Honors college helps student show documentary to community


Jenna Gloy

A full house watches Chandler's documentary.

Isabelle Chandler, freshman psychology major, reached out to the Honors College to pursue her dreams as a filmmaker.

In 2015, Chandler spent four months observing and filming the Winter Guard team at Chesterton High School.

According to Chandler, Winter Guard is a competitive sport in which a team uses equipment such as rifles, flags, sabers and other creative things as well as body movement to create a show. Typically, the team’s shows include music, and the overall show usually has a story or meaning behind it.

Chandler became involved in the Winter Guard after her freshman year of high school. Chandler was a part of the props crew.

While Chandler assisted the team, she experienced the negativity that the performers felt from their fellow students on a daily basis.

“[Working with them] showed me how much work they did and how underappreciated they were,” Chandler said. “This needed to change.”

Chandler knew that something had to be done. Chandler decided to make a documentary about the team and their craft to show people how hard they worked to perfect their dance. Chandler used her skills in photography and videography as her means to bring about change.

After four months of filming practices, performances, and gatherings, Chandler set out to edit her work. It took her three months to produce her finished documentary titled “Seven: the Documentary of the Chesterton High School Winter Guard.”

Soon after finishing the documentary, Chandler found that, due to unknown reasons, her high school administrators were not eager to assist her in showing her film.

Two years later, Chandler was still working to show her documentary to the community. During the Spring 2017 semester of Chandler’s freshman year at PNW, she looked to the Honors College for help.

Brianna Buckner, the community involvement committee chair for the Honors College, was pleased to hear that Chandler wanted to plan an event.

“I knew she had made the documentary and I was excited that she wanted to show it and make an event out of it,” Buckner said.

The documentary was shown on March 3 on the Westville campus. There was not an empty seat in the room. Many members of the Chesterton Winter Guard team were also in attendance to support Chandler and relive their monumental season.

“It was awesome to see so many people there, especially people I didn’t even know! Seeing the team there was the coolest part,” Chandler said.

Chandler’s film received many laughs and tears from the audience.

“After the documentary, one of the team members came up to me with tears streaming down her face, which was so heartwarming to me,” Chandler said. “That meant that I really captured the emotions of their entire season.”

Along with filmmaking, Chandler enjoys photography, playing with her hedgehog, Pebbles, hanging out with her friends and watching Netflix. Chandler hopes to further her filmmaking skills as she pursues an education and career in psychology.