On this edition James speaks with Colorado-based filmmaker, educator and activist Danny Ledonne. Mr. Ledonne is a former media arts professor at Adams State University in Alamosa Colorado whose investigation and online exposés of Adams State’s managerial and personnel practices put him in the crosshairs of the school’s top administrators.
When the highly-credentialed filmmaker was glossed over for a tenure-track teaching position in the university’s modest communications department and subsequently terminated from his adjunct instructor position there he made public records requests that revealed a number of administrative problems and efforts at non-transparency. Leone began a blog to publish these, WatchingAdams.org, and a lá Julian Assange invited other faculty to leak information that might aid in keeping Adams State’s pooh-bahs fair and above-the-board.
The university’s response? Publicly claim that Ledonne poses a grave threat to campus safety and issue a no-trespass order, thus preventing him from accessing campus and filming artistic events he was contracted for through his personal videography business.
In February 2016 with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union Ledonne’s brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against Adams State University and its president. An out-of-court settlement was reached with the defendants this summer reinstating Ledonne’s right to access the Adams State campus and granting him monetary recompense.
Danny Ledonne is a graduate of Emerson College’s BA Visual Media Arts program in Boston and the MFA Film/Electronic Media program at American University in Washington, DC. He has been exploring the power of the moving image since 1998. Danny’s interest in wildlife filmmaking first fostered the production of “Wild Animals, Domesticated Humans,” a short documentary exploring the purposes and challenges of zoological parks. This film was distributed by the National Film Network.
Danny has served in camera and grip/electric departments on dozens of short films and music videos as well as several independent features. He has worked as director of photography on several award-winning short films, editor for several feature-length documentaries, and produced films in the wilderness of east Africa, Alaska, and the Galapagos Islands. He is a lifelong resident of Alamosa Colorado.