Nat’l. Mentoring Month Spotlight: Outstanding Nova Students Hear from Christopher Nolan at Wash. Post Event

January 22, 2024

January is National Mentoring Month, a time to celebrate the transformative power of mentorship. Meaningful mentorship can positively affect personal and professional growth for both mentors and mentees, as the former offer guidance and insight in support of the latter. NOVA’s Cinema program considers mentorship a crucial element for students’ future success in the field of film.


In late 2023, two exceptional NOVA film students — both mentees of Professor Bryan A. Brown, Discipline Chair of Cinema at NOVA — had the unique opportunity to attend an exclusive event featuring acclaimed film director Christopher Nolan. Hosted by the Washington Post at D.C.’s Rubell Museum, the event featured reporter Jada Yuan, author of the book Unleashing Oppenheimer: Inside Christopher Nolan’s Explosive Atomic-Age Thriller, who conducted an insightful interview with Nolan. For NOVA students Andelise Cabrera and Tiernan Caulfeld, the evening was an up-close encounter with an industry icon whose legendary work they have long admired.

“I have been studying film for a bit now and have been learning a lot of different things in the field, honing my skills,” said Cabrera. “This is exciting for me to be in the room with a very prominent, respected director. I am getting to learn to process his methods, and his style is very exciting for me.”

NOVA’s Cinema program prepares students for professional success by imparting essential film production skills in such areas as directing, digital editing, cinematography, camera operation, lighting, color grading, motion graphics and acting. Rigorous coursework and innovative experiential learning opportunities prepare students to work on professional film sets with industry-grade equipment and production software; this, in turn, sets them up to develop comprehensive portfolios that can jumpstart their career.

“This is truly exciting for me because, personally, Christopher Nolan has always been one of my heroes,” said Caulfeld. “Growing up, he was the director I looked up to. I’ve always wanted to have the opportunity to meet him.”

In Professor Brown’s words, “Film, in many ways, serves as a mirror to our perceptions of the world, and I take immense pride in the creativity and inspiration exhibited by my students.” He continued: “It was truly a joy to accompany them to this event and to have these outstanding students represent NOVA and the future of film.”

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