By Anna Jaffray
“The Miracles on Honey Bee Hill,” a 23 minute short film by Middle Tennessee State University professor Bob Pondillo, has Republicans and same-sex marriage opponents up in arms.
The film features a cast of 8 and 9 year olds in a fairy tale portrayal of love, marriage and understanding. The film features two girls, Millie and Ed, who fall in love in a quaint town on Honey Bee Hill.
Pondillo said in a behind the scenes clip, “I had this thought about doing something new, something different, saying something about what’s happening in contemporary society, contemporary culture, and especially about a specific issue that I think is the civil rights issue of our time. But I wanted to do it in a way that hadn’t been done before, and I wanted to do it in a surprising way.”
However, after the film was screened on the MTSU campus as part of the “SpringOut“ celebrations, one student did not see the short as a sweet fairy tale about love. The irked student contacted Senator Bill Ketron (R-TN) who swiftly reacted and issued a letter outlining his concerns to the University over the “controversial” film. The letter was sent to Pondillo’s higher up, Communications Department Chair Billy Pittard, questioning the use of minors, college equipment and resources.
Senator Ketron said in a statement, “My office received a communication from a MTSU student who was concerned and upset about this movie after viewing it at the university, especially as it pertains to what the student said were the exploitation of young children who were involved in the film. The communication also included a request to answer questions involving the nature of funding for the project and the involvement of the university in its making.”
Pondillo responded by saying, “We auditioned both the parents and the child actors for the film. All parents or guardians read the script, all signed releases permitting their kids to fully participate in the movie, and all were on set monitoring the proceedings as the movie was filmed.”
Senator Ketron has yet to see the film, which didn't stop him from labeling it as inappropriate. Pondillo has swiftly negated any possibility of exploitation of the cast or university funding through his public statements.
You can view the film on imdb.com here.
Below is a behind the scenes look at "The Miracles of Honey Bee Hill" with commentary from the director.