The Amerikans: Feature Documentary Final Filming

by Amerikans

Impact Area: Arts, Education

Campus Area: Arts and Sciences, Conservatory, Student Life, Other

Funding for this Project ended on 2015-11-01


Raised out of $4,000




Days Remaining

How will your project impact Oberlin?

The series of short documentary films, The Amerikans, showcases the talents and convictions of Oberlinians to the wider world, extending into the 21st century our shared traditions of artistic excellence and commitment to the goal of establishing deep communal connections across the divides that often separate us as citizens and individuals. The series celebrates the extraordinary inner lives of ordinary people: Each vignette was made in close consultation with its subject, who was always given co-authorship. They represent a unique experiment in filmmaking based in a particular community and designed to bolster that community's self-awareness of mutual belonging.

The films were primarily created by three Oberlin graduates—Jeffrey Pence ’88, Mika Johnson ’00, and Micha Hilliard ’11—and were made possible by support from the College and Conservatory, the Office of the President, grants from several funders, gifts in kind from numerous community members, the willingness of its subjects, and, finally, by the contributions of dozens of current and former students. All have found in the project a unique way to intimately express Oberlin values of inclusiveness, inquiry, service, and artistry.

The fifteen short episodes of The Amerikans were released for free online and have achieved a worldwide viewership and excellent critical reception. The shorts have been seen in virtually every nation in the world, have their own Youku channel in China (with 1,000,000+ views), and have been invited to screen in festivals and competitions in the U.S. and abroad.

To realize the full potential of The Amerikans, its parts need to be stitched into a whole, through both editing and the inclusion of original footage in which the different subjects interact for the first time. This project seeks to make that possible by contributing to the costs of the final shoot (and potentially, for other post-production needs), that will result in a feature-length documentary. A film of this scope can circulate on the international festival circuit and potentially reach a much vaster audience through a variety of platforms (theaters, broadcast, etc.). It is in this format that the talents and convictions of the Oberlin community can be most widely displayed. The feature-length documentary will enhance Oberlin's reputation and attract like-minded supporters and potential students to Oberlin.

  • avatar-male
    Jeffrey Pence

    Class of 1988

  • avatar-male
    Mika Johnson

    Class of 2000

  • avatar-male
    Micha Hilliard

    Class of 2011

$ 50

Laura A. Larson

$ 250


Good luck turning "The Americans" into a feature documentary!

$ 25

Alberto Zambenedetti

$ 100

Lynn R Osborn

William, thanks for your note and good luck with your project

$ 100

Barbara O DAVID

Wil: what an excellent project, I am so glad that you are involved. Hope it evolves the way you want it to. Please show it to me when it is done, ok? love, Aunt B'sie

$ 150


$ 100

Rashna W Richards

$ 75

Peter Grebus

$ 20

Daniel Tam-Claiborne

Great show -- keep up the good work!

$ 10

Carrie Frey

$ 100

Azita Osanloo

$ 20

Guillaume Saindon

$ 20

Benjamin Tobin

Working with Mika in my time at Oberlin was a life changing experience. I learned about film by making them with him.

$ 10

Dale A Heinen

$ 5


Can I still give to this project?

November 1, 2015

Once funding has ended, can I still give to this project? 

Yes! Visit, select "other" as the designation, and then specify which project in the space below.Can I still give to this project?