About Research Film Studio

Soon after the Local Spirit Initiative was formed, Princeton students started the extracurricular Research Film Studio. Inspired by a filmmaking workshop co-taught by Bence Fliegauf and Erika Kiss in the fall of 2019, a dozen or so undergraduates and a couple of graduate students decided to make a short film based on Kiss’s research on the almost forgotten 1914 White House meeting between William Monroe Trotter and Woodrow Wilson. In this historical encounter the civil rights hero Trotter traps Wilson – like Hamlet’s “Mousetrap” – in an inadvertent admission that he is the architect of the re-segregation of the federal workforce. The weekly extracurricular meetings combined with working distantly on shared documents on Google Drive were surprisingly productive and we were planning to start shooting the short film after casting when the pandemic struck. In the lockdown, I decided to use the remainder of the grant from the Princeton Histories Fund to complete the production book (without the script).


Many of the original group are still on campus and many joined the Research Film Studio last term with the desire to continue and complete The Curious Adventures of William Monroe Trotter.