All posts filed under: Recent

LUNAFEST: Supporting Women in Film

On Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend LUNAFEST in Los Angeles, an evening celebrating films made by, for, and about women. The traveling short film festival, which was started by LUNA in 2000, has been championing women filmmakers for 16 years while also raising money for the Breast Cancer Fund. Last night’s screening, which included four short films by Lara Everly, Dr. Patricia Beckmann-Wells, Joey Ally, and Eva Vives, was exciting, invigorating, and super fun. Not only was each short exceptionally well made, but more impressively, they were all bursting with distinct and captivating authorial voices. Following the screening was a Q&A with the filmmakers, moderated by Janelle Riley of Variety. The center of attention for most of the Q&A was the status of women in film, focusing in particular on how each filmmaker has dealt with issues of inequality and what hopes they have for the future. While it was an honest night that could have ended on a bleak note, the commitment that these women have to telling stories that matter and building strong communities of women in the …

Snapshots from Coronado Island

A few weekends ago I had the chance to visit Coronado Island, just across the water from San Diego, CA. While I intended to get some work done while I was there, it was practically impossible with the near perfect weather and pacific waves calling out to me: just relax…relax…seriously dude, you need to chill… So I ended up getting about 10% of the work done that I needed to, but that’s what happens when you’re near a beach and the type of person who easily puts things off, right? Oh yeah…I have some time on Monday to finish that…I think… I took a day-trip to Coronado a few years ago, but this was the first time I really had the opportunity to check the place out. My boyfriend’s family was in town and kind enough to invite us down, so we explored the island for a few days with them. We ate breakfast at Clayton’s Coffee Shop, a 50’s diner that genuinely feels like a 50’s diner, walked along Dog Beach, and spent plenty of time strolling around the glorious Hotel del Coronado, …

Revisiting My Undergraduate Thesis Film

As I enter my last year of graduate school, I’ve found myself reflecting on my undergraduate years, almost longing for that simpler time. I’m only 25, yet I’ve been feeling far older, like my age is a scary number that keeps getting larger and larger and more overwhelming. But that’s a different story – one that I may return to in a separate post. This sentimental reflection on my past has led me to revisit some of my older work, such as my senior thesis film, Fruition. So much has changed since I started making Fruition in 2012, and although I haven’t made a notable short film since, I know that my perspective as a creator has evolved significantly. On the one hand, I’m not as naive and am instead somewhat disillusioned and overwhelmed by how little I understand about life itself. On the other hand, I feel more empowered and able to embrace who I am and my unique perspective. I know that I’m somewhat smarter and more equipped to understand others and the world around me. That being …

Essential Resources for Media Scholars & Fans

Whether you study media, teach media, or are just into media – the internet is full of resources. Below is a list of the sites that I use when I’m researching a film or television series, or even putting together a lesson plan for my undergraduate discussion section. Check ’em out, and be sure to share your favorite media studies resources in the comment section below! I’m always looking for new sites to explore.   Film Studies For Free → Film Studies For Free is a web-archive of open access (and ultra valuable) film and media studies resources. The site not only links to written work of note, but also features a number of spectacular video essays, my personal favorite medium for examining film and television.   Shot Logger → Shot Logger describes itself as a site that “facilitates the analysis of visual style in film and television.” Run by the Telecommunication and Film Department at The University of Alabama, Shot Logger boasts 941 films and TV shows logged, and 295,302 frames captured as of December 2015. For an example of the depth of …

The Best Vegan Cooking Shows Online

If you’ve been following my blog within the past year, you may know that I made the transition from vegetarian to vegan and am loving my new lifestyle. My ability to make this transition is in large part thanks to my sister, who opened my eyes to this compassionate way of living, but I also have the internet to thank. YouTube, in particular, with its surplus of vegan-related content, has played an immeasurable role in the success and sustainability of my transformation. Before becoming vegan, I seriously disliked cooking. I found the process to be somewhat boring and almost a waste of time, especially considering how convenient, affordable, and addictive greasy foods are. But when I began bringing more variety into my diet (because not eating meat and dairy actually means you try more new foods), cooking became fun and challenging in the best kind of way. My newly found enthusiasm for cooking is largely thanks to the blog and YouTube channel, hot for food, along with co-creator Lauren Toyota’s personal channel, Lauren in Real Life. And recently, I discovered another vegan blog and …

My Advice for Incoming Grad Students

After completing my first year of graduate school, I jotted down a list of things I had learned and wished I knew before starting my program. While each graduate student’s experience can be astronomically different from the next’s (depending on one’s school, program, and their tendencies as a student) there are a few pieces of advice that I think are somewhat universal when it comes to surviving graduate school, and more importantly, retaining your happiness and wellbeing in the process. 1. Having great time management skills is necessary for getting through your program… Time management isn’t just a good school skill, it’s a necessary life skill. In order to make it through your masters program you must understand your priorities for every day, week, month, semester, and year. How each individual deals best with organizing their time varies person to person, but for a good starting point check out About Education’s list of general tips for time management in graduate school. 2. Practicing self-care is crucial… A few months ago I posted about practicing self-care, which I think is important no matter what stage of your life you are in. …

What Film School Taught Me as a BFA

Though it’s been a little over three years since I completed my undergraduate program at The University of Arizona, I’ve decided to revisit those years in a post about what film school taught me as a production student. Now that I’m in graduate school at USC, I’ve decided to shift my academic focus to film studies for a variety of reasons, but production is still at the heart of what I hope to accomplish in the future. A few notes about this list: while I didn’t go to a prestigious undergraduate production program at NYU, USC, UCLA, or UT Austin, I think many of the lessons I learned are somewhat universal at all institutions. Also, this is a slightly snarky, but thoroughly honest list. Long story short, take what you will from it… You can’t be unreliable. No one will want to work with you if they can’t rely on you to show up when you’re needed and put in the work. Hearing “we’ll fix it in post” is common for a reason. Yeah, you might be able …

Keep Portland Weird!

During a recent trip to Portland, OR, I spotted the “Keep Portland Weird” mural I recognized from Portlandia, and I was pretty excited (though not excited enough to get a picture, oops!). But is it even possible for Portland not to be weird? Weirdness is in the air, the water, the food, the sounds, the streets, the businesses, the citizens. Weirdness is an intrinsic part of the city’s identity. Portland is weird and weird is Portland. Let me take a moment to say that my concept of “weird” is essentially “cool.” Portland isn’t weird in an uncomfortable, eerie way – Portland is weird in an uncompromisingly humble, kind, welcoming, and unapologetically unique type-of-way. I had briefly been to Portland once before, but for some reason, I wasn’t hit as hard with the weird-cool vibes as I was on this most recent trip. Oh, and Portlanders are unbelievably nice too! Below are a few pictures that I snapped during my trip, most of which are from Washington Park’s International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. Not pictured is all the great vegan food I ate (besides …

Embracing Failure

When I first started this blog (once upon a time called juliavanvalkenburg.com, ha!) I wrote a post about embracing failure and why making mistakes is essential to our personal growth and discovery. That post was deleted during an overhaul not long ago, but I decided that it was a topic worth revisiting. What is failure, anyway? When I first wrote about failure, my approach to the topic was far less nuanced. Now, I no longer subscribe to using that word. Beyond getting an F on a paper or exam, can someone even objectively fail? We don’t fail, but we certainly mess up. We realize something isn’t right for us and we move on. We react. We make a mistake and respond by shifting our approach or perspective. We hopefully make decisions that are better for ourselves and others as a result of our mishaps. This isn’t failure, this is growing. So when I do use the word failure, I don’t mean it in the objective, pass or fail, hyper-success-driven American way of thinking. I mean hitting a wall and realizing there’s another path around it. …

Video of the Day: ‘Fighting For Flint’

The Flint, Michigan, water crisis is an immense tragedy that is largely underreported on a national level. What has happened in Flint is an abomination – so why haven’t we been hearing about it everyday on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News since the unearthing of this calamity? Why is this community being overlooked? In an interview on The Real, Russell Simmons discussed environmental racism and declared that the same sort of disaster would never happen in a place like Beverly Hills, and he’s absolutely right. Because Flint is largely impoverished, their plight has been systemically ignored. Please watch and share Fighting For Flint from Elite Daily, which features the stories of Flint citizens whose lives have been destroyed by this catastrophe. And if you are in the position to donate, please look into giving to the Flint Water Fund and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.