Community members, Wiley students, alumni and more packed into the Hayes Auditorium on Wiley College campus Thursday evening to enjoy the premier of the college’s student-led film project 1700 Miles: A Journey to Explore Freedom.

The project was a year in the making, and created and produced by Wiley College students with the assistance of college staff. The project was funded by grants from both Propel and Apple, which along with funds and technology given through the program allowed students to travel the 1,700 miles to create this project.

“Out of 70 proposals we received, Wiley College stood out above the rest,” said Charles Gibbs, president of the Propel Center’s HBCU consortium.

Gibbs stated that he has a long standingrelationship with Wiley College President Herman Felton, and that through that relationship they were able to allow for the creation of this student-led project.

“It takes a partner, when you have a story to tell it takes a partner to realize the value of telling that story,” Gibbs said.

Community members also heard from Natalie Hill, the Mass Communication Chair at the college and the project coordinator, who spoke on the value of the project’s equipment and funds gifted to students through the grant.

“What these students were able to accomplish here, that would not have been possible without Apple and Propel,” Hill said.

The film focused on the meaning of freedom to Wiley college students, alumni, and other members of the community throughout the year. According to Project industry Partner and Founder of Cunningham Creative Lisa Cunningham, the project focused on the meaning of freedom throughout the generations.

“This is one of the most amazing activities I have ever gotten to work with,” Cunningham said.

After the premiere of the new film, community members heard from some of the 11 students of Wiley College who were involved in the creation of project.

The students hosted a question and answer segment, during which community members were able to discuss the elements of the film with its creators.

“The 1,700 miles represents the miles we had to travel to complete this project,” Cunningham said, “It’s remarkable to watch the process.”

City Reporter

Jessica Harker has been the city reporter with the Marshall News Messenger since 2019.