I will confess that I entered my viewing of the Indiana themed Everlasting Light: The Story of Indiana's Bicentennial Torch Relay with just a wee bit of baggage attached, being one of those people who seemed to exist in the background of this inherently limited project that always seemed more than a little cliquish from beginning to end.
Unfortunately, there was nothing in Everlasting Light that ever made me change my mind and, in fact, the film almost reinforced this notion that committees and groups and communities all somehow came up with the folks who participated in this torch relay during Indiana's bicentennial year that seemed to always be more popular outside Central Indiana than it was right here in good ole' Indy.
As a longtime hoosier activist whose largest expression of activism has been wheeling across the State of Indiana for 28 years, something like a torch relay celebrating the hoosier spirit always seemed like a natural fit but, alas, it never came to be as prettier, richer and more connected folks than myself found themselves selected while many of Indiana's most vocal advocates were on the sidelines.
To be fair to Everlasting Light writer/director Sammy Hunter, this 37-minute film in its U.S. Premiere at the 2017 Heartland Film Festival does, in fact, capture the hoosier state in a pretty magnificent way and it does capture the sincere, heartfelt hoosiers who took part in this bicentennial year effort.
To make the film, a team of Ball State University students, working closely with the Indiana Office of Tourism, traveled the State of Indiana with the torch relay and conducted interviews, shot photographs and, of course, created the film that would be built into Everlasting Light, a short film that is already available including above this review.
Everlasting Light reflects positively on Ball State's emerging film program and its growth, in particular, the last couple years as it would be nearly impossible to deny that the program's cinematic efforts have improved in quality and in the individual efforts behind-the-scenes.
Cinematographer Anthony Campagna's lensing is pristine and beautifully captures Indiana from the most rural of settings to its urban wonderlands, while the entire production team must be given kudos for capturing this ambitious, if not entirely satisfying, project celebrating Indiana's 200th year.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic