Kojak: A Fuller Life was the winner in the Hoosier Lens Documentary Short category. Students Darien Taylor, Hannah Caruana, Jon Bomers and Marissa Williams created the film during a documentary film class taught by Taylor Film and Media Production Professor Kathy Bruner.
Kojak tells the story of Kojak Fuller, a former all-state basketball player for the Anderson (High School) Indians. Fuller was a prolific player who was honored as the state’s Mr. Basketball, the most prestigious recognition for a high school player, after his senior year at Anderson. But personal problems derailed his once-promising basketball career and he eventually served time in prison before becoming a Christian. Fuller now leads a ministry and mentors high school students at Anderson.
“From the first moment our team interacted with Kojak, it's been a gift to witness his ability to teach us and others from the hardest, yet powerful moments in his story,” said Caruana, the film’s producer. “It has been a major contributor to the ways this documentary has deeply impacted me as a storyteller and as an individual. Investing my time and energy into this film shifted my perspective from class project to Kingdom service, which is one of many reasons why Taylor's film program has impact.”
“I knew from the start that this story was going to be impactful. My team and I are honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to tell Kojak's story,” Director Darien Taylor said. “Creating this film was a blast and is one of the greatest experiences each of us filmmakers had experienced. His faith was a huge turning point in his story and has helped him become the person he is today. I am proud that this film has impacted so many and I can't wait to see how many more people it will impact.”
The Indy Film Fest seeks to create a shared experience around film. The Festival champions movies that entertain and expand perspectives in Indianapolis and beyond.
In the past 15 years, Taylor’s Film and Media program has achieved more than 600 recognitions ranging from admission to film festivals to Telly Awards and wins with the Great Lakes Region’s Emmy Awards organization.