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University partners with movie industry on documentary

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Under a partnership between higher education and Hollywood, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will take above-the-title credits as “presenting sponsor” for a feature-length documentary film entitled “In the Mind of the Maker.”

Exploring the science behind creativity, the movie tells the story of an 85-year-old master boat builder from deep in the Atchafalaya Basin region of French Louisiana.

“Some viewers only know Cajun country from watching ‘Swamp People,’ ” said C. E. Richard, the film’s director and a professor of English at UL Lafayette. “But our boat builder has some surprising things to teach us about the science of memory, imagination, and how the brain works.”

“In the Mind of the Maker” draws heavily from leading-edge research taking place at UL Lafayette. The University is recognized for its scholarship in both the humanities and the sciences, particularly in the field of visualization technology.

“Our film delves into cultural studies and Louisiana folklore, but it also concerns how human beings create images and how current technologies can mimic those brain functions,” Richard explained. “UL Lafayette is known for research in these fields, and so it makes good sense to have the university as the project’s chief sponsor.”

Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, interim vice president of Research at UL Lafayette, called the documentary “a great opportunity to showcase the broad range of research taking place at the university. It shows how studies in the arts, the humanities, and the sciences can complement each other.”

Delivered in English and French by the production company, Mind of the Maker Films LLC, the movie is slated for international release in 2014. Unlike many documentaries, it features significant computer generated imagery elements, created in partnership with Pixel Magic, a leading visual effects company whose work includes “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “Secretariat” and “The Help.”

Executive Producer John Durel said the movie is a combination of art and business. “So my goal is to make sure that the sponsors underwriting this movie receive a solid promotional value. That includes not only our current corporate sponsors, but now also UL Lafayette and the university’s benefactors within the business community.”

Durel added that sponsorship opportunities are available. He can be reached at (337) 230-0450 or