Gardner-Webb University Students Create Documentary about Bigfoot Search

Print Friendly

Public Invited to May 1 Screening of “Finding Knobby”

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A group of Gardner-Webb University communications students is learning about interviewing, video editing and documentary production techniques this semester—while searching for evidence of the existence of a real-life bigfoot just a half-hour from campus.

Students in Dr. Jim Lawrence’s Intermediate Video Editing and Rebekah Rausch’s Documentary Video Techniques classes have worked together to produce “Finding Knobby,” a short film that explores the story of a creature that was reportedly spotted five years ago by Tim Peeler, a resident of nearby Casar, N.C. The creature has become known as “Knobby” since its first reported sighting near Carpenter’s Knob in Cleveland County in the late 1970s.

“The media coverage since the 2010 sighting report has brought good and bad to the small, rural town of Casar,” Rausch explained. “Local stores have people calling from all over the world to order Knobby apparel, and Peeler said he has had his nerves totally fried from the attention he has received to the point that he refused to talk to us on camera.”

Members of the documentary team pursued and connected with other sources for the film, leading to a chance for students to plan and conduct interviews, record video footage of the surrounding area and operate an array of film and editing equipment.

“It has definitely given me the opportunity to exercise my interviewing skills in an environment and format that I am not used to,” senior Jonelle Bobak shared. “For example, in a video interview you have to clap before you start to synchronize the audio with the video for editing purposes. During video interviews, I also struggled with the fact that you cannot give verbal affirmations. I like to make conversation with people that I interview and I was not able to do that. It took me a long time to learn how to just smile at people and nod my head as they were answering questions.”

During the project, students connected with Burke County (N.C.) bigfoot enthusiast Rex Lail. “We got a great interview with him,” Lawrence said. “He ended up leading us on a hunt that we documented with an infrared camera so we could shoot in the dark. I’m not saying what happened—you will just have to see the film.”

The public is invited to view the documentary at a screening May 1 at 4 p.m. in the Time Warner Cable Theatre, located on the lower level of Gardner-Webb’s Tucker Student Center. At the screening, “Finding Knobby” T-shirts and DVDs will be sold, with the proceeds benefitting GWU’s Department of Communication & New Media.

“We put a lot of hard work into this project,” Bobak offered. “I want people to experience Knobby the exact way I did, and I believe this documentary will capture just that.”

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University offers a comprehensive academic experience that introduces students to the diverse world of ideas and to the people who think them, preparing them for career success and for engaged, responsible citizenship in their professional, civic, and spiritual communities.