Film professor Lindsey Martin awarded Ohio Humanities Film Fellowship

On March 14, Ohio Humanities and the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University announced the four recipients of the 2024-25 Ohio Humanities Film Fellowship, including OHIO Assistant Professor of Film Production Lindsey Martin. 

The fellowship is a three-year partnership to support independent filmmakers who create humanities-informed documentaries with connections to Ohio. Martin’s film, “Doorknob,” is an animated docudrama combining the history of Ohio pottery towns in the Industrial Revolution with Appalachian folklore and the visual style of medieval manuscripts. 

Martin has been conducting research for the film for the past two years, which included a week-long trip up the byway to visit all the spots she believed the protagonist of her film would have stopped. She spoke to locals in the towns and, according to Martin, “learned about the merging of river people and mountain people, and (how) they created a subculture in the mid-1800s…(the film) is really interested in class and local/regional resources.” 

Another facet of the film comes from Martin’s continued interest in featuring monsters within her films. 

“As I was doing research, I was reading articles about the Ohio River Serpent, which is a monster I had never heard of, so I thought maybe I could write the origin of the Ohio River Serpent through this character,” she said. 

Martin has worked with the Wexner Center on two of her previous films and is excited to work with the center again on “Doorknob.” As an independent filmmaker and animator, Martin believes the fellowship will provide her with invaluable resources that she otherwise would have to find/makeshift on her own. Additionally, the community of the fellowship is something she is looking forward to. 

“The fellows work together in a collaborative space where we can toss out ideas, check in with each other, and the other projects are so beautiful and so cool,” Martin added. “I’m really excited to work with my other fellows.” 

Martin is excited about the funding opportunities provided by the fellowship, as well as their resources to do something she has rarely seen done in the film industry: live scoring. 

“What that would mean is actually bringing musicians into a studio, watching the film and then doing the score as they watch it…I’m going to fly in musicians that I’ve worked with in the past and we’re going to use OSU’s studio and record the audio, and I’m really excited about that,” Martin said. 

Beyond the concrete resources provided by the fellowship, Martin appreciates the chance to have her work recognized for its depth and historical intricacy. 

“A lot of the time, filmmakers don’t really get credit for all the research they do behind the scenes for the film, and this humanities fellowship recognizes the research and the work, especially in a historical sense, that artists do when they’re working on projects,” she said. 

Martin is partnering with Berea College in Kentucky, the location of the largest Appalachian archive in the world, for a screening of the film and a display of the objects featured in the film. This includes handmade paper made from deer skin, and doorknobs that Martin has dug up out of the Ohio Riverbed. 

In the past, Martin’s work has been screened at Slamdance, the Cleveland International Film Festival, the Athens International Film and Video Festival and the Provincetown International Film Festival. Her hopes for “Doorknob” include a film festival circuit during the 2024-25 season. 

April 5, 2024
Sophia Rooksberry, HTC ‘26