From ‘movie kid’ to aspiring filmmaker
“I’ve been a ‘movie kid’ forever. I even think of my life as punctuated by what movie or television show was out during that year,” says recent graduate Marianna Mattes.
Mattes is driven by her dream of becoming a filmmaker, and credits the College of Liberal Arts with preparing her for her career. She earned a BA in cultural studies and comparative literature with a minor in cinema and media culture in 2018, and she’s currently being mentored by award-winning independent documentary filmmaker Melody Gilbert.
Mattes believes that her liberal arts degree gives her an edge over those who studied film production at a technical college—even though many see that as the traditional path to a career in film.
“I am so glad that I went to the University of Minnesota and did my reading and writing, as opposed to just learning how to use cameras,” she says. “… Getting a liberal arts degree made me a more competent person—as opposed to being competent in a skill.”
Mattes’ passion for film was affirmed in the very first class she took. The topic was oppositional cinemas, and Mattes recalls how the instructor, Andrea Gyenge, explained the concept: “It’s not a mirror with which you reflect reality, but rather a hammer with which to smash it.”
She describes the class as “a lightning bolt to the heart. All my social and political consciousness, all my academic curiosities, and my life as an aspiring filmmaker suddenly lined up... It reminded me that what I wanted to do was important."
Mattes’ long-term goal is to write and direct for film and television, and she has gained valuable experience through her mentorship. She’s well on her way to pursuing her dreams, and she feels her time at CLA has prepared her well for the working world. “I’m looking, I’m interested, I’m competent,” says Mattes.