Land Grant Films, a documentary production program in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media, is partnering with the university’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy to create a documentary exploring the state of American politics through the lens of Baker’s life.
Baker grew up in Huntsville, Tennessee, and served as Senate majority leader, White House chief of staff under President Ronald Reagan, and US ambassador to Japan.
Howard Baker’s America, currently in production and expected to premiere in summer 2023, will use touchpoints from Baker’s career such as the Watergate hearings and the passage of the Clean Air Act to illustrate his brand of solutions-oriented politics. Interviews have already been conducted with former Senator Lamar Alexander and Reagan’s White House general counsel, A. B. Culvahouse.
“Land Grant Films is highly regarded, and this is an incredible opportunity to continue the legacy of Senator Baker, a man known for his ability to cross party lines, listen, and to find legislative solutions to difficult issues,” said Baker Center Executive Director Marianne Wanamaker.
Howard Baker’s America will be directed and produced by School of Journalism and Electronic Media associate professor and Land Grant Films founding director Nick Geidner with a crew composed of UT students ranging from first-year to graduate students.
“My students and I are so excited to get to highlight the story of Senator Baker,” Geidner said. “His legacy is truly an inspiration, especially in such a divisive time in American politics.”
The documentary will feature original interviews with historians, policymakers, and Baker’s friends and colleagues. It will be targeted toward younger people and will encourage them to get involved in public service and solving problems in their community.
The mission of Land Grant Films is to provide students with real-world documentary production experience while providing local nonprofit and community organizations with video assets they can use to raise funds and awareness. Most recently, Land Grant Films produced The Library That Dolly Built, a feature-length documentary about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
If you or someone you know has a story to share about Baker, contact Nick Geidner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Smith (865-292-7877, David_Smith@utk.edu)
Brooks Clark (865-310-1277, email@example.com)