I had a passion for storytelling since I was a toddler that guided who I am today. But it was my experience in college studying journalism, film and video that really felt like I was doing something I was meant to do.
Then, September 11th happened, in 2001. And it changed everything. I became passionate about film and video, what it meant to people to share their stories. How important it was for all of us to connect through storytelling.
Sitting in a classroom observing the blank faces of my colleagues as they watched in horror as the news shared stories from victims and witnesses, did something to raise my awareness in storytelling. It was powerful. It was like the biggest story ever, and it seemed like it was reported by witnesses and victims. Because the media could not get there fast enough to setup their equipment and start recording.
All that high end expensive equipment, and it was ordinary people with camcorders who were recording the footage the news was broadcasting, even today.
People were carrying cellphones and sharing their stories, what they were witnessing and where they were while the nightmare was unfolding. The internet facilitated bloggers to also share stories of that day outside of the mainstream news.
I began to connect what I was observing. Then I had a vision of the future where people would be able to record, report, and connect using their cellphones…even make movies. I was sure the manufacturing companies making cell phones were also seeing what I saw. They had to, I thought.
It all started all started on that awful day, for me. That vision helped me get through that horrible day. But it also put me on the path I walk today.
To everyone who experienced it, to the victims and survivors, I always feel and empathize with you on this day. It’s a day I simply will never and can never forget.
The film festival was launched 13 years ago in 2009. It’s always been exclusive to films and videos shot with mobile phone cameras.
I also have a podcast where I hope to inspire people to share their stories through film and I discuss smartphone filmmaking with my guests.
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1 Audio source clips of 9/11
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Internet Audio Archive: Archive.org