Hometown: Rapid City, S.D.
Majors: Radio/television/film, with an art history minor
Is there a moment that you knew you wanted to do film? I don’t know if there’s a specific moment, but my parents bought me my first video camera when I was in eighth grade, and I just went nuts. I ruined four cameras in the next two years because I used them so much and constantly had them in whatever bag I was carrying. It’s something I became obsessed with early on.
Biggest accomplishment? I’ve really grown a great network of friends, especially ones who have the same interests in film that I do.
What’s next? I’m not sure yet, but I’m waiting to hear about a documentary project in Montana that might be happening. It's abut a Catholic mission that was started by a group of nuns and has grown into a hospital chain in the northwestern United States. So if they get funding, I’ll be helping to direct and shoot that.
What is your favorite role in creating a film? I’ve done a lot of the different roles, but I like directing most because you’re a part of all of the aspects of making a film. You get to be involved in the entire project.
Does where you’re from ever have anything to do with the films you make? I was born in Kansas City. I’ve lived in Omaha and Colorado. Having moved around a little bit, I think I have a very unique voice. I think the films I make are very different from the films people are making here at Northwestern. Right now I’m working on a film about the Oglala Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I think most Northwestern students base their documentaries in Chicago, and they’re about urban issues.
Defining anecdote: Both of my parents are doctors, and people always asked me if I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. From the age of 4, I always said, “No. No way.” And people would ask, “Why, don’t you want to help people?” I always replied, “Well, I don’t want to help people like that. I want to tell people things.” I think it came across as bossy, but I think it turned into wanting to share people’s stories, express the things that I think about. It’s a different way of helping people.
Dream job? I’d love to work for a smaller production company because you get more hands-on experience. I don’t know which city or anything, but I know I’d like to be a producer or director.
Hobbies? I do a lot of outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. I also do slack lining. It’s like tightrope walking, but you’re low to the ground. You tie a rope between two trees and you walk on the rope. You can do tricks like stand up from sitting on it. It’s slack, not tight, so you can bounce on it. It helps with improving your balance.
What have you been working on lately? I worked in a clinic on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota after my sophomore year. I realized I didn’t know too much about the reservation even though I lived an hour away from it. It’s the poorest reservation in the poorest county in the nation. They have a lot of struggles with living conditions and government aid. It’s like a Third World country, but it’s surrounded by the United States. I felt like it was something that needed to be talked about more.
For the past year, six of us students have made trips to Pine Ridge. We’ve filmed and met people and allowed them to tell their stories. We just want to give people a voice. The documentary, Language of the Unheard, is about 20 minutes long, so it could be on TV someday.