Drew Detweiler is an interdisciplinary artist, activist, and educator. He has a broad base of experience as an independent video producer, and has also worked in electronic music, performance art, and stage design. Detweiler came to the DANM program after eight years as the head of post-production at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts/School of Filmmaking, where he taught editing and courses on stereotypes in film. "DANM was the perfect opportunity for me to update my technical skills and refine my teaching," says Detweiler. "My passion for teaching is what led me to grad school, so I am really anxious to get back in the classroom."
- How has your graduate education shaped you professionally?
I was a "nontraditional" student, in that I had worked professionally as a film educator before I enrolled in the DANM program. At UCSC I had the opportunity to work with many amazing professors as a TA for film, art, and music courses. Not only was I inspired artistically, but I also rediscovered the classroom as a student and a TA, which has made me better teacher.
- The most exciting thing about your graduate research/projects?
My thesis project was the realization of a long-term dream of working with youth in Brazil. I put video cameras into the hands of the first-time cinema students at the Instituto Dois Irmâos, and it's hard to describe the joy and chaotic excitement as they ran out into the streets shooting video of everything. Similarly, when one of the advanced film students at Cinema Nosso created a really cool live video mix using a custom application I had developed, I was a bit overwhelmed (and relieved) to see that the software and interface really did make sense to another artist.
- What are your plans after graduation?
My top priority is seeking a film and digital media teaching position in the Bay Area. I will also be collaborating with Professor Sharon Daniel on the DANM Participatory Culture group project for the ZERO1 Biennial in San Jose this September, and I'm writing grant proposals for interactive installation work with my DANM colleague Lyès Belhocine.
- Your favorite place on campus?
This is a tough question when you live on one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. I really love the view of the Monterey Bay from the third floor Light Lab in the Digital Arts Research Center, and the Arboretum in spring is magical, but I probably spend the most time exploring the north campus mountain bike trails.
- Biggest accomplishment or proudest moment at UCSC?
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to discuss my thesis project in an interview on CNN International's iReport in October 2009. I have been working in media for years, but I've never been able to send a message about community service to such a large audience. The interview included footage shot by youth from the Instituto Dois Irmâos cinema class. Hopefully seeing their stories reach such a wide audience will make them realize that their stories are worth telling--that people around the world are interested in what they have to say.