The Passion of Art.

“I think this is what all of us as artists want – we want our audience to come away changed emotionally in some way. To take the experience of watching a film, and integrate it into their own life, and have an emotional experience about that viewing; that may be positive, that may be negative, but it is moving.

I think we all wanna move people emotionally. And that’s what art does best.”

– Maria Finitzo, Peabody Award-winning Filmmaker

You’ve hit the nail on the head and taken the words right outta my mouth, Maria. Thank You for being a huge role model and inspiration in my life.

Busy Little Bee.

I realize it’s been almost a month since my last update! Been taking on lots of exciting projects lately! Apart from the managing-my-life aspect (work visa to stay in the US longer, mourning Germany’s loss at the World Cup), here’re some updates on what’s been keeping me busy.

Kartemquin Films

Been pretty involved in the production of Maria Finitzo’s Invisible Seasons, a documentary that explores how change takes place in a democracy and the effects of Title IX on women’s athletics. Absolutely love going on shoots with the team doing 2nd camera, still photography, and filming behind-the-scenes footage. It’s always a blast when you put Maria, DP Peter Gilbert and Sound Recordist John Mathie together in one car. :) We’ve had opportunities to be a part of events like the Chicago Sky Opening Night at the Allstate Arena, the farewell banquet for the Kelly High School Women’s Soccer Team, and just learn so much through interviews with some really amazing people! Look out for the new demo that Editor Leslie Simmer’s been hard at work on, coming out mid August!

I’ve also had the pleasure of working the talented folks at Modea on the Invisible Seasons website. The initial draft concept they’ve sent me looks beautiful! It’s going to be such a fun and interactive website, I cannot wait for its official launch. :D

Innovations For Learning

I’m deep in post-production for the videos showcasing the company’s wonderful Online Tutoring program that brings together working professionals in the corporate world with 1st graders who need help with learning to read. They truly make it easy for the tutor because it only takes 30 minutes a week and he/she doesn’t even need to leave the office! All you really need is a phone line and an internet connection. Neat huh? I hope to be able to showcase all that through compelling stories told by our interviewees at the elementary schools and corporations we’ve visited. It’s so much fun exploring the various institutions and learning about what they do. It also gives me a great peek into the world of elementary education here in the US, since I didn’t grow up here. Plus it’s always heartwarming to be surrounded by 6 year-olds. :) Many thanks to my friends/DPs Karl, Alex, Trevor & Josh for coming on these journeys with me.

Studio BE

I got a random phonecall from Karl one day asking if I’d wanted to teach theater kids about film for a week-long summer program. Having no experience in the world of theater, I thought this would be a good chance to learn a little about it, while sharing what I know with a group of very expressive kids. Working with Aaron Shapiro and Tamara Drew at Studio BE was a ton of fun. We came up with a weeklong plan that would enable the kids to plan and shoot their very own promo video for their upcoming musical, RagTime!

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgQ9KSyNq0A]

Reel Talent Productions

That’s what my Cabrini Connections Film Club kids have decided to name our production company. We’re currently in the midst of an 8-week long summer course where they’ll learn filmmaking techniques through producing their very own music videos! The kids chose, right from day one, that they’d be working on music videos for Lil Mama’s Lip Gloss, and the opening theme song for the anime Air Gear. Two very different pieces, with very different feels.

Just earlier this week, the kids had 3.5 hours to shoot everything they needed. While one group had scenes with dancers, make-up and lots of attitude, the other group had shots of an intense card game, reminding me of casino scenes from James Bond.¬†Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll be hard at work on editing, finishing and summing up with our big screening party. Whee!

Manchester United Soccer School & 1World Sports

The Manchester United Soccer School started off their US tour in Chicago, where kids from all over had to compete for the opportunity to spend a day with coaches from one of the world’s best soccer teams around. How exciting it was for Jane, Jenny and I to be there to capture all the action on video at UIC. :)

1World Sports knows that’s a lot of life lessons that can be taught through sports, so they designed the “Responsibilities of an Athlete” program to teach kids about them. Mixed that with running around under the sun doing soccer drills with the Man U coaches, and the kids went home with smiles on their faces (and plenty of cool Man U merchandise!).


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Media Impact Spotlight Ep3 – Jehane Noujaim

I had the pleasure of meeting the 2006 TED Prize Winner and award-winning director of Control Room, Jehane Noujaim. She was a special guest speaker at Northwestern for Speaking With A Lens, an awesome event organized by the Muslim cultural Students Association. Jehane was also the great mind behind Pangea Day, an epic event that brought inspiring movies to over a million screens across the world simultaneously.

Enjoy episode 3! :)

[Vimeo http://vimeo.com/12143988%5D

Media Impact Spotlight is a web video series featuring professionals utilizing various forms of media for positive social change. Watch previous episodes and subscribe to the series here.

Bringing the world together through the power of film.

Watching 2006 TED Prize winner Jehane Noujaim share her wish for the world with such passion sends goosebumps down my spine. It’s the 2nd time I’ve seen this video and I still feel moved.

Was super excited that she was scheduled to speak at Northwestern tonight about Speaking With a Lens. I found her film Control Room remarkable and was really looking forward to meeting her. Very bummed out that the Iceland Volcano ash cloud has prevented her from flying to the US. McSA, I really hope you’ll find a way to reschedule this.

**Update** They did reschedule it! Woohoo! Just got back from the event where Jehane so kindly agreed to be interviewed for the next episode of Media Impact Spotlight! Look out for it soon! Thank you, Jehane for a wonderful talk. It clearly inspired many in the room. And thank you, McSA, for organizing this. Looking forward to more great events in future. :)