James Tracy interviews Colorado-based filmmaker, educator and activist Danny Ledonne, a former media arts professor at Adams State University in Alamosa Colorado whose online exposés of his university’s managerial practices put him in the crosshairs of the school’s top administrators.
After the accomplished filmmaker was glossed over for a tenure-track position in the university’s communications department and subsequently terminated from his adjunct instructor position he made public records requests suggesting the school’s corrupt and non-transparent administrative practices. Ledonne began a blog to publish these, WatchingAdams.org, and encouraged other faculty to leak information that might prompt Adams State toward enacting reforms.
In October 2015 the university publicly claimed Ledonne was on a state watch list, posed a grave threat to campus safety and served him with a no-trespass order. The action prevented Ledonne from setting foot on campus grounds and filming artistic events he had contracts for through his personal videography business.
In February 2016 with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union Ledonne’s brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against Adams State University and its president and police chief. In July 2016 an out-of-court settlement reinstated Ledonne’s right to access the Adams State campus and granted him monetary recompense.
Danny Ledonne is a graduate of Emerson College’s BA Visual Media Arts program in Boston and the MFA Film/Electronic Media program at American University in Washington, DC. He has been exploring the power of the moving image since 1998. Danny’s interest in wildlife filmmaking first fostered the production of “Wild Animals, Domesticated Humans,” a short documentary exploring the purposes and challenges of zoological parks. This film was distributed by the National Film Network.
Danny has served in camera and grip/electric departments on dozens of short films and music videos as well as several independent features. He has worked as director of photography on several award-winning short films, editor for several feature-length documentaries, and produced films in the wilderness of east Africa, Alaska, and the Galapagos Islands. He is a lifelong resident of Alamosa Colorado.