Dordt College News

Fourth World documentary wins Indie Fest award

February 27, 2012

Dordt College Digital Media Professor Mark Volkers knows firsthand that “there’s nothing romantic about slums.” For several years, he and a team of Dordt students have been filming and capturing gripping stories of people who live in slums. “Each of the slums we shot in is filled with incredible stories of joy, perseverance, and heroism,” said Volkers.

Their work has culminated in a 54-minute documentary film called The Fourth World. This compelling documentary earned Volkers and the Dordt College Prairie Grass Productions (PGP) a prestigious Award of Excellence from Indie Fest.

“The Indie is not an easy award to win,” said Thomas Baker, Ph.D., who chairs Indie Fest. “Entries are received from around the world. The Indie helps set the standard for craft and creativity. The judges were pleased with the exceptionally high quality of entries. The goal of the Indie is to help winners achieve the recognition they deserve.”

The Indie Fest recognizes film professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change. Learn more at

In addition to stories captured for The Fourth World, students produced several smaller pro bono pieces for organizations that work among the world’s poorest people.

The film is also entered into several additional festivals and competitions, and over the next several months, Volkers will be notified if it is chosen for inclusion. These festivals are as close as the Iowa Film Festival and as far away as the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Festival.

Volkers has served as a missionary in Africa for seven years, and was the communications director for Christian Reformed World Missions before coming to Dordt College. He oversees PGP which he helped found at Dordt College when he took his teaching position with the college six years ago. Recently, PGP has won numerous awards for their work including a Davey Award, an Ava Award, a Webby, and others. To learn more about Prairie Grass Productions and the digital media productions program at Dordt College, visit

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