By Michele Tallarita ’12
Working with an accomplished filmmaker this summer gave Daniela Filip ’15 a big boost in fulfilling her dream of becoming a filmmaker herself.
A double major in film & media studies and international affairs, she edited video, collected research, acquired permissions for shooting footage, and performed other work as an EXCEL Scholar with Nandini Sikand, assistant professor of film & media studies.
“I did not actually think I would have this chance when I came to college,” says Filip, who hails from Moldova. “I knew I wanted to try majoring in film & media, but I didn’t think I would get any real experience in making a movie while I was here.”
In fact, Filip did just that. Her biggest project was creating a short film from footage of Sikand performing Odissi, a form of Indian classical dance, in the streets of New York.
“The idea of that film is taking dance out of the performance context and putting it on the street,” says Sikand, who notes that she garnered some bewildered stares from passersby as she performed on the steps of the New York Public Library and in Times Square. “Daniela has done a really good job with the rough cut. She taught herself how to edit.”
“Definitely one of the best parts of this EXCEL scholarship was getting hands-on experience with the editing,” says Filip. “It’s a little artistic. It’s like painting a picture.”
Filip was also very involved in doing research for another of Sikand’s films, an experimental short entitled One if by Land, which will explore the politics of undocumented immigration to the global North via land, sea, and air. For this research, Filip watched numerous films and documentaries. She also helped to apply for permissions for shooting the footage, which Sikand hopes to begin this fall.
Sikand says of working with Filip, “I like the fact that she questions me, in a way. If I have a crazy idea, and she’s skeptical about it, she’ll tell me. It doesn’t feel like a professor-student relationship. I treat her like a collaborator.”
Meanwhile, Filip is glad to have a hand in Sikand’s projects, which she feels are a good example of films that enrich those who watch them.
“I like that the topics of these films are so diverse,” says Filip, who is helping Sikand to research film festivals to which to send them. “I think film is a great medium of education.”
Though she wouldn’t mind trying her hand at another type of film someday: “I’ve always loved action movies,” she says.