Students and Their Work
Class of 2023
Joey Aji grew up by the beach in New Jersey before moving to North Carolina for school. He graduated with degrees in entrepreneurship and journalism from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. After graduation, Joey started a nonprofit that taught meditation to people recovering from substance addiction. Joey hopes to tell stories about spirituality and is interested in the crossover between narrative and nonfiction filming styles.
Ruby Dietz grew up in Austin, Texas, and graduated with a degree in political communication from George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. There she produced an undergraduate thesis analyzing race- and gender-based discriminatory practices in news media. A longtime modern dancer, she became inspired to pursue documentary filmmaking to explore the connections between film and dance and examine how both art forms shape the ways we view the world.
Lola Granger-Jourdan was born and raised in London. Growing up bilingual, speaking French and English, she has always been passionate about languages. She is currently a member of a Spanish-to-English literary translation team whose translation of an anthology of work by the Spanish poet Julia Uceda was published in 2021. Lola became passionate about documentary film during her undergraduate studies in New York City. For her thesis she wrote, directed, and edited a 30-minute documentary film focusing on the life and work of Argentinian architect Francisco Salamone, mixing interviews with archives and footage shot on location in Argentina. The film was awarded the Global Liberal Studies Critical Creative Production Thesis Prize and an honorable mention for Best GLS Thesis Overall. Lola hopes to pursue a multilingual career incorporating translation and the visual arts.
Talha Jalal is a writer and public policy expert specializing in humanitarian access in conflict zones. He was born in Pakistan, grew up in Oman, and worked as a humanitarian, researcher, and policy expert in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Italy, Spain, the United States, and Switzerland. During the pandemic, as a senior manager at the Vaccine Alliance in Geneva, he was involved in setting up the largest global vaccine supply operation ever, delivering more than 1.6 billion doses to the poorest countries in the world. Jalal is interested in the representation of diverse voices in global policy spaces and in storytelling. His book on architectural and political history, Memoirs of the Badshahi Mosque, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. His creative writing and opinion pieces have been published by outlets including Al Jazeera, Le Monde Diplomatique and the On Being Project.
Originally from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Ekaterina (Kate) Zapletina spent ten years studying literary criticism in Moscow and Prague. After working in the media, she developed a passion for investigative journalism and documentary film. As a filmmaker, she plans to focus on political and social issues of the post-Soviet region and explore their connections to modern-day totalitarianism and propaganda.
Class of 2022
Documentary Short: The Great Find
Documentary Short: On the People’s Beach
Documentary Short: Good Intentions
Documentary Short: Engraved
Documentary Short: Chants of Azadi (Chants of Freedom)
Documentary Short: Why You Have to Be Black and Gay
Documentary Short: Birth Rights
Documentary Short: Our Own Best Friends
Documentary Short: Breathe
Documentary Short: Hare Krishna Consciousness