I’ve been interested in film for a huge portion of my life, but didn’t actualize this interest until relatively recently. When applying for schools, I never considered film school as an option, telling myself that it was beyond me, way out of line. Yet upon my return from study abroad in Spain, halfway through my junior year of college, I found myself with a year and half of school left, a thesis to write, and enough time to complete another major of my choosing. Thus I thrust myself into the film school at the University of Denver, with a focus on documentary storytelling being an obvious choice. I graduated this spring from the University of Denver with degrees and honors in psychology and film, with an emphasis on documentary filmmaking. Psychology has allowed me to better understand those around me, and film has given me a medium to tell the stories that I grow to understand. For isn’t storytellers what we are, at the end of the day? We may have transcended, leaving the smoke filled campfire circles, but those of us that are born to tell stories will tell them, only hardened by any adversity. Adversity is merely another chapter.
Last summer, after taking my first film class ever, Intro to Production, I applied for and received a grant through DU to film a documentary for my senior thesis. With this money, I borrowed my mom’s tiny digital camera and moved to a small village in Nicaragua, alone. I met with a professor there for six days, then spent the next two months living and breathing the stories of Gigante. I learned more in these two months about filmmaking, travel, and myself than I had in years of schooling. In the field notebook I kept, there’s a scrawl towards the bottom of a page, “I find in every second here what I spend weeks searching for a mere taste of at home.”
Six months after my return, I finally finished editing what became my senior thesis “Encantado Por El Mar", a short documentary focused on maintaining the integrity of a small local culture as foreign development careened forward. With barely any time to breathe, I began another film, this one more local. “Leveled” was my capstone documentary at DU, a short film that explored reactions to our own mortality and followed the head groundskeeper at Fairmount Cemetery. This film took on a much more poetic tone than my previous film, aided exponentially by the incredible visuals guided by our DP. “Leveled” went on to win the Best of Fest award at DU’s InShort Film Festival and is now an official selection for DocuWest Film Festival in Golden, Colorado.
I found Chance Multimedia, through a flyer posted in a classroom at DU, advertising the ever-elusive ‘paid internship’. Although this caught my eye through the plethora of papers, a look at their website really hooked me in. Within 24 hours of sending Jessica and James an email, I sat in front of them for an interview. It became clear to both parties (I hope) that I’d be good fit with the company. These were people whose ideals aligned with my own, to whom helping people was a first priority and film an integrative medium. I left the interview politely declining the opportunity to ruminate my decision over the weekend, and accepted on the spot. It’s incredibly fulfilling finding work that allows me to use the skills I’ve learned to achieve goals that coincide with the values I hold close.
To me, documentaries are the summation of passion, the most involving and incredible experience one can hope to encounter. To find a way to tell a story as I’m immersed neck-deep and looking at the distant shore of my comfort zone. The world needs people that are willing to tirelessly work, to strap on that bulletproof vest to tell a story. Because the stories are out there, waiting to be told, waiting for a storyteller.