Jan. 25, 2010
Leah Seupersad, 404-413-1354
Lydia Sue-Ellen Chitunya's skills behind a video camera have taken her from football fields to France. The film and video major will be able to share her experiences this year as a student ambassador for Women in Film and Television Atlanta (WIFTA).
"I've always loved film. Even before I moved to America every time I would get pocket money I would always sneak out to the movies," said Chitunya, a native of Zimbabwe who moved to Atlanta seven years ago. "I believe that film is the most realistic form of art and a very powerful medium. It's the only form of art that has the ability to change the viewer whether for the good or bad."
As an ambassador, Chitunya will be the student representative on WIFTA's Board of Directors. She says she plans to encourage more film students, especially females, to continue to defy boundaries in the film and video industry.
"I want to encourage my fellow classmates to explore opportunities beyond the realms of the classroom," Chitunya said. "Most of them just go to class and hope to learn everything there, but in reality you have to be a driven go getter because it's a tough industry to break into. Experience is really important."
Before Chitunya graduates this semester, she says she will have had the opportunity to produce and edit several films, build a sample reel of film productions and meet numerous people working in the film industry. A highlight of her student experience was interning at the Cannes Film Festival in France, where her film "iPod Frenzy" was previewed in the Festival's Short Film Corner. The film demonstrates how iPods have influenced students and changed the way the world consumes media.
"It was like a dream come true because I really didn't think that I would go to Cannes that early in my life. Not everyone gets to Cannes, even people who have been in the industry forever," said Chitunya, who was one of four interns selected to travel to France with Creative Minds in Cannes and to work with International Creative Management, one of the top talent agencies in the United States.
"The CEO commended us on a job well done and we have been asked to come back this year," she said.
Chitunya is also a film intern for Georgia State's new football team. She is among a group of students who help film the team's practices and other football-related events at least four days each week.
"I'm learning a lot about how crucial the video department is to any football team," she said. "Being part of the process from the beginning of the team until we play our first game has had me really excited. I actually count down all the days that are left before the first game."
Chitunya has worked on several other projects with GSU film student Jessica Imoto Harney, including films for the BET Filmmakers Challenge and the 48 hour Film Challenge. She has been awarded scholarships from both WIFTA and Creative Minds in Cannes, a film program that provides students an opportunity to work internships and connect with companies that can launch their careers.
"One day I hope to make a difference in the world," Chitunya said. "Third world countries are poorly represented in the media. There is a lot of serenity and beauty that we do not see reflected in the media. On the other hand third world countries are only shown the lavish side of first world countries. I want to sort of bridge the gap."