Lafayette native follows his heart into filmmaking, and it pays off.  By Kisha Kana

Monday, June 3, 2013

FilmStrip

Nicholas Ryan Campbell was going to be a lawyer. But his heart said no.

The 33-year-old Lafayette High alumnus, recently back from completing graduate school in California, is on his way to achieving his dream of being a filmmaker. Campbell’s debut film, a 24-minute short titled Common that he wrote, directed and co-produced, has been accepted into the Montreal World Film Festival, which runs Aug. 22-Sept. 2.

Common is about Agnes, a middle-aged church organist who finds a rekindled love two years after her husband’s death. Until her old flame returns, she is isolated and alone, her life meaningless.

But Campbell brings meaning to the mundane. “[The film] references the kinds of struggles that Agnes was facing and the universality of those struggles — the need for interaction with others, both physical and emotional, the need and desire for human touch and the inevitability of change and hopefully renewal,” he explains.  

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Campbell, right, convenes with members of his production crew.

After earning a history degree at UL Lafayette, Campbell spent a year in law school, but returned to UL to obtain a degree in media art. He also worked for locally owned Community Film Studio before pursuing a graduate degree at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. While in California, he worked for a talent management company and in the entertainment industry, graduating in 2012 with a 4.0 and a film degree with a cinema focus. It was also in California, in late 2011, that Common was born.      

Campbell’s next project is a feature film titled Forked Island about a Cajun boy growing up during the height of the oil boom. He’s currently looking to private sources for funding.  

He doesn’t regret the year in law school, which helped him realize that he could stay on the practical, safe path or take a risk on his dream — film production. “I believe following your passions is necessary to have a joyful life with meaningful experiences,” he says. “At that time, I felt I could either be practical and unhappy or true to myself — unpractical and happy.”

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