From a young age, I was a storyteller. My parents read picture books to me and my sister every night with a bowl of fruit. I began to create my own stories. I developed people and worlds that could function any way I wanted them to, outside of the confines of reality. Starfish, jellyfish and sofas could talk, joke and feel embarrassed. As a kid, I always gave feelings to inanimate objects, apologizing to snowballs for smashing them on the ground. It’s a trait I can’t help — bringing things to life. This is why I want to make films.

I love the media of film because it allows people to project their dreams and imaginary ideas into the world for everyone to see and hear and feel. Growing up regularly watching videos and cartoons, I viewed my own world in a cinematic light. When I listen to certain powerful songs I imagine a scene for a music video, or moving shapes and images that match the sound of the instruments. Having been raised in a family of artists, I have always been compelled to create. It’s as necessary as breathing or knowing how to walk. I believe that everyone needs an outlet to express themselves, whether it be boxing, dancing, or carpentry, and my tool of choice is film.

Over the summer, I was part of the film program of the New York State Summer School of the Arts, held at Ithaca College. We spent the month of July watching countless experimental and surreal 16 mm films, and that changed my view on the form forever. I was sucked into the world of Luis Bunuel with his absurdly real eye-slicing. Stan Brakhage showed me that the wings of a moth can act as a filter. By the end of the month, I had forgotten what a romantic comedy was like. The movies I used to see in theatres suddenly seemed so hollow. I realized that I didn’t want a career doing a puppet show with Hollywood divas, I wanted to make art. No longer was storytelling my only objective in film, I wanted to present a sequence of images in a meaningful way.

Lately, my primary interest in film is capturing beauty. I don’t just mean things that are aesthetically beautiful to me, like intricate textures and splashing water, but the beauty of human nature. I am moved by raw emotional moments, like pure kindness — when a young boy defends his buddy against a bully, or when someone gives up their seat for a pregnant lady on the subway. My favorite thing about humans is when they let down their guards and express their gut feelings without caring about the materialistic societal rules we make up. This cannot be reproduced by good acting or special effects. No matter how high the ratings are for reality TV shows, they will never even be close to real sentiment. It must be found organically in the eye of the filmmaker. It’s these things that I wish to convey on film, so others can see and gain appreciation for the beauty that I see in every day life.

I sometimes wish I could have chosen a career path with a more guaranteed income or easier work, but I could never lie to myself and pretend to be interested in a dull office job surrounded by staplers and fluorescent lights and the sound of the water cooler. I’ve always known my job must involve creativity, art, thoughts and emotions. I also have a desire to help people and leave a mark on this world after I’m gone, and make it a better place in any way I can. Though many people might not think art is the way to do this, I firmly defend it. Art has affected me positively as an outlet for my imagination and inspiration. I want to make people think, and I want to inspire people to look at things a different way, the way many films have for me. I want to go to film school so I can be equipped with the skills to write, plan, set up, capture, edit and present my ideas to the world, and hopefully change it a little.

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