2018-19 Religions and Public Life Graduate Fellow

I was a beneficiary of the Kenan Religion and Public Life Fellowship during the academic year of 2018-2019. I am a filmmaker and I come from Duke University’s MFA | EDA program. The project I brought to the Kenan meetings, Palanga, will be a documentary essay film and is now in its early stages. One of my challenges I faced was that the project touches upon many different issues, and I am looking for a way to weave them together into one organic whole. Among the film’s topics: religion, war, trauma, landscape, heritage, memory, community, grief, gender, poetry and more.


At the Kenan meetings I met excellent scholars from different disciplines I do not usually interact with. The presentations in class were fascinating, inspiring and enriching. The debates were instructing and I feel that I come out of the program more learned than when I went in. When I presented my project to my peers they got fully engaged. Their comments were fresh and insightful. For instance, two separate statements that I made in my proposal, “I wish the film to express what it means to be a human,” and “know where you come from and where you are going to,” as a result of the classroom discussions were associated together to better define the mood and purpose of the film, and are now the lens through which I consider the making of my film.