Poe’s Eureka in Dialogue #4

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by
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The director of Poe’s Eureka is Dr. Yitna Firdyiwek, an educational technology specialist living in Charlottesville, Virginia.

ybf2u-1Recently, he shared his thoughts on the process of creating film, in a piece entitled: Poe (and) Teaching (and) Friends.

A friend asked me how my “diversion” into the universe of Eureka and the world of Edgar Allan Poe was going (diversion from my day-job as instructional designer, I suppose).
I hemmed and hawed for a moment and replied, “Well, actually, it’s moving closer and closer to becoming the center of all of my activities.”


“Do you mean it’s taking over your life,” he finally asked alarmed, I am sure, that the project might be jeopardizing my mental health, not to mention my career in higher education. And then, of course, I realized his misunderstanding and began to explain.

The barn in which all the magic happens.

The barn in which all the magic happens.

This “diversion” into the world of Poe and filmmaking is actually beginning to dovetail with the activities of what I do as an educational advisor as well as a teacher. Although I had never directed a film before our first project, The Raven, I have been able to find a complete overlap between directing and my day-to-day tasks of listening and guiding others towards their goals. I don’t profess facility with film jargon or theatrical minutiae. I tell my colleagues to build on what they know (constructivist philosophy, educationally speaking, or Krashen’s i+1, for the linguists out there). Here I am connecting dots between the imaginative cosmogony of Poe’s 1840’s science and the challenge to astrophysics wrought today by the Hubble, Planck, WMAP and other space telescopes out there. I use my excursion into new territories of ideas and skill building as confirmation of the supreme role of Change (thank you, Octavia Butler), and “creative disruption” (thank you, marketers) not only in our careers, but in the very fabric of our lives as technology mushrooms around us with its scintillating garden of gadgets….

And working with my aging theatre artist (Michael Oliver) and musician friends (Doug Fraser) is the same joy of enlightening conversations I have with the seasoned educators I am privileged to serve. And working with our young and energetic cinematographer (Aashish Edakadampil), handing him the reigns of the project and telling him to lead the way, is like the punctuated celebration at the end of every teaching season.

Yes, when I first started working on Poe and filmmaking, it was a weekend adventure with old buddies in the wooded mountains of West Virginia. But it has quickly morphed to breathe new life into my career. And my friend smiles quizzically.

You can join the Indiegogo Campaign for Poe’s Eureka.

Like the beggars of Ethiopia, mentioned in one of our previous posts, we offer unimaginable rewards for your support.

You can also join the conversation by adding a thoughtful comment below.

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