Camel Summer Collaborations series kicks off with panel discussion among filmmakers
In the first installment of Camel Summer Collaborations, a new series of virtual discussions, students, faculty, staff and alumni came together to talk with current and former Conn students who work in film.
The conversation, moderated by Persephone Hall, director of the Hale Center for Career Development and MaryAnne Borrelli, who serves as the Susan Eckert Lynch ’62 Professor of Government, explored topics related to intentional storytelling and empowerment.
Panelists for this inaugural event included award-winning filmmakers Maggie Burns ’21, Nifemi Olugbemiga ’20 and Sam Simonds ’19. The series will consist of five weekly conversations on a variety of topics, all meeting on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
“The unique, dynamic and distinctive nature of the Connecticut College community is on display with these Camel Summer Collaborations,” Hall said. “During this pandemic, we’ve missed the benefit of being together and these weekly events will allow us to celebrate all that makes us special.”
Borrelli agreed, stressing, “We are hoping that everyone throughout our College community feels welcome, so we really do come together and share with one another.”
Burns, a film and psychology double major, co-wrote, directed and edited the film Deserving, a semi-finalist at the Los Angeles CineFest and the Alternative Film Festival, and an official selection of the Mystic and the Boston Student Film Festivals.
“I was honored to participate on this panel with Nifemi and Sam, and these types of virtual discussions are important, because they offer a way to continue conversations outside of the classroom and spark new conversations that can be carried back into the classroom,” Burns said.
Olugbemiga is currently a Newman Civic Fellow with the Boston-based Campus Compact, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the public purposes of higher education. Her film, Sisters of the Yam: From Purple to Lavender, is part of a senior, year-long research project investigating the long-lasting effects of race-based historical trauma. The film examines “black womanhood and the impact sisterhood has on the self: self-definition, self-exploration and self-love.”
Simonds was awarded the College’s Oakes and Louise Ames Prize for his film studies thesis, Smoke of the Sea, a multi-lingual work filmed in Taiwan. The film was shown at the Amis Music Festival and the Columbia University International Symposium on Indigenous Peoples and Borders. Another of his films, From a Valley of the Talol, was named Best Documentary at the Queens City Film Festival and at the Reading FilmFest. He is currently researching his next film, knowing home.
The next Summer Camel Collaboration will be convened on Wednesday, July 22, at 5:30 p.m. Director of Race and Ethnicity Programs Truth Hunter will lead an interactive workshop exploring the connections between self-love and dance.