Class of 2018

Pam Austin is a Canadian-born filmmaker and media scholar. She was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, but recently completed her undergraduate degree in Cultural Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She was the Festival Director for the 10th Annual FOKUS Film Festival, and has several years of production experience working at The Banff Centre, TV1 in Montreal, and various not-for-profit groups. She is fluent in both French and English, and can speak some Italian. Through this program, she hopes to develop her voice as a filmmaker and an artist, and to dive into the world of documentary film.

Yu Bai is originally from Shandong, China. Born in a family atmosphere rich in art, she regards documentary as the best way to combine her interests. Yu received her degree in Television Directing from Communication University of China. Her documentary A Solitary Art was awarded Best University Students Work in the 5th China Academy Awards of Documentary Film. Yu interned at a local Chinese TV station, for a documentary production company, and a video website. Yu is particularly interested in traditional Chinese culture as well as social issue filmmaking and hopes to make documentaries that promote critical awareness.

Kai Allen Blakley is a Chicago-based filmmaker, photographer, and war veteran. He holds a BA from Columbia College Chicago and is currently producing work in Micronesia. Before attending school, Kai spent five years in the US Army traveling between Europe and Asia. He attributes the experiences during this period to have fueled an interest in foreign culture and passion for cinema. At Northwestern he plans to further his knowledge of the production process in order to craft emotionally engaging films that tackle complex issues with a degree of sophistication, neutrality, and depth.

Elodie Edjang-Mengueme is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Her undergraduate degrees are in advertising and anthropology. She was born in France but grew up in Georgia, USA. She is fluent in French and English and is in the process of learning Italian. Elodie is drawn toward people driven narratives and social documentary. While at Northwestern, she is interested in learning how to expand her storytelling capabilities and technical skills. Currently, she is spending her time traveling.

Peter Franco studied filmmaking at Carleton College in Minnesota where he received a Princess Grace grant to make his thesis The Last of Fall, a fiction film about a high school football star struggling to come to terms with his sexuality (32nd Reeling Film Festival). After graduating he worked in post-production on a documentary about the global conflict between traditional and industrial agriculture. Most recently he traveled to North Carolina to shoot a nonfiction project called Hog Country. He hopes to learn from and collaborate with others on his own projects, help in post-production on other projects, and cultivate his interest in and study of music and sound.

Kyeongbok Lee was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. He received a BA in History from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. When he first came to the United States, Lee learned English by watching lots of American films, an experience that set him on a path to becoming a filmmaker. In addition to interning at the Seoul Broadcasting System in South Korea, Lee’s short films have screened at the DMZ Documentary Festival in South Korea and have won multiple awards at Emory University. Lee has an interest in social issue documentary filmmaking that supports disenfranchised and underrepresented people.

Stephen Van Vleet Nelson is from Boise, Idaho. He received a Bachelors degree in Theater and Media Arts at Brigham Young University. His interests lie mainly in documenting the existential dread that comes from failure, disaster, and self loathing. He loves going to the beach with his friends. He is currently finishing his first feature length documentary about religious courting rituals and hopes to experiment with self-distribution. 

Nearly a decade away from the classroom, Joyy Norris is happily brushing off retirement this Fall to pursue her dream of becoming a documentarian. A native of Chicago’s Southside, Joyy spent her post-undergrad years working in school offices, on indie film shoots, as a freelance writer, and currently a program assistant with the Rebuild Foundation's Black Cinema House, culminating in a wealth of subjects to explore. With a love of the unknown and overlooked, Joyy seeks the stories and storytellers that go forgotten in the progression of modernity.

Sandeep Reddy Pamulapati was born in India, raised in the Middle East, studied in an American university, and worked with the Irish. Apart from English, he speaks Telugu and Hindi, but considers English to be his first language. Sandeep majored in Communication at Northwestern University’s Qatar branch, with a concentration in filmmaking. After graduation, he worked as an editor at a production company in Qatar concentrating on a series of films that look behind-the-scenes at the 2016 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Sandeep sees documentary film as something that can transcend cultural differences while still remaining relevant. Documentary films can peel back the layers and show the subject as it truly is.

An Omaha native, Chad Wallin relocated to Colorado after spending a number of years traveling abroad. He received his Bachelor's in International Studies and Music from the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he worked as an audio engineer.  A musician and songwriter, Chad has always been interested in both sound and film. He has been a student and employee of Semester at Sea and studied documentary filmmaking under Academy Award winner Paul Wagner. In 2012, he founded a cultural exchange program that connected students in Ghana with a classroom in Kansas City through Skype. Chad hopes to create culturally immersive films and continue to write and perform music. 

Heqiuzi Wang was born and raised in eastern China, in an area called Water Town. She is a graduate of Communication University of China with a BFA in Television Production and she previously interned for Greenpeace. Wang is interested in gender issues, environmental issues and the delicate balance between objectivity and subjectivity in documentary. During the past year, she has been working on a documentary about a young couple leaving their university in London and returning to China to have a baby together.

Born and raised in northern China, Yin (Evan) Wang has been living in Chicago since 2012 and earned his MS in biology at Illinois Institute of Technology. Fascinated by the rich film culture and the charming community of cinephiles, last year Evan took a break from his career in life science and volunteered at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center. He sees documentary filmmaking as the creation of an intimate time and space, where the subject and the viewer are connected by a bridge that cannot be as easily built in real life off the screen. At Northwestern, he looks forward to a formal technical training as well as being inspired by the talented faculty and other aspiring filmmakers.