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The Carletonian

Giving ideas legs to stand on: CAMS alumni share thoughts

<n. 31, Sarah Abdel-Jelil’s ’16 dance-lapse film, Batikh, screened in Weitz Cinema. This project is a continuation of her senior comprehensive project (comps), Kerkethen, and was created with the help of two other CAMS graduates and friends, Veronica Garcia ’16 and Theresa Heitz ’16.

Abdel-Jelil’s comps was inspired by a trip to the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas with Heitz. There was a GoPro station where she saw a timelapse of people on a boat and Abdel-Jelil remembers them looking like they were dancing. She knew instantly that she wanted to challenge the idea that “the dancer moves in a fixed space.”

“I wanted people to be the anchor and the world to move around them,” Abdel-Jelil said. The dance was choreographed on the spot, for Sarah wanted it to originate at the space.

Heitz began her CAMS journey in a class taught by Carol Donelan. From then on, she loved her CAMS classes and their fusion of Art History and Photography. Her comps was inspired by the show Orphan Black, which centers on bodily autonomy and womanhood. She focused on the politics of taste, cultural negotiation, and the emergence of TV network branding. (She served as producer for Abdel-Jelil’s Batikh.)

Garcia did not originally intend to major in CAMS, but was inspired by a CAMS-influenced off-campus study program with Heitz in Madrid. She realized that film could reach a broader audience than typical theater-goers, and she discovered a “newfound engagement in various forms of media.” Her comps featured her father’s journey leaving Mexico and her experience leaving home and staying away from home for college.

The CAMS majors shared their advice for future CAMS students. Abdel-Jelil asserted that one must leave space for surprise and uncertainty, and to treat them as gifts when they come along. She also noted that it is important to slow down. Everything happens so quickly, so “to slow down is an act of resistance.”

They all mentioned leaning on fellow majors, especially for various projects. CAMS is not something that one can do alone, so it is important to find individuals you enjoy working with. The grads also advise students to take advantage of the unique CAMS structure at Carleton. It is unique in that it combines production with theory.

Garcia advised future CAMS majors to practice, plan, and organize their shots ahead of time. “Time in college is what we covet as students,” Garcia said, “and when working with others you must be respectful of their time.”

Professor Laska Jimsen also encourages students to “know yourself and your own perceptual abilities,” and to pull on “what makes you tick as a person.” Have an idea, let it take form, and trust the process when working on a project, they all advised.

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