013, Black said one of the toughest aspects of the 55-minute production was choosing which parts would be most compelling for his unknown audiences.
“Both of those parts are in there,” he said regarding chapters about Compston’s personal history as well as the Boston marathon. “The hardest part was trying to pick out what would interest people the most. There was a lot of content.
”One thing I didn’t see as an issue was the lighting while shooting, but I like the way it turned out,” he added.
At the end of the documentary, Black said he hopes people who see it will carry away a message of hope.
“She was in a very dark place in her life, but she was able to overcome it and succeed and have a very bright future,” he said.
The documentary, will count toward Black’s final grade in his convergent media class, which he explained combines aspects of print and broadcast journalism. Black, a 2010 graduate of Russell High School, was recently married and reports his wife, Stacy, will serve as hostess for the premiere of his documentary, serving popcorn, nachos and hot dogs.
Black said his next photojournalism project remains a blank canvas for the time being.
“This was my first documentary and you might say it was a bit of a challenge, so I may take a break on documentaries for a while,” he said with a smile.
The documentary viewing is free. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. DVD copies of the documentary will also be available to purchase for a $5 donation to Amy For Africa.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2651.