Andrew Jenks speaks during Civility Week
Wednesday night, ETSU invited filmmaker Andrew Jenks to come and speak during Civility Week.
As the guest speaker, Jenks shared his incredible story of how he became a world-renowned documentary filmmaker by sharing the lives of others with his viewers.
Jenks' casual approach to telling his story made the audience feel like friends, and using explicit words to describe the story had the whole auditorium laughing and applauding.
Jenks' first film was "Room 335," a documentary about life in a nursing home.
His inspiration was his grandfather who was diagnosed with dementia and placed into a nursing home for care. Jenks was a college freshman at the time.
"There I was, a college freshman living in a dorm, beginning my life, while my grandfather was ending his," said Jenks.
After making friends and learning life lessons in the nursing home, Jenks was inspired to do more.
After receiving rejection after rejection from film festival critics, Jenks received a call from HBO. "Room 335" turned out to become a huge success, and Jenks' career took off.
"When someone says no, that's a starting point," said Jenks.
Jenks' show has become a hit, giving viewers access to others' lives.
By going to live with people for a week, Jenks' has been able to develop not only a new perspective for the audience, but also friendships, as Jenks did with a young man who has Asperger's, a form of autism.
When asked what his favorite experience was while filming the show, Jenks said that he had many favorites.
The most touching story for the ETSU students was Jenks' story of a young woman with cancer whom he filmed in a hospital. He later found out that her cancer had not returned and she was able to have children later in life.
"It's not always about the people, it's about the moment," said Jenks.
Jenks' latest project, titled "The American Dream" is soon to be released, when after following a young man who was falsely accused of murder, Jenks' crew has decided to wait to see the rest of the story play out on its own.
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