Chad Heeter Behind the Lens: Chad Heeter

Chad Heeter is a documentary filmmaker and writer from Lee's Summit, MO. His current documentary film examines math and science education in India.

POV: In your work, you consider the notion of "borders." What is a border to you?

Chad Heeter: I like to think of these synonyms: verge, fringe, frontier line, edge, and extremity.

And I don't like to think of "border" as: limit, confines, or termination.

POV: What borders did you encounter while working on your pieces?

Heeter: While all of the folks we spoke to in Venezuela were very open with us, my colleague and I were stopped by the military police just a few miles from the airport on our way out of the country. For nearly two hours they held us for questioning, then fingerprinted us, and finally escorted us out of the country. The officers were courteous and professional, but we never quite understood why they stopped us — maybe it was just a slow Sunday afternoon for them.

POV: What is possible when innovative approaches to narrative and interactivity are combined? How is your piece different from traditional storytelling?

Heeter: When it's interactive, it doesn't have to be a linear storytelling experience. The viewer decides where to go — sets borders, if you will — and creates their own beginning, middle, and end.

POV: What was exciting or challenging about those differences?

Heeter: The self-directed experience can be very different from person to person. Different experiences can be exciting.

POV: Expand our borders. What's a book, movie, piece of music, website, etc., that challenges or engages with the idea of "borders" that we should know about but perhaps don't?

Heeter: Check out Newsmap:

Using Treemap software, one objective of Newsmap, according to the website, is to reveal the "underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe."

And I like the colors.

POV: What are you working on next? Where can we see more of your work?

Heeter: I'm just beginning to work on a series of stories that contrasts math and science education in the U.S and India. I'm a former high school science teacher so I'm excited (and a little scared) to see where the stories take us.