Connecticut College Film Studies Alumni
Matt Gentile '12, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, American Film Institute MFA
"Film at Conn taught me the fundamentals required for the field of filmmaking. Reading and analyzing films critically, as well as the basics of production are essential for when you get out there. On a film set, you're always learning on the job and Conn gave me the tools I needed to begin -- without it I would've been very lost at AFI and beyond. The Film Studies Department gave me the space to grow, learn, and let me make the projects I wanted to do and find myself as a filmmaker in my formative years. My biggest takeaways from Film at Conn were in exploring new types of cinema that I'd never been exposed to before, and expanding my horizons. Film at Conn laid in the foundation, stretched my thinking, and pushed me to go deeper in how I looked at films and filmmakers.
My AFI thesis film, FRONTMAN, played 60 film festivals worldwide and won a dozen prizes -- including the Student Emmy for Best Directing. I was then hired to direct a film at Toei Studios in Japan and quickly after that, I was hired by AFI to direct a second film called LAWMAN which is currently playing the festival circuit starting at the Oscar-qualifying LA Shorts Festival..." Read the full interview here.
Matt Gentile, '12
Brian Newell '05, film/tv editor, National Geographic
Brian Newell '05
"Film Studies at Conn was inspiring from the first day of class. Learning about the history of film and delving into film theory - which I never really even considered before - made me think about and love the filmmaking process so much more than I already did. Simply, I knew I had to keep making and learning about film. Being a Film Studies major at Conn prepared me well with the combination of production and theory that was taught. It was great to learn some of the specific tools, like the film editing software, but you can pick that stuff up anytime. Being exposed to all the film theory and the deep dives into filmmaking craft formed the great foundation for thinking about how I tell every story I work on.
I eventually became an assistant editor at a film production company in DC, and later, post production supervisor where I managed the entire post-production department. These were great jobs, but I wanted to be an editor. So I convinced them to start letting me edit TV shows and for the next few years I worked as a freelance editor on TV shows for Discovery, History, Travel, National Geographic, and PBS, among others. Now I work at National Geographic writing and editing documentaries and shorts..." Read the full interview here
Lily Plotkin '14, The Documentary Group
"My liberal arts education has been one of the most valuable tools in my success in Documentary. The field requires curiosity, an ability and eagerness to learn about a wide range of topics, a problem solving attitude - all qualities that were nurtured during my time at Conn, particularly in the film department. I found that the balance in the Film Studies department between theory/analysis and hard production skills made me uniquely prepared for different aspects of the film world. Learning about the history of film, exploring and critiquing the storytelling choices of some of the greatest (and worst...) filmmakers, and then getting to put those thoughts to practice in production gave me a very well-rounded and practical film education. I am so grateful that the department emphasized this and nurtured our critical analysis of representation - it made clear to me the power and responsibility of filmmaking.
For the last year, I have been helping to produce a six-part series that seeks to explore both the history and contemporary manifestations of structural, judicial, and cultural inequality in America from the Civil War era to the present...". Read the full interview here
Lily Plotkin '14
Christof Putzel '02, Academy Award-winning/Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, Current TV, Al Jazeera
Christof Putzel '02
"Conn made the impossible possible. My film, “Left Behind” went on to beat every film made in graduate film schools in the country. It won the Gold Oscar Award for Best Student Documentary, it beat all of the big schools. It also won First Place in the College Emmys, the HBO award for Best Student Film, as well as the David Wolper award in the International Documentary Association, among many others. It was amazing to come out of college from being that kid who fell asleep editing in the lab to spending a year touring film festivals and accepting major awards. I don’t attribute the film’s success to my innate talent; I just saw a possibility, I worked to make it happen, and Connecticut College put it all in place to make it happen. Everyone came together to help me pull it off. And I needed that support. When people ask me about Connecticut College – that is the experience I remember. My life would have been totally different if I went somewhere else. I wouldn’t have done something like this somewhere else..." Read the full interview here
Kaitlin Saltzman '07, Blondie Girl Productions
"My filmmaking professor had a huge effect on me. At first, I didn't love movies the way other people did - and yet my professor accepted me into the Film Studies world. Actually, he didn't just accept me; he embraced me. He asked me what I wanted to do and why I was there. He told me to pay attention to what it was that I had focused on: developing story, securing locations, and hiring other people to do the camera and other production work. He told me I was a producer, and this moment led me to go to grad school and then to figure out the rest of my career.
Now I'm the Vice President, Head of Television for Blondie Girl Productions, Ashley Tisdale's production company, with an overall deal with Warner Horizon (a branch of Warner Bros. TV)..." Read the full interview here
Kaitlin Saltzman, '07
Tim Messler '05, Editor
Tim Messler '05
"For the last several years I have been working in post-production. I ended up co-editing Kamp Katrina which premiered at SXSW in 2007 [and won Special Jury Award at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Best Documentary at the Magnolia Film Festival and the Special Jury Award at the Nashville Film Festival]. I was an assistant editor at Ark Media on MAKERS: Women in Business. Recently I have been editing and co-producing an independent documentary, now titled Sala’s Gift.
The courses I took at Conn (Documentary Theory and Production, Experimental Film, Cinematic Cities, etc...) were mind-expanding events for me. I was exposed to styles of filmmaking that I never knew existed and I started developing a vocabulary for talking and writing about films. My favorite things were the camaraderie I felt with my fellow Film Studies majors and the experience of watching and discussing challenging, offbeat movies with them. It was always exhilarating to screen our projects for each other..." Read the full interview here.
Linnea Langkammer '14, Award-winning filmmaker, Temple University MFA student
"Connecticut College instilled me with a desire to keep making films. With all the access to equipment and time in classes devoted to production – I never wanted to stop after I left. The experiences I got at Conn that integrated documentary, experimental, and fiction opened me up to new ideas and opportunities I never thought I’d have. My films tend to defy traditional labels and classifications because of it.
I really felt like I was part of a community in Film Studies at Conn. We had a deep, deep bond as we made films and talked about films together. So many of the best things happened late night in the editing room, when we were sleep-deprived and barely chugging along. We stayed up late working so hard that we’d have to find ways to unleash our energy. We’d have play fights, chasing each other around while others of us were sleeping under the desks. It was such a special place. We’d go get breakfast together and then march right back to the editing lab to continue working. The best part of Film Studies at Connecticut College was the strong community bond we all shared. I’ll never forget the friends I made..." Read the full interview here
Linnea Langkammer '14
Juan Pablo Pacheco '14, Professor, curator, writer
Juan Pablo Pacheco '14
"I've been building a strong network of colleagues in Academia and in the arts, and now I'm a professor of Video Art and Digital Arts at the Xavierian University of Bogotá, in the department of visual arts. I am also the co-director of an artistic space called Plataforma Bogotá, an interactive media lab for art, science and technology. We do laboratories, which are spaces for open and interdisciplinary experimentation, sometimes to create prototypes and sometimes to deepen our understanding of certain ideas and processes. I am also a regular contributor to an online magazine based in San Francisco, called Dissolve SF. I'm currently working as a curator and jury for the first digital arts award in the African continent, a project called Africa ArtBox based in Senegal. I am constantly working on my scholarly writing along with my audiovisual and curatorial projects; they all inform each other in a very rich and powerful way.
I can't even begin to explain how important was the Film Department at Conn for my personal, professional and intellectual growth..." Read the full interview here.
Marialyse Martiney '16, The Walt Disney Studios
Marialyse Martiney, '16
"At Conn, each course explored all aspects of filmmaking rather than focusing on just one element of the craft. Some schools teach specialized courses in editing, lighting, sound, etc., but at Conn, I was able to develop as a filmmaker in each of my courses. And furthermore, I was quickly able to figure out that post production was my favorite part of the process. I was able to hone my skills as an editor through the rest of Professor Morin’s classes. I currently work at The Walt Disney Studios as an Entry Digital Operator in Digital Distribution working exclusively on Disney+ content...." Read the full interview here.
Trey Chapman '16, AbelCine, independent filmmaker
"My first industry job was as a cast driver for the feature film “Going Places,” a Big Lebowski spinoff directed by John Turturro. Being a cast driver was an incredible look into how large-scale production works, but it also meant I was working crazy hours (5pm- 5am sometimes). Continuing to direct my own work is extremely important to me, and I quickly realized I wouldn’t have the time to do it if I jumped on another production after that one. Running errands around NYC for the feature, I discovered a bunch of film jobs where I could keep learning about the “big business” with much shorter hours, so after wrap I started hunting for one of those. Eventually I found a position at AbelCine, a rental house in the West Village. I’ve been there for about 8 months and it’s a perfect setup for me right now. I’m learning a ton about high-end camera gear, beginning pre-production on my next project, and tapping into an awesome network of other young creatives who are living and breathing film like me."
Trey Chapman '16
Andie Pratt '17, Walt Disney World
Andie Pratt '17
"Film at Connecticut College is like taking the Blue Pill versus taking the Red Pill. You can either walk away from film, going about your life as if nothing has changed, or you can explore the sexism, racism, and negative social politics often seen in Hollywood and equip yourself with tools in order to combat them. My favorite thing about Film at Conn is how tightly knit our department is. I honestly don't know a stronger bond than that of Film Majors at Conn; we're always ready to help each other out, whether it's filling a crew position, asking for constructive criticism, or discussing a film from class. You always have the most committed and friendly group of people that you'll ever meet: your fellow film majors, minors, and professors.
"I'm now working in costuming at Disney's Hollywood Studios; I get to help beloved characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and many, many others look their absolute best for when they go out to meet guests during the day. Film at Conn is all about time management, and honestly without that skill I would be nowhere. I always have to figure out how long it will take to get a character ready, and which characters should be dressed in what order to be able to have everyone out in time to meet guests and out on time for the show. I wouldn't trade my experience in the Film Studies Department for anything in the world."