TCF student focuses on storytelling in filmmaking

TCF+student+focuses+on+storytelling+in+filmmaking

Chris Swart, a junior majoring in telecommunication and film with a concentration in media production, received the Audience Award at the Black Warrior Film Festival last month. CW | Pete Pajor

Becca Murdoch

“It was my first time going to Black Warrior and my first time submitting anything,” he said. “I wasn’t even sure if I was going to get in and then when I got in, I didn’t think I was going to win. I wasn’t even going to go to the awards ceremony, and then I ended up going and I’m glad that I did.”

Swart’s documentary followed a group of men that Swart often saw collecting cans around Tuscaloosa. After consistently pursuing and failing to locate Vance, the main subject of the documentary, Swart caught up with him in just enough time to complete his film project, he said.

“When I finally found him, it was great,” Swart said. “It was by far the most stressful project I’ve ever 
worked on.”

Danny Ryan, a senior majoring in telecommunication and film, occasionally collaborates with Swart. Ryan said he can attest to Swart’s enthusiasm and drive when making a film.

“[Swart] is ambitious, especially in his documentary filmmaking,” Ryan said. “I think that he’s not afraid to push his limits and do things differently to tell a 
visual story.”

Swart’s influences and inspirations range from the fluid-camera style of Peter Berg in his work on “Friday Night Lights” to the narrative 
storytelling powers of Martin Scorsese. Whether the story is a fictional narrative or a documentary, Swart said he focuses on the visuals of the film.

Rachel Raimist, an assistant professor in telecommunication and film, taught Swart in advanced videography and said she appreciated the visual impact of his first project in her class.

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, okay, this student who is really quiet in the corner, you shot that? That was really, really strong,’” she said. “[Swart] definitely has a strong aesthetic sense.”

Swart said he plans to direct his first music video this spring break in Nashville and will be working on a documentary project about a guitar maker in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, this summer. Swart said he hopes this documentary reemphasizes his fondness for telling small yet 
profound stories.

“I love finding the small stories because I feel like there are so many things that we just walk past in life and just don’t really take a second glance,” he said. “I guess I’ve just found that everybody has 
a story.”

Swart said he dreams of making a living by creating independent 
narrative films.

“I think there are so many things you can do with independent films that you can’t do with a lot of the oversight that you get with a bigger production and a bigger budget,” he said. “Some movies kind of stick with you forever, and I want to make one 
of those.”