David Kendall, associate professor of communication, has quickly become an integral member of Goshen’s visual and media arts scene. As he finishes up his second year as a professor, he reflects on his experiences with film as a teacher and as a vital cog to the Riverbend Film Festival, which occurred last weekend, April 6-8.“I’ve taught for about 17 years — seems crazy to me — but I started teaching art at Chandler and Parkside Schools in 2000,” Kendall said.
While at the Goshen city elementary schools, Kendall taught visual arts but began working with film, television and acting outside of class around 2002. In 2004, he transitioned to Goshen High School, where he was able to create a curriculum for a media arts class. However, in 2009, Kendall decided to pursue further education.
Carrie Lee Bland-Kendall, freelance actress, producer, director and wife of the Goshen professor, said, “He always wanted to go to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which just happened to be where I was from. They give out one Educator Scholarship per year and he received it because of his portfolio.”
At SCAD, Kendall pursued his Masters of Fine Arts in Film and Television with an emphasis on directing. Because of valuable connections formed at the college, Kendall had job offers spanning both coasts.
Bland-Kendall said, “We were at a time in our lives where we wanted to settle in and then we got pregnant, so we wanted to be selective with the projects we worked on.” At just that time, Goshen High School reached out to Kendall, asking if he’d like to return to teach art.
“He loved education as much as he loved film and television,” Bland-Kendall said. “So he really wanted to go back to that and do film on the side.”
Within a year of moving here, Goshen College had a vacancy in the communication department. Pat Lehman, professor of communication, reached out to Kendall about the position and he accepted.
“Last year was my first year; it was a little overwhelming but it was a whole lot of fun,” Kendall said. “I enjoy the energy of a college campus. It was an adjustment for sure, but we turned a corner, and this year for sure has been more satisfying.”
Since coming to GC, Kendall has found joy in many communication projects, specifically in GC TV and independent student projects.
“I’m really happy with what we’ve done with GC TV this year, taking it to another level,” said Kendall. “Also, watching Mason Mellinger do his documentary this year and being able to see him go from an idea to this finished documentary that could air on PBS was really rewarding.”
Kendall’s investment in his students goes beyond the classroom and into the community through the Riverbend Film Festival. As a sort of liaison between the film festival and the college, both Kendall and his wife served as entertainment coordinators for the event, as well as the backbone of a task force dedicated to scheduling the weekend out and ensuring the event runs smoothly.
The couple is primarily responsible for bringing in high-profile guests, like this year’s Beth Grant, actress on “The Mindy Project” and vocalist, producer and guitarist Binky Griptite, vocalist of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.
Bland-Kendall said, “We look for guests that we think Goshen would like to hear from, whether it’s films from L.A. or our contacts in Chicago, New York, Savannah or Texas, and also internationally.”
Kendall, Bland-Kendall, and Kyle Hufford, associate professor of communication, attended the Savannah Film Festival to scout talent for Riverbend and create bridges between Goshen College and SCAD. Visiting film festivals is one way Kendall strives to build a professional network of relationships for students to take advantage of.
As a moderator during the festival, Kendall said, “I’m really excited about how that information and the wisdom these actors and filmmakers share with me goes to the audience, allowing them to get another level of education out of the film festival.”
Kendall’s dedication to his students has not gone unnoticed. Tanner Camp, first-year communication major, said, “I’ve learned a lot about film production on and off camera, but he’s also taught me not to doubt myself, to just put myself out there…positive energy will take me places.”
Jordan Waidelich, senior communication major, also said, “He’s not just a great professor, he’s also a filmmaker. He’s not just teaching it; he’s done it and he’s living it.”
His work has also instilled the value of film as an art form in his students. Waidelich said, “I have a new appreciation for how films are made. Whenever I watch a forty-minute episode on Netflix, I just have an appreciation for the level of work that that kind of filmmaking takes.”
In the words of Maddie Birky, senior Spanish and journalism double major, “David has brought life to this campus through film.”