From A Seed To This : A History Of Fairmount Park

Produced by: 
2005 Documentary History Project for Youth
17 min 59 sec

Hidden among the skyscrapers, townhouses, mansions and museums of Philadelphia lies the 9000-acre Fairmount Park. Opening with a stunning rap that colorfully and thoroughly encapsulates the history of the park from the days of the original Native Americans to the multicultural assortment of Philadelphians who use the park system now, the video is an open invitation to explore the poetic past, present and future of the world's largest city park. Special attention is devoted to the Centennial celebrations of 1876, the Fairmount Park Waterworks, and the system's natural and man-made parks. Student media maker Kerry Gilbert composed and recorded the documentary's engaging score with fellow student participant Lee Givhans.

The student video makers who participated in this 2005 Documentary History Project for Youth production are: Ahmadu Ekpaji (Philadelphia Mennonite High School), Tahirah Garrett (Germantown Settlement Charter), Kerry Gilbert (homeschooled), Lee Givhan (Central High School), Hannah Horwitz (Upper Darby High School), Brett Johnson (Roxborough High School), Alyssa Kreilick (Springfield Township High School) and Sophavy Phuong (Bodine High School for International Affairs).

Deborah Rudman is Media Coordinator for Drexel University Television (DUTV), an access channel providing diverse cultural programming. She has collaborated in all phases of the video production process, including curating and producing Through the Lens, a showcase of independent work for WYBE. She guided Scribe Video Center's Documentary History Project for Youth in both 2004 and 2005 in her role as project facilitator and instructor.

Rodney Whittenberg is president of Melodyvision, a music and video production studio and community service and education provider. A composer, producer, songwriter, and educator, Rodney has developed a variety of music and art education programs for youth, adults, and senior citizens. He has taught at Temple University, the University of the Arts, and Drexel University and is an active member on the board of the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP), the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). She guided Scribe Video Center's Documentary History Project for Youth in 2004 and 2005 in his role as project facilitator and instructor.

Several local humanities scholars came on board as project consultants, and they met with the facilitators and the student artists to help them map out and focus what often seemed like an overwhelming amount of project research. The Fairmount Park project humanities scholars included: Penny Balkin Bach (executive director of the Fairmount Park Art Association), Ed Grusheski (the Philadelphia Water Department's general manager of public affairs and director of development for the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center), Peter Rose (an experimental filmmaker commissioned by the Fairmount Park Art Association to produce 1994's Pavilion in the Trees), the late Ernesta Ballard (a former Fairmount Park Commissioner and board member of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance), Fairmount Park historic preservation planner Theresa Stuhlman, and University of Pennsylvania Urban Studies professor Dominic Vitiello. The students also held meetings with biologists at Cobbs Creek Park, and did extensive research at the Library Company and the Urban Archives.


Fall 2005 - Brief listing mention on

Ocotber 5, 2005 - Brief mention in Repertory Film listings, Philadelphia Weekly

Public Screenings, Broadcasts and Festivals: 

October 6, 2005 - Premiered at International House (Philadelphia, PA)

October 21, 2005 - Screened at Scribe Video Center offices in West Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)