Pink will bring her high-energy musical, dance and aerobatic performance to the JMA Wireless Dome on Sunday, Oct. 6, as part of her 17-city 2024 Summer Carnival Tour. The tour will feature special guest, friend and award-winning artist Sheryl Crow,…
Newhouse Alums Produce Documentary Celebrating Resilience and Passion Amidst Pandemic
A new documentary, “Panacea,” created by two Syracuse University military visual journalism students during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns, is set to premiere in Syracuse alongside an original ballet.
The film follows Caroline Sheridan, the current artistic director of Syracuse City Ballet, during the earliest days of the pandemic when she was a dancer with the company. Producers Laiqa Hitt ’20 and Jared Bunn ’20 were inspired to make the documentary after featuring Sheridan in a news story for their broadcast class.
Originally intended to focus on a staging of the ballet “Cinderella,” the filmmakers pivoted to showcase Sheridan’s efforts to dance with her friends one last time before they left on work visas due to statewide shutdowns. “For the next two weeks, Laiqa and I shot every day and edited every night. We felt this force driving us to tell this story because we knew it had to be told,” Bunn says.
For Sheridan, the film was about clinging to her creativity and passion. “’Panacea’ became my way to take one of the darkest moments of my life and use it as inspiration to create something beautiful and meaningful for myself and for everyone around me who I could see were hurting,” Sheridan says.
The documentary has won a number of awards, and it has been a labor of love for Hitt and Bunn. “From the sleepless nights with mounds of homework from being a full-time college student to moving to Japan and still continuing to edit the film while trying to juggle time zones with Jared and Caroline, then being in the middle of the desert, without any cell service or Wi-Fi, somewhere in California on a Marine Corps exercise after working 18-hour days and still editing the film—one could say that my dedication has been tested many times,” Hitt says. “But, I am so happy that I didn’t give up and that the team was patient with us and continued supporting us no matter what.”
One of the team’s many supporters was Hitt and Bunn’s professor in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Tula Goenka. She praised their talent and determination to get the film made. “Life is a miracle, and anything is possible with determination and perseverance…and excellent storytelling. My heartfelt congratulations to Caroline, Laiqa and Jared for believing in the magic of ‘Panacea,’” Goenka says.
The filmmakers are excited for audiences to experience both the film “Panacea” and the original ballet that shares its name.
“The film re-inspires you to take on that dream you’ve always set aside and to have a full-length performance beside it will make you want to tackle that dream immediately,” Hitt says. “I hope the audience falls in love with Caroline’s story just as fast as we did.”
“I want them to really enjoy it and hopefully be inspired that no matter what life places in front of you, you can always overcome it and find your own ‘Panacea,’” Bunn says.
“Panacea” premieres at the Oncenter Carrier Theater on Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23. You can find more information on the Syracuse City Ballet website.