Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Fairy tales are woven around nuggets of wisdom or truth. When Christina Bryant crafted a fairy tale during her senior year at Ithaca College, she folded in themes that explore her own revelations in life.
Jemila’s Tale is a 10-minute short that Christina wrote, directed, and edited as her senior thesis in the cinema and photography program. It’s about a 6-year-old girl who creates her own fairy tales after her local library runs out of the genre, and it explores themes of identity and ethnic representation through Jemila’s imagination.
“I was inspired to write the short after I'd finished a documentary about black Barbie dolls,” Christina says. “I thought about what it would look like if a young black [girl] created her own images of herself in places she felt excluded, like fairy tales for example.”
Those projects came together after Christina hit her stride as a film student, which she says happened during her last two years at IC. “Once you know the films you want to make, or you know you want to work with a camera, or you want to write, or do production design, your path becomes clear,” Christina says.
Jemila’s Tale was shown in three different film festivals after Christina graduated. She also took a two-month fellowship in North Carolina, followed by volunteer work at several other film festivals, including Sundance and SXSW. Her natural drive meshed well with her IC experience.
“Over the semesters, I actually began to crave a busy schedule because it brought out my best creative work,” Christina says. “Why not take non-major classes like African American Popular Music and Sociology of Sexualities, co-lead a non-profit video project with my fellow Park Scholars, paint a shed during a weekend Habitat for Humanity Build, and find local actors to be extras for a web series about Finger Lakes wine?”
Though she’s left IC, she thinks that work ethic is especially important to her budding film career. “By wearing different hats as a screenwriter, producer, set designer, social media guru, even holding a heavy light or two, I am still just as committed to the larger mission at hand: to tell a good story using film,” Christina says.
“That's how real life is. You have to find your passion in everything, no matter how small.”
>> More on this story: Park Scholars Program
Original photo of Christina and her young actress by Allie Taylor '11, producer of Jemila's Tale.
Many young musicians have role models—artists they look up to and respect—whose success fuels their growing aspirations for musical achievement. Not many get the chance to have one of their most influential role models as a mentor and teacher. But at Ithaca College, Jordan Morton got just that opportunity.
“Nicholas Walker had so much to do with my development as a musician and as a professional personality. He opened up the horizon to what I could accomplish,” Jordan says of her double bass professor. “Nicholas treats his studio like family. He cares about and guides each one of us throughout our entire undergraduate career and remains a valuable mentor and professional contact after graduation. Without him, I would definitely not be going to Paris.”
Jordan is the recipient of the Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship and residency at the Fondation des Etats-Unis in Paris, France. Four exceptional American artists and musicians are selected for the award each year. Through the scholarship, Jordan will pursue a year of private study under the tutelage of François Rabbath—a contemporary French double bass player, soloist, and composer—who also taught Nicholas Walker.
“For me, Paris will be an apprenticeship with the teacher of my teacher. I’m going straight to the source, becoming a part of the tradition. I’m going to absorb everything I can from François and explore the possibilities of my own musical voice. Now is the time to do that—to build on the foundation that Ithaca College has provided.”
Through close guidance, dedicated training, and industry connections from her professor and mentor, Jordan graduated well prepared for an innovative and fulfilling musical career—and she can’t wait to share her passion with the world. “I feel ready to connect with the public and to revitalize soulful, spiritual, intellectual music, because we need that as a culture whether we know it or not.”
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