But her love for film didn’t spark until coming to UNC. She joined the Carolina Film Association in 2015. Although she’s a double major in dramatic art and English, most of her work outside school is behind the camera.
“The biggest reward, for me, is hitting people emotionally and changing them in some way after they’ve seen a performance,” she said. “Film is a great way to reach out and communicate and get ideas across because if anything, it opens peoples’ minds in a way that might have not been opened before.”
Nic Beery, owner of Beery Media and director of the Carrboro Film Festival, said a good film makes people think. He said the journey of filmmaking itself is eye-opening and takes the filmmaker down unexpected paths.
“I’m working on a film right now I just shot, and I don’t even know how it’s going to end up looking — and that’s what I love about editing,” Beery said. “It changes the mood completely. Every one of those little changes you make to make the film different.”
Senior Sarah Lanning is secretary for CFA and a communications major with a media and technology concentration.
“(The connections I’ve made in the communications department) really opened my eyes to what you could do with film and how you could basically create culture with it,” Lanning said.
Lanning said CFA lets students make short films that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. She said although there is a global cinemas minor within the comparative literature department, the communications department may not be getting the recognition it deserves in film. Lanning said combining the School of Media and Journalism with the communications department might help film students gain more connections.
UNC did, in fact, combine these forces until the early 1990s with a television, film and radio major. American television and film director Peyton Reed graduated from this program in 1987 and spoke at the School of Media and Journalism in 2015. Lanning said that the successes of students in the communications department aren’t recognized by these alumni.
“They’re coming back to UNC and acknowledging the work of the journalism school but not acknowledging the work of the students in the production department, which is disappointing,” Lanning said.
For students like Prakash Kadiri, the 2017 graduate who founded CFA, it’s important to give students opportunities that foster the creative mind. Films, he said, can speak directly to the soul.
“A lot of creative types — they get screwed over by the business side, and a lot of business types — they don’t appreciate the creative people,” Kadiri said.
Kadiri said his ultimate goal is to have the same artistic freedom as Stanley Kubrick or Christopher Nolan.
“A professor of mine — he sat me down and said, ‘Prakash, you’re very smart and very talented, but you need to go to (Los Angeles) where the money’s at,’” Kadiri said.
But even after making it to LA, Kadiri said it’s all about learning and getting funding for the next project. Through CFA, he thinks he can help create a demand in the state to bring more funding to future NC filmmakers.
For up-and-coming filmmakers, Beery said it’s best to go for what you want and tell the story in your heart.
“At the end of the day, people will forgive bad camera work (and even bad sound) if they have a good story and good acting — and that’s what you can do for free,” Beery said.