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Talk at SIU to focus on making eclipse documentary ‘In the Shadow’

In The Shadows logo/cover art with sunrise
SIU News

Two Southern Illinois University filmmakers will discuss their efforts to document the 2017 total solar eclipse during the next “Journey to the Eclipse” talk set for 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2.

Mark Stoffel, a specialist in the College of Arts and Media, and H.D. Motyl, director and associate professor in the School of Theater and Dance, teamed up to produce “In the Shadow,” SIU’s official 2017 eclipse documentary. The duo will discuss their yearlong preparation and production of the film, from developing themes and structure to the final edits and premiere, at the Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library.

The talk will feature film clips that illustrate their journey in creating a film about the first of two total solar eclipses to hit Southern Illinois in a span of just seven years, the next of which will occur on April 8. The film focuses on the 2017 event as experienced by the people of Southern Illinois and how preparations for it created a sense of community.

Motyl’s film credits include the feature-length documentary, “American Rodeo: A Cowboy Christmas,” which won Best Documentary at the Madrid International Film Festival and can be streamed on Amazon Prime. His experimental video “Nudes Descending a Staircase #2” screened in Madrid and the Directors Lounge Festival in Berlin.

Motyl also has produced, directed and written work for the History Channel, National Geographic Channel and A&E, and for home video and educational markets.

An SIU graduate, Stoffel found his niche as a skillful media creator and quickly rose to the ranks of student producer for the PBS affiliate WSIU-TV. After graduating, he returned to his home country of Germany where he worked as a television producer for the Bavarian Public Broadcasting company before returning to Southern Illinois.

Along with working as a digital media specialist, Stoffel also devotes his free time to American original music as a seasoned composer, performer, producer and teacher. His works receive frequent national radio airplay and can be heard on all popular music streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

The “Journey to the Eclipse” series is aimed at bringing together experts in astronomy, solar eclipses and other sun-related topics for students, faculty and staff of SIU, as well as members of the Southern Illinois community. The monthly series began in April 2023, with each talk also streaming live via Zoom and being recorded.

The final two “Journey to the Eclipse” talks are set for March 1 with Troy Cline of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory speaking on “NASA’s Parker Solar Probe” and April 5 with Lou Mayo, heliophysicist and science educator with NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, speaking on “Eclipses, Occultations, and Transits: The Dance of the Planets.”

For more information and links, go to eclipse.siu.edu.

Tim Crosby — engineering, science and agriculture.

SIU News is produced by University Communications and Marketing - 618-453-2589. Twitter: @SIUCNews
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