Job Title: Film Maker
Jon Bougher earned his undergraduate degree in sociology at Ithaca College in New York. He has lived and worked on the Tohono O’odham Nation, a Native American reservation in Arizona, where he created the first-ever Tohono O’odham Film Festival. After graduation he plans to continue his interest in social justice and international issues — traveling to both Afghanistan and Armenia for short film projects. In the fall, he will be collaborating on a larger project, addressing issues of development and reconstruction in Haiti.
Why did you choose to study documentary film making?
Documentary film has been an outlet for me to pursue my social interests creatively. I’ve been allowed access to the lives of everyday people, giving me an extremely human perspective on larger social problems. Film is also a great way to jumpstart a conversation, allowing the filmmaker to serve dual roles as advocate and educator.
Have you worked on projects for Wake Forest?
I’ve collaborated with various departments on campus to create documentary media for community education. I partnered with Dr. Kline Harrison in the Office of Global Affairs to create a series of short documentary vignettes highlighting the University’s work in Nicaragua. I also worked with the Center for Bioethics, Health and Society on short films that would serve as part of an educational curriculum addressing ongoing medical issues in Haiti after the earthquake. I also worked with the religion department to create a short film on the controversy over an Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This film was screened as part of a series of events on campus addressing misconceptions of Islam.
Did you have time for volunteer work?
I volunteered with El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services providing after-school tutoring for youth. I’m hoping to work with the organization to create a youth film workshop, allowing students to create their own stories while learning about media literacy.
Is there one of your films that you’re particularly excited about?
On the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, my film, Bound by Haiti, was shown at the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill, with Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) in attendance. Afterwards, I participated in a panel discussion covering ongoing issues in that country. It was an incredible opportunity to screen the film in our nation’s capital, while providing information to policy-makers who can create large-scale change.
What will you miss the most about being at Wake Forest?
Wake Forest has an incredible collaborative and cross-disciplinary atmosphere that fosters creative approaches to education. During my time here, I was able to work with professors in anthropology, sociology, political science, business and religion on various documentary projects. These experiences have widened my abilities while introducing me to experts in a wide variety of fields. This can only benefit me in the future!