A Return to Storytelling (2014-15)


The summer after my junior year, I did both a study abroad experience on sustainable food studies in Cuba and a media internship in Kenya. While it was amazing to see Cuba and the pubic and environmental health policies and practices within the country, I was more compelled by the opportunity I had to make a documentary in Kenya. The experience reminded me of my need to storytell and affirmed my new passion for documentary making. The next works I made would follow this passion.

Permanent Culture 

While working an internship for Actuality Media, I had the opportunity to direct Permanent Culture. Permanent Culture documents the journey of Joseph, a man who once worked in exploitative sugarcane fields but then found work at Palos Farm. At this permaculture farm, Joseph has not only found more fulfilling work, but also acquired leadership and ecological knowledge that allows him to now be a pillar of support for his family and community. Through his journey, the film explores the benefits of sustainable farming for workers and the environment.  

The Act of Framing 

After returning from Kenya, ready to create more visual stories, I discovered the medium of essay documentary. Inspired by the essay documentaries of Ross McElwee and John Bresland, I crafted an essay documentary of my own. The Act of Framing uses a reflexive style to examine the modern condition and the state of online intimacy. In it, I was able to construct both a verbal and visual narrative based in a powerful personal perspective. It was my first experience balancing voice and image, which I found incredibly fulfilling. 


For my second essay documentary, I decided to increase risk in my filmmaking. In an attempt to better understand gender, myself, and drag culture, I both directed and became the subject in a film about me learning the art of drag and performing it in a competition. Both political and ontological in its approach to storytelling, the film examines identity, gender, and the truth and illusion that go into storytelling.