Inside the Story: BYU professor makes films featuring person from every state in U.S.

Inside the Story: BYU professor makes films featuring person from every state in U.S. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — A documentary film professor from Brigham Young University is capturing the stories of 50 people, each from a different state in the country.

Over the years, Brad Barber has made dozens of documentaries, including "Peace Officer," which hit the big screen.

"In some ways, I see it as the most important, exciting art form," Barber said of documentaries.

He has one epic project that is still going strong after nearly 10 years of work.

It's called "States of America," a series of short documentaries featuring one person in every state in the United States discussing how that state affects their identity.

"I'm really hoping that viewers who watch this will come away with an increased sense of empathy, compassion, and maybe curiosity about people that are different from them," Barber said.

Barber has already done the documentary about Utah. It features Daniel, a former pre-med student and social worker who committed himself to life without money.

So he lives in a cave just outside Arches National Park.

"In Utah's case, maybe there is kind of a stereotype of a certain kind of person who lives here and Daniel didn't fit that stereotype, and I love that," Barber said.

Barber just released his 16th episode. So far, he's shot documentaries for 26 states.

That means he has 24 left, and the project could take more than 10 years to complete.

But time is not an issue for this Emmy award-winning filmmaker. His happy place is in the art of telling stories.

"Maybe movies themselves don't change the world, but movies can motivate people to change the world," he said.

His interest in the project started in the 90s when he watched a BBC program that featured short documentaries on people around the country.

He thought it would be a great idea to do in America.

To watch some of his finished projects, you can visit his States of America website or Facebook page.