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Redwood Movement premieres film on April 1

March  29, 2012

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A group of Augustana students, known as the Redwood Movement, will debut its first documentary-a self-titled, stop-frame film-on Sunday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m., in Centennial Hall (3703 7th Ave.). Sponsored in part by Augustana's Center for Vocational Reflection, the event is open to the public.

The Redwood Movement involves more than 60 Augustana undergraduates who are committed to connecting with and giving back to the community through creative means. Through film, they tell the life stories of students, faculty, staff and Quad-Cities residents, in hopes of strengthening human connections in the community. The film is an original piece of art that incorporates music composed by Augustana students.

The Redwood Movement began as an idea of senior Ashley Higuchi that quickly grew and included other Augustana students. The name of the group came from the sermon at her brother's funeral. He died unexpectedly last spring.

"Redwoods are magnificent trees; they can be 300 feet tall, but the miracle is not in just their size but their root structure. Beneath the soil, they only go 4 feet deep but 250 feet wide," said Higuchi, an English major from Aurora, Colo. "They wrap around each other and have an entire network of roots that draw their strength from intertwining around other roots."

Laura Mahn, of Augustana's Community Engagement Center, said, "As a pastor and chaplain, I'm inspired by Ashley and the way she's trusted her instincts to create a process for grieving her brother's death. It's inspiring that she has welcomed so many others to journey along with her."

Danielle Hollis, a senior majoring in philosophy and anthropology from Batavia, Ill., who has been instrumental in the Redwood Movement, said, "The Redwood Movement has taken on a life of its own. It has already been a success because it has provided a chance for Augustana students to step outside of their everyday social groups and meet new people who they might not have gotten the chance meet had it not been for this project."

Hollis added, "We have created a project that has allowed these students to contribue to something greater than themselves."

Those who attend will be asked to make a donation, and all of the proceeds from this movement will go to the youth shelter The Place2B and The Second Baptist Church Academy to support and encourage artistic and musical expression in the Quad Cities.

Additional viewings are scheduled at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave., Rock Island) on April 14 at 8 p.m.; the Figge Art Museum (225 W. 2nd St., Davenport) on April 19 at 7 p.m.; and LeClaire Park (400 W. Beiderbecke Dr., Davenport) on April 22 at 8 p.m.