Every video starts with a script, and this one was our Odyssey. Santa Fe University of Art and Design challenged us to show off the Desert Southwest’s natural beauty for its spring recruitment campaign. We dreamed up an action-packed profile of a SFUAD student, with mountain hikes, snowboarding runs and a breathtaking aerial of Diablo Canyon. After selecting outstanding film student Austin as our star, we interviewed him to craft compelling voiceover for the script. It was finally time to turn words into actions.

In this production, each line of the shot list was a crazy physical challenge. “Drone shot of car headed up Artist Road” called for sharp aerial reflexes and “snowboarding montage through aspen grove” was an all-day project. “They reach the summit, and celebrate” was perhaps the most arduous shot to capture. We pushed these students (and ourselves) to the limit and beyond. Just as Austin was the hero of our video, we became warriors of its creation.

Austin was one of five students we profiled for SFUAD’s spring recruitment campaign. It was a veritable super group of creative talent. Scroll down for behind-the-scenes stories from each of the students, and check out SFUAD’s Facebook and Instagram to see the complete campaign.

PriscilaPriscila Torres - Santa Fe University of Art and Design - New Mexico

Senior film student Priscila grew up in the Dominican Republic, and came to Santa Fe University of Art and Design on the prestigious Robert Redford/Milagro Initiative Scholarship. “It was my first year at the school and I’d never studied film,” Priscila recalled. “A lot of my female friends were having a hard time getting positions on film sets from students. As a girl, you always get makeup or costumes, but you don’t see a lot of girls on camera, or directing and producing.”

The issue inspired Priscila to produce Won’t Hold Us Back, a short film about shattering the glass ceiling in the film industry. She had the opportunity to screen the piece at the Sundance Labs last year and got a standing ovation from industry professionals.

For SFUAD’s spring campaign, Priscila took us on an adventure through The Film School’s incredible Studio C. We also got a sneak peek at her next project in the editing suite. Amazing things are coming from this talented young filmmaker!

Rufino Medrano- Santa Fe University of Art and Design- New Mexico

As a sophomore in Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s graphic design program, Rufino was one of the youngest participants in our campaign. He’s from California, where he started working on design projects at 12 years old. In high school, he did production work for PBS, and won an award from his local paper for broadcast journalism.

It’s no surprise that Rufino is already making waves on the SFUAD campus—and beyond. He is a leader of Alexis Collective, a multidisciplinary student group that mounts an exhibition each semester. “The collective’s philosophy is to create initiative, have fun and experiment,” Rufino says. “It’s cool to see everyone’s creative process, how it works and everything.” Rufino also interns at Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors and local education program Big Sky Learning.

For the campaign, we chronicled Rufino’s design process and sat in on his meetings with Big Sky Learning and Alexis Collective. Our SFUAD collaborator Natalie McPherson made a spectacular time lapse video of Rufino’s latest product design project. Rufino is a dynamo!

AustinCharles-Austin Ross - Santa Fe University of Art and Design - New Mexico

“I was looking for something new,” said Austin. “I wanted to explore someplace I had never been before.” The senior film student is originally from St. Louis, a universe away from Santa Fe. In our interview, he recalled his wonder at seeing the Rocky Mountains for the first time. “We don’t have mountains in Missouri,” he said. 

Austin spent his first two years at Santa Fe University of Art and Design working in various roles on film crews. He hit his stride in junior year, when he signed on as producer for two different films. Austin took his newfound talent for producing to the next level with This Is Our Film, a full-fledged production company that he founded with his friend Alvie. He now produces a growing slate of web series, on top of his coursework at SFUAD.

Austin was the brave protagonist of our video for the campaign, and also let us tag along to the editing suite. We can’t wait to see what he produces next!

RonnieRonnie Garcia - Santa Fe University of Art and Design - New Mexico

We collaborated closely with Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s marketing department for this production, and digital arts junior Ronnie was right under our noses from the very beginning. She works as an intern for the department, and also leads Alexis Collective with Rufino and their friend Caleb. Ronnie’s loves character design, and she happened to be putting some of her colorful characters on display in the library on the day of our shoot. She also brought a character to life in Natalie’s dynamic video for the campaign.

Ronnie found her way to SFUAD from Amarillo, Texas, where she spent part of her high school career after moving from Georgia. For college, she was seeking a school that would allow her the freedom to explore her creative passions. “At SFUAD you have the room to experiment,” Ronnie told us. “You’re not pigeonholed into one thing. You can combine all the things that you love, and the things that you learn in school, into your future.”

We’re blown away by Ronnie’s passion and drive, and her desire to connect different parts of the student body through Alexis Collective. “I’ve learned that aside from learning to grow as an artist, I really love being involved in helping other people become stronger artists,” she said. Inspiring! 

MeganMegan Kelly- Santa Fe University of Art and Design - New Mexico

Megan is a sophomore in Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s performing arts program, and she’s already taking center stage. Several faculty members mentioned her name when we asked around for potential students to spotlight. We ended up tracking her down in the middle of her Shakespeare class, and had to wait for a break to finally meet the talented actor. Megan grew up in Florida and Maryland. Her first big role was in 5th grade, when she took on the role of Suzy Snowflake in Santa’s Rockin’ Eve. For college, she sought out a very focused environment to hone her craft. “I needed something to push me to focus on my acting,” she said.  SFUAD is a very healthy environment, and it’s a really good place to cultivate what you need personally.”

Megan’s schedule during our production was busy to say the least. In addition to her classes, she was rehearsing for SFUAD’s production of Polaroid Stories, a play that blends true stories of homeless teens with Greek mythology. We sat in on a rehearsal a few days before opening night, and also did a photoshoot backstage right before one of the performances. Megan was a powerful presence onstage—quite deserving of a standing ovation!

Check out our previous story about this production for more behind-the-scenes images and a video, and click over to the campaign’s beautiful student stories page to read more about each of these outstanding students.