Name: Marissa Dodds
Accomplishment: Accepted into the 2011 San Diego Asian Film Foundation’s REEL Voices program.
Key to Awesomeness: When 15-year-old Marissa Dodds attended the San Diego Asian Film Festival last year, she was simply looking for a bit of entertainment. What she didn’t know is that attending the festival would kick-start her passion for storytelling and film. Just eight short months later, Dodds has been chosen among nine other local high school students to take part in a one-of-a-kind internship experience known as the REEL Voices program.
“Before I went to the San Diego Asian Film Festival, I thought film, especially documentaries, seemed like a distant way of communicating with an audience,” Dodds said. “When I felt each of the REEL Voices students’ passion break through the screen and envelop me, my view changed.”
Her view changed so drastically, in fact, that Dodds decided to apply for a spot in the REEL Voices program. This 12-week internship teaches students how to use professional videography and editing equipment as well as the ins-and-outs of production. At the end of the program each student will have completed an eight-minute documentary to be premiered at the annual San Diego Asian Film Festival in October 2011.
To apply for the program, Dodds has to answer several essay questions, propose documentary ideas, and impress officials during a personal interview. Luckily, her hard work paid off, when she got her acceptance phone call from REEL Voices instructor Mike Watson.
Despite the fact that Dodds, by her own admission, has little experience with cameras and filmmaking, she hopes that her documentary can impact its viewers.
“I’m really excited to explore film as a form of art and expression,” she said. “I’d like an opportunity to show a different perspective. My audience doesn’t have to agree with or even like what I show them, nor do I need to permanently change their perspective. I simply want to open their eyes to a new idea.”
Given Dodds’ proposed documentary topics, it seems that it would be hard for her film not to have a lasting impact. One proposed topic would be to chronicle what goes on in landfills and give viewers a realistic look at how much waste we really accumulate. Another idea covers the topic of autism and its effect on siblings.
“My family is close to a few other families that have children with autism,” Dodds said. “I could give an audience a new perspective into the disability, and the emotional challenges that surround autism.”
Dodds has experience with photography, drawing and theatre, which she hopes will contribute to her filmmaking abilities.
The summer program begins on June 18.