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Alumni Interview – Jeremy Craig '02

by Sarah Reinhart '10

Jeremy Craig, a graduate of APU’s Department of Communication Studies, recently directed and wrote a short film titled Terrebonne, a fictional story about a brother and sister set in coastal Louisiana.

APU LIFE: After your undergraduate years at APU, you were a merit scholar and teaching assistant at Columbia University. What did that entail?

Craig: Basically, a teaching assistantship functions as a type of scholarship that allows the student recipient to teach. I served as a teacher’s assistant for several undergraduate and graduate classes, including international cinema, film and fiction, and writing film criticism with Andrew Sarris, which was neat. The merit scholarship just boils down to the fact that I got good grades.

APU LIFE: Much of your film work centers on coastal Louisiana. What drew you to that particular landscape?

Craig: A few years ago, I discovered that Louisiana was disappearing, sinking at the rate of a football field every 45 minutes, and that this coastal land loss signals a profoundly important environmental issue that could affect our entire country. As someone drawn to landscapes, what was happening in Louisiana (the title for Terrebonne comes from a particular coastal parish) offered an enormous and dynamic setting in which to place my stories.

APU LIFE: How do you integrate your faith into your work?

Craig: I guess I try not to be too introspective. For me, too much self-reflection is not always a good thing—it can be distracting, and at times, paralyzing. Making movies and writing books represent enough of a challenge without trying to integrate a profound distillation about the nature of existence. If forced to answer, though, I think people give out what they take into their lives, be it grace, patience, malice, fear, or whatever.

APU LIFE: The Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), a Louisiana-based environmental organization, invited you to participate in a campaign marking the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. How did they use Terrebonne as part of that process?

Craig: GRN focuses specifically on restoring and preserving the Gulf of Mexico and its surrounding landscapes. Because of the film’s environmental subject, GRN screened Terrebonne in private venues across the country, as part of their national awareness campaign.

APU LIFE: You set your upcoming documentary film, The Frontier, in coastal Louisiana. Is it connected to Terrebonne? Why another movie in the same area?

Craig: Since a narrative film can only have so much exposition about science before it starts taking away from the story, with The Frontier, I wanted to more directly and thoroughly explore the environmental issues to which Terrebonne refers.

APU LIFE: Any other new projects on the horizon?

Craig: I recently finished a new young adult novel and I’m in the middle of a companion photography project, The Coastal Frontier, with photographer Bryan Johnson. I’m also producing Maidentrip, a documentary about 14-year-old Laura Dekker’s attempt to become the youngest girl to sail solo around the world. And now that I’ve graduated from Columbia, I’m raising money for the feature version of Terrebonne that I’d like to direct soon.

For more information about either Terrebonne or The Frontier, visit www.terrebonnefilm.com or www.thefrontierfilm.com, respectively.

"...I think people give out what they take into their lives, be it grace, patience, malice, fear, or whatever."

Originally published in the Spring '11 issue of APU Life. Download the full issue (PDF).