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Mark Cline Lucey explores the complexities of renewable energy in "WIND"

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February 6, 2018
Mark Cline Lucey is the Social Studies Department Chair and Research & Service Program Director at Vermont Commons School. He is also a documentary filmmaker, and longtime community media maker with RETN and VCAM. His latest film, “WIND: A Struggle for the Character of Vermont” is an ambitious look at an emotional and complex issue: the future of sustainable energy in the state, and how communities can be helped or harmed by our choices. We asked Mark a few questions to learn more about his project, and how he first got started mediamaking. (Note: we've edited this interview for length and clarity.)
What has been your path of learning media production, how did you get involved with RETN and VCAM?

​My journey began 5 years ago when, on a whim, I signed up for an RETN summer session for teachers. I was inspired by the people I met and the opportunity to do some cool projects with my Vermont Commons School students, so I started incorporating a major video project into my 9th grade Social Studies class.  At the same time, I started producing small video projects as a personal interest and hobby. Over the years, everyone at RETN and VCAM have supported my students and me in every way they could.​

You began "WIND" as a project during your sabbatical. How did this project come about?

​This project actually began as a student journalism project.  In September 2016 I took a group of students around the state to interview Vermonters about ridgeline wind energy.  I was so intrigued by the complexity of the issue and the stories that I heard that I decided to pursue the issue further and produce a full length documentary as my sabbatical project.​

What was your inspiration for making a documentary about wind energy in Vermont?
​​I was drawn to this issue because it is so multifaceted - ev​en counter-intuitive​ - and there are so many false assumptions and general ignorance about the challenges.  I also loved this topic because the differing opinions do not fall neatly along partisan lines.  Liberals & Conservatives, Republicans & Democrats, can be found quite evenly on all sides of the wind energy debate.  A rapid transition to a clean energy future is also an issue that is of utmost importance to me.  So I felt like I could really contribute something through a documentary that educates about the complexity of the challenges we've had with renewable projects as a state, and raises some questions about how we can move forward.

Were there any surprises or lessons learned that you can share with us? Any highlights?

​I definitely learned some hard lessons about trying to film interviews all on my own. Trying to simultaneously monitor the video, the sound quality AND conduct ​an interview is a lot to handle and led to some of my footage being a bit . . . lacking.  I learned that is amazing, and that you can pretty much learn about any aspect of filmmaking from YouTube, as well as from the good people at RETN & VCAM.  I learned that documentary filmmaking is incredibly time consuming, and incredibly rewarding.

How important was having access to free community media resources to this production? And how did RETN and VCAM support your production? 

​Absolutely essential.  I would never have had this filmmaking experience - and I would not be able to teach filmmaking to my students - if not for RETN & VCAM.​ VCAM trained me to edit with Premiere​, loaned me equipment, and let me use the snazzy editing room to color correct/balance/grade and to balance all the audio on my finished film.  RETN loaned me equipment and gave me a lot of guidance, feedback and support.

What are your plans now that the video in complete? What do you hope this video can do?
My hope is to share it with as many people as possible.  I especially love being able to discuss the issues with a group of people after a screening. would like to organize screenings around the state as part of a renewable energy campaign, and the Media Factory will host a screening as well!​

Join us for a community screening of WIND:

Thursday, February 15, 6pm-8pm
The Media Factory Classroom

Air Dates:

VCAM 15 2/04 at 8pm

RETN 16 2/15 at 8pm

BTVHD 216 2/15 at 8pm