Fellows Corner: Cheryle Franceschi

ine emerging documentary filmmakers are currently participating in Docs In Progress’ inaugural Fellowship Program. As part of this eight month program, we have asked our Fellows to tell us a little bit more about themselves and their projects through our blog.  

First up is Cheryle Franceschi, a local producer who specializes in environmental education projects through her company Por Eco Productions.  She is at work on a documentary about Maryland’s first state forester.


Common Grounds

by Cheryle Franceschi

For seven years, I “leaned out” from the Washington, DC media market and devoted myself to my two children and husband.   During that time, my kids and I spent many a day at either a nature center, nearby park or state forest.  Along the way, we became better stewards of our natural world.  As my two little darlings grew, I noticed I was being “leaned in” the direction of environmental education.  Pushing me forward was the guided hand of Mother Nature herself.

Then last year, while producing an integrated curriculum video entitled Conservation Kids, I was introduced to the accomplishments of Maryland’s first state forester, Fred W. Besley.  During his 36-year tenure, he established a program of scientific forest management. Very soon after completing Conservation Kids, I produced the two-minute promotional trailer of Maryland’s First State Forester: The Fred W. Besley Story.  I am in the production stage of the one-hour documentary.  Next is to explore and capture the ways forestry-conservation practices are used by classroom educators, woodland owners, and outdoor leaders alike.  You, your children, my children, and future Marylanders will benefit from becoming familiar with Besley, and his principals of forestry conservation.

Just as Docs In Progress “creates community through documentary,” the Father of Maryland Forestry created a community by means of forestry.  The Docs In Progress Fellowship Program is supporting me while I branch out as a documentary filmmaker and new-style fundraiser, as I work to raise finishing funds to complete my project.  Over the next six months of cohort meetings and facilitated discussions, my toolkit can only get bigger and better. As I gain momentum, I am certain to hearken back to my days at Discovery Communications and WUSA-TV, Channel 9. At the same time, I will be settling into my new home away from home, The Docs In Progress "Documentary House."  An environment for raising my creativity, focusing my lens to infinity, and seeing the forest for the trees.

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