Red carpet premiere showcases university made eclipse documentary


Roop Singh, Arya Singh, 5, and Minal Giri, all of Linkenshire, observe the solar eclipse through their eclipse glasses Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Makanda. Makanda, considered the crossroads of the Great American Eclipse, experienced the greatest total solar eclipse duration at over two minutes and 41 seconds. (Anna Spoerre | @annaspoerre)

By Tyler Malone, Staff Writer

After documenting the rare total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, university professors and students will premiere their documentary film, “In the Shadow,” in Shryock Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on March 24.

The documentary premiere will be a red-carpet event.

All of North America could witness the rare total solar eclipse, natural phenomena that had not been witnessed by people in the United States since 1979.


If one wanted to see the all of two and half minutes of totality there was no better place than Carbondale, Illinois.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said an estimated 30,000 people gathered on campus to watch the eclipse, 14,000 of which gathered at the stadium.

Among these people were Radio, Television and Digital Media Instructor Mark Stoffel, RTD Interim Chair Howard D Motyl, and numerous university students who documented the rare astronomical event.

“The eclipse was a big deal for our area, for the University, and for everyone who had witnessed it,” Stoffel said.

Both Stoffel and Motyl said the project took countless hours of brainstorming sessions, production meetings, and sifting through hundreds of hours of footage that were contributed by dozens of students, faculty, and staff volunteers.

Stoffel said, “working with our students on eclipse day and witnessing their professionalism and their excitement in the footage they captured was one of the best parts of working on the documentary.”

Motyl said Stoffel and him have been friends and worked on individual projects, but never together.


The whole process was a joy, and we will be doing some work together again soon,” Motyl said.

The premiere will begin with university lecturer and award-winning songwriter Jenny Johnson and her band playing a few songs, Motyl said. The band’s song “In the Shadow,” is the featured song and is about the Solar Eclipse.

It’s used in the documentary, Motyl said.

Jenny Johnson’s musical contribution to the film added great mood-setting music such as “Eclipse Song” and “In the Shadow” Stoffel said.

The songs not only coined the title of the film “In the Shadow” but turned out to be wonderful for many scenes of the documentary, he said.

“After the screening, Mark and I will have a Q and A about the film, then a couple of special guests who were in the film will come on stage with us for a Q and A, too,” Motyl said. “They are Mat Kaplan of Planetary Radio, who emceed the stadium show on Eclipse day, and Michele Nichols of the Adler Planetarium, who was one of the co-hosts on August 21.

After the question and answer session of the premiere, there will be a star-gazing party sponsored by the Physics Department. Telescopes and sweet treats will be provided for the party Motyl said.

“I am confident to say we have created a neat film I am very proud of,” Stoffel said.

The entire event will be free of charge to anyone who wishes to attend.

Staff writer Tyler Malone can be reached at [email protected].

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