Editor’s note: College of Arts and Sciences senior Elizabeth Rudigier and Creighton alumnus Ed Cody’s short film “Home” will also screen at the Omaha Film Festival, premiering Thursday, March 7. “Home” details a Nepali-Bhutanese refugee’s search for home in an unfamiliar place, Omaha, Nebraska.
Two Creighton alumni who each spent part of their undergraduate years documenting the stories of people in the Omaha community will share their films with the public for the first time at the Omaha Film Festival in early March.
The Film Festival accepts short films, documentaries and screen plays among other types of work.
Ryan Lloyd, who graduated in 2018, submitted his documentary “Thrive” to the Nebraska Short Film category.
The documentary, made in a mini-documentary course his senior year, focuses on the Thrive Leadership Club, a club in Omaha high schools that helps refugee and immigrant students gain leadership skills.
“The documentary not only highlights the beneficial skills the students learn through the club but also focuses on the lives and experiences of the immigrant and refugee students living in Omaha,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd was assigned the topic in class, but he said he especially cared about the topic after attending the Backpack Journalism trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in the summer of 2016.
“It was such a humbling and eye-opening experience to be on that journey, and it really led me to find my passion in photography and videography, as well as the art of telling people’s stories through documentaries,” Lloyd said.
“It made me want to become a better advocate for immigrants and refugees, and taking that class during my senior year was the perfect opportunity to expand on that passion.”
Besides showing his film at the conclusion of the course, this is the first time that “Thrive” will be seen by the public.
“To have your classmates and professors see your work and give you positive feedback on it is one thing, but being able to know what other people in the filming community and in the city think about your work is on a completely different level of humbling,” Lloyd said. “[It] is something I’m both very anxious but excited for.”
His film “Thrive” will be shown at Aksarben Cinema on March 9.
Former student Sophie Snider also has a film featured in the festival.
After receiving a CURAS research grant in the summer of 2017, Snider spent the summer volunteering at the Stephen Center.
She interviewed six individuals in the Omaha area who were lacking permanent housing for her documentary, “The Light of Homelessness.”
“To me, the word ‘home’ insinuates so much more than a physical structure or permanent location to live,” Snider said. “I wanted to figure out what the word ‘home’ means to individuals who are labeled with the word ‘homeless.’”
Snider’s film is an animated film with the individual’s voices telling their story. For Snider, this allowed her to control how the characters were visually represented.
“I hope the audience hears normal, human voices and understands the humanity of it all, and maybe even feel compelled to do something about it,” Snider said.
“The Light of Homelessness” will premiere on March 6 at the Aksarben Cinema.
“I have felt very supported throughout the process as a first-time filmmaker,” Snider said. “Receiving support and love from everyone involved has truly motivated me to see the good in it beyond my own self-criticism.”
The Omaha Film Festival runs March 5-10 and the full schedule can be found at omahafilmfestival.org.