Two Carleton seniors have produced a documentary on Northfield’s The Grand Theater, which will be shown at a meeting of the Northfield Historical Society this Thursday, April 6 at 7 p.m in the Grand Theater.
Megan Vig '06 and Lauran Allinson '06, both of whom have cinema and media studies concentrations, were inspired to research the Grand by assistant professor of cinema and media studies Carol Donelan, their American film history instructor. With her enthusiastic approval, they decided to make a documentary about the building’s history instead of writing a paper for their class. The two collaborated on the project, since Allinson is “very interested in video editing while Megan is more interested in film history,” she says.
The duo received much assistance from the Northfield Historical Society staff and volunteers, who helped them find articles to read and people to interview. They also spent long hours at the Northfield Public Library and Carleton’s Gould Library, reading through archived copies of the Northfield News and scrapbooks from Carleton alumni that described their trips to the Grand.
The documentary started out as a five-minute film about the history of the Grand, but as Vig and Allinson interviewed Northfield residents and poked around the theater, it grew to 15 minutes, and became more about people’s experiences and stories rather than strictly about the building itself. “We had free rein to walk anywhere we wanted,” says Vig. “So much of the history is still in its attic. Someone put it in a back room and left it.”
Vig and Allinson enjoyed working on what was admittedly an atypical class assignment. “I learned more than I would have from writing a paper,” says Vig.
The film's producers will also talk about their documentary at the April 6 event, and refreshments will be served afterwards. The Grand Theater is located at the corner of 4th St. E. and Washington in Northfield. For more information or disability accommodations, call the Northfield Historical Society at (507) 645-9268.