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Emily Rizzo: Social Justice film production in S.Africa

September 5, 2017

Emily RizzoEmily Rizzo '18
extended her stay in South Africa to work with a production company on social justice documentary films.

Last semester I studied social and political transformation in Durban, South Africa. I came here wanting to tell stories in creative and effective ways, stories that are real and inspire social change. I was supposed to leave the country in May, but when my abroad program ended, I did not feel like my time was over. I felt there were too many stories left to collect.

With the help of the Elizabeth Marie Glotzbach Film Industry Award, I stayed in South Africa for an extra two months, interning for a documentary film production company Big World Cinema and working on my own audio documentary and podcast about comedians in Cape Town.

Interning for Big World Cinema was an extremely rewarding educational experience. I developed my storytelling skills, learned the ins and outs of producing social justice films and the small details of post-production. Big World directed my focus on a documentary film about an environmental and political activist in Liberia called Logs of War. Every day I was in communication with and working alongside the directors of Logs of War. I completed extensive archival research for the film and thus learned much about Liberia’s history and the skills necessary for successful archival research.

Outside of the internship, I continued to interview comedians for my podcast, which will soon be finished and published. I could not be more grateful to Skidmore for giving me this opportunity to learn and work with professionals in the field and for allowing me to grow my passion for documentary production.

—Emily Rizzo '18