Andie holds a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University in 2021. She has a background in visual arts, with a focus on photography and videography. She has worked various roles, including performing in off-off Broadway theatre, translating for immigration lawyers, teaching English and Math to high school students preparing for study abroad programs, and designing websites. Her previous work explores family dynamics, marriage, and the intersection of personal life and immigration. Andie incorporates animation and computer graphics into her moving images, and she plans to transition further into documentary storytelling.
Xueyan Han was born in 1999 and raised in Xi’an. She recently graduated with a BFA in film directing and screenwriting from The Central Academy Of Drama. Shaped by her college years amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, she witnessed the disintegration of society as irreconcilable viewpoints emerged among individuals from diverse generations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and geographic locations. Through exploring different art mediums, Xueyan actively participated in applied dramas with migrant female workers living in suburban areas of Beijing. She also recorded her daily conversations with her father on camera, exploring mutual understanding from a neutral perspective between father and daughter. Through these experiences, she realized the power of documentaries as bridges, allowing her to comprehend and connect with other people, this ever-changing society, and this world. Xueyan aims to utilize the camera to document the complex and fragmented appearances of the world from her own unique perspective and foster connections among different social groups and individuals through documentaries.
Ama Kyereme is an artist and graduate student from the Midwest. With a Bachelor's of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies and Geography from Macalester College, Ama explores the themes of culture, identity, space, and place, particularly within the context of the African diaspora.
Her work aims to give voice to individuals and communities, using art as a tool for social change. Ama’s passion lies in capturing life and sharing stories, and she continues to expand her artistic practice by delving deeper into the realm of spatial humanities. Her work challenges and engages viewers, prompting them to reflect on their own lived experiences and the powerful influence of media in society.
She believes that by exploring the complexities of culture and identity, and by examining the ways in which individuals navigate the world around them, a deeper understanding and appreciation can be fostered.
Katelyn Lester, a San Antonio, Texas native, was immersed in Western culture from a young age. She earned a BFA degree in photography from Texas State University and, during her time there, worked with San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. She draws inspiration from her family's history and personal experiences to explore the connection between mankind, the land, and Western culture in her work.
Born in 1999, Ziwen Liu grew up in Liaoning province, China. During her college years, she has been engaged in film and television related internships, and has been exposed to a large number of commercial projects. While growing up in projects, she has always wanted to achieve socially meaningful expressions through films and images. Prior to joining Duke, she directed and edited documentaries and promotional films. At the same time, she has been exploring her own stories and those around her, focusing on the topic of "family" screenwriting.
Born in 1991, Germán López Tirado grew up in Guadalajara, México. Following his bachelor’s degree (BA) from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Communications and Digital Media, he studied film editing at University of Barcelona. He has worked internationally as a music video editor and as a documentary filmmaker both in TV and film.
Born in 2000, Hannah Schneider grew up in Delaware and North Carolina. She holds a BA in Graphic Design from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. After being diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder Bardet Biedl Syndrome in 2021, Hannah began using her artistic and photographic skills to document her experience with the diagnosis. Hannah’s work merges archival and digital photographic practices, transcending the line between photography and digital art. She is passionate about using photography to push the boundaries of the media and create narratives that make visible what cannot be seen. At Duke, Hannah seeks to continue creating experimental pieces that visualize her struggle with being genetically predisposed to blindness.
Born in 2000, Chris Verstandig grew up in Slingerlands, New York. He attended Connecticut College for his undergraduate years where he received a degree (BA) in both Film and Environmental Studies. He was also a part of the integrative pathway known as “Entrepreneurship” where he explored how local businesses in his area were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, Verstandig was a three-season athlete all four years at Connecticut College, competing in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track, all of which he captained his senior year. As a student-athlete, Verstandig created his own YouTube channel where he posted videos of practices and races, which in turn helped his coaches with recruiting. These videos helped spark his interest in documentary filmmaking, which he hopes to explore further at Duke, while also incorporating his passion for the environment.
Born in Lima, Peru in 1987, Bren Vienrich-Felling immigrated to the United States at a young age and grew up in the piedmont area of North Carolina. Following her graduation from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she received a BFA in Studio Art, she has worked as a multimedia designer for thirteen years and led roles as a designer, consultant and art director for a variety of nonprofit, tech, small business and e-learning clients, while also collaborating with other artists on personal projects that have spanned across animation, film, design and illustration.
Her interests are rooted in cultural identity and the metamorphosis that takes place over a period of time after immigrating from one place to another, as well as topics related to the human condition and global human rights. She has focused on illustration, documentary film photography and printmaking in the past, and hopes to incorporate more documentary filmmaking into her work during her time in graduate school.
Dingyi Xu was born and raised in Wuhan, China. With a background in painting and graphic design, she studied abroad and graduated in 2023 with a B.A. in Visual Arts Media from the University of California San Diego. During the early stages of the pandemic, Dingyi shifted her focus to documentary filmmaking and worked as a director and editor for a feature documentary team over the summer. She also had two short films based on herself about self-growth and rebuilding family selected for the 2022 Campus Creative Exhibition in San Diego. With a strong interest in digital arts, she also minored in Computer Arts and worked on game design and computer music design. During her senior year, she worked as a video producer for the International Student Office, creating promotional and educational video content with digital art practice to enhance student engagement. Now, she wants to expand her art skill and enhance interdisciplinary and experimental practice to enhance people's lives.
Born in 2000 in Xi'an, China, Fangze obtained her LLB in International Studies and BA in Sociology from Peking University in 2023. She is an avid explorer, constantly challenging imposed norms. Since 2018, she has pursued snowboarding and cross country running. Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Fangze keenly felt the world's rapid changes and came to understand the paramount importance of cross-cultural communication and unity. This revelation led her to switch gears, transitioning from a literature researcher to a fieldwork recorder. In 2022, she documented the religious life of the country's largest Muslim community within a unique social setting; Additionally, she captured the struggles of an elderly woman sheltering 312 dogs and cats, courageously facing criticism and evolving policies.
Currently, Fangze is engrossed in projects concerning international developments, blending her diverse expertise to explore innovative approaches to documentary production and expression. Looking ahead, she envisions a life as a continuous adventurer, immersing herself in the lives of people from various lands and civilizations, while sharing her motherland's story with the world.
W E L C O M E A L L T O D U K E A N D D U R H A M !