March 25, 2019
Student actors, a videographer and Sons of the American Revolution members collaborate on how best to film the scene.
Noah Nobbe may be your typical student at Ball State University, but thanks to a new historical video project, he’s also been transformed into one of the heroes of the American Revolution.
For the last several months, the junior public history student from Westport, Indiana, has taken on a new identity: Francois Riday Busseron, a valiant revolutionary war hero who, though relatively unknown, helped liberate what is now Indiana from British rule.
In three, three-minute historical reenactment videos, Nobbe and his nine classmates have all taken on character roles of real unsung revolutionary war heroes who’ve make a lasting mark on Indiana.
Under the leadership of Ronald V. Morris, a Ball State history professor, the immersive learning class partnered with the Sons of the American Revolution to portray influential historical characters.The three-minute films of students embodying these characters through 18th-century costumes and weapons will be premiered at 5:30 p.m. April 17 at the Muncie Carnegie Library, 301 E Jackson St.
“We’re working with the descendants of soldiers from the Revolutionary War, so our guidance and mentorship couldn’t get any better than that,” Nobbe said. “I’ve never done any re-enacting of any kind, but these brilliant descendants – knowledgeable with years of study and experience – helped me with the fine details so I could successfully portray Busseron.
“Our team is both honoring these unsung heroes and making known their extraordinary efforts through this video. By acting as Busseron, a fearless renegade, I feel empowered to make a mark on history myself.”
Busseron – just one example among many of the significant characters portrayed in the video – was a Canadian Frenchman living near British-ruled Fort Sackville in the town of Vincennes, Indiana.
Busseron was a community fur trader, who during the American Revolution, joined the colonists’ war effort and helped George Rogers Clark in defeating the British forces at Fort. Busseron also helped supply Clark’s force with black powder after most of their supply had been ruined by floodwaters.
To fully grasp the characters they’d be acting as, Nobbe and the student team spent hours upon hours diving headfirst into research, collaborating with the Sons of American Revolution and planning how best to embody the roles. For filming, the student team worked with the Ball State Digital Corps and Honors College Fellow Rachael Garland to shoot their high-quality video outside – once even for hours in 20-degree weather.
“This project aims to help a new generation discover what only a few people realized that large number of Revolutionary War soldiers came to settle in Indiana,” Morris said. “It brings veterans from monolith to individuals with names and stories.”
The student team is showcasing their video at myriad Ball State and Indiana history conferences, explaining to hundreds the significance of celebrating Indiana’s founders through compelling educational material.
“To take part in the video, present at conferences, grow unique partnerships and most importantly, publicize the lesser-known revolutionary efforts of our state’s war heroes … never before have I been so deeply involved in such a meaningful and powerful academic setting,” Melody Seberger, a junior public history major from Austin, Texas participating on the project, said.