Bob Pondillo film is simply about love

Love, tolerance, kindness and forgiveness are the driving forces behind the short film, “The Miracles on Honey Bee Hill,” which premiered in 2012.

Bob Pondillo, professor of electronic media communication, wrote, produced and narrated the movie and worked with about 30 undergraduate students, five graduates and other MTSU professors for  two years on the 23-minute production. It has garnered national attention and won awards nationally and internationally.

What makes “The Miracles on Honey Bee Hill” stand out is its use of child actors to tackle the issue of marriage equality.

“It’s the mixing of this fairytale genre, which divorces things from reality, and this very contentious issue of using kids, I think, that makes it a very effective movie,” Pondillo said. “And I think it makes people think about it more.”

The movie is about a girl named Millie who is searching for, as Millie says, her “very special someone.” Although she is beloved by all and happy on Honey Bee Hill, a lonely Millie signs up for an online dating service. That’s when she meets Ed.

It’s not until Millie brings Ed to meet her church family and announce their engagement that it’s discovered that Ed’s real name is Edna. While the congregation previously sang Millie’s praises, the members quickly turn against Millie and her very special someone and tell them to leave the church. The situation gets so out of hand that God himself, the only adult actor in the film, played by David H. Lawrence, comes down to set things straight.

The use of children is what separates the issues of sex and love, Pondillo explained. During the proposal scene, Ed repeats the exact words that Pondillo used to propose to his wife, thus proving that love is gender neutral.

“I wanted to drain this movie of sex,” Pondillo said. “It’s not about sex. Can you get your head around the complex of love without sex? That’s what I was going for. The plot pivot is around the idea of equality.”

Because of its use of children to convey its message, the film had a hard time getting started. Pondillo had almost given up on the use of child actors until Lauren Plum and producer Diana Rice found the cast.“I think all religions are represented here because it’s about love and tolerance,” Pondillo said. “Don’t all religions represent those things?”

While the film initially faced some controversy, MTSU remained supportive. “MTSU firmly believes in the right of academic freedom and the First Amendment and free expression,” Pondillo said. “They celebrate it and they want it to continue. I’m so grateful I work at a place like this.” TLE

By Jane Horne

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Faculty, News, Partnerships, Students

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