2010-2011 School History Fair Winner featured at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival
When 8th grader William Toepfer first chose his history fair topic, he had no idea how far that topic would take him. William has always had an interest in military history and loves to watch documentaries about World War II, so when he saw the topic "Nike Missiles" it caught his eye. Numerous library hours went into trying to find information about this important piece of Chicago history, which in turn led to a phone interview with one of the leading authors on the topic, Mr. Christopher Bright.
When it came time for William to compile his research into a presentation, he opted for the medium he most enjoys... a video documentary. The result was a 10 minute long "Ken Burns" style documentary which discussed the development of the Nike Missile Project in the city of Chicago. Titled, Culture of Fear, the documentary focused on the how fear led Chicagoans to accept the placement of nuclear missiles on the Chicago lakeshore.
After taking an overall first place in the South Loop Elementary School History Fair, Wiliam submitted the film for the Chicago International Children's Film Festival in the category of child-produced films. Culture of Fear was chosen as one of the films to be screened at the 28th Annual Chicago International Children's Film Festival held October 21 - 30, 2011. The "world premier" screening of his documentary took place on Saturday, October 22nd, and was one of 23 child-produced films to be selected, and one of only 3 child-produced films from the United States. The best child-produced film has an opportunity to win a $2,500 scholarship.