1. Favorite local joint in Austin?
Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery
2. 3 items on a desert island?
Guitar, French Press (this is a tropical island with coffee beans, right?), and a cat.
3. What’s your “day job”?
Film Student/UT Liberal Arts Technology Guru
4. If you had one book to read for the rest of your life (other than the Bible), what would it be?
One book?! The Little Prince.
5. Guiltiest pleasure?
Gilmore Girls. But I guess it doesn’t count as a guilty pleasure if you don’t feel guilty about it. Okay, So You Think You Can Dance.
Jenna’s personal journey is one of collecting opportunities. She is good at following leads and finding unique projects. Her solid foundation of talent and training that she has under her belt, blended with a healthy dose of curiosity, make recognizing interesting topics easy to find. Her mother homeschooled her well.
She grew up watching cooking shows on PBS as part of her curriculum, taking master gardening classes to fulfill science credits, and rounding out her education with music and dance lessons. Since moving to Austin in 2010 to start her “formal education” in documentary filmmaking, she is continuing to invent herself and discover more of the world.
One of Jenna’s first opportunities, that she was able to make the most of, came in the form of filmmaking. Her parents took her on a missions trip to Uganda when she was 13. “Since I was the youngest they assumed I knew how to do all of the technical stuff,” she said. “So they gave me a camera and a laptop and I had to figure it all out.” The end result was a film called “From Sickness to Happy Life.” “I made a really dramatic film about aids awareness and it was shown at various villages around the region.” That was just the beginning.
Last summer she was able to seize another opportunity, this time on the set of an independent film. As she tells it, “I got connected with Brandon Dickerson, director of the film Sironia, when I was in Waco. All I did was get the lovely nursing home residents to sign release forms, run water to the actors’ trailers, and I headed up the street team when it premiered at AFF(Austin Film Festival). But it was a really great experience. I was on set for the final scene of the movie when he sings in the nursing home. Everyone not operating technological equipment was all teary eyed. Magical.”
Film isn’t the only projects she keeps her eye out for though. Through some chance meetings and following a few leads she was able to start hosting a folk music program on KVRX. Right now her segment is between 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock on Tuesday mornings. That may change, but for now she loves it. She loves learning about folk music and being a part of learning more music to balance out all the film.
She is about to start her third year at the University of Texas at Austin as a documentary film major. She chose to study documentary versus narrative film because it allows her to learn the entire process and enables her to be more flexibility in pursuing various projects and subjects she finds interesting. One of the short films she has made in college, called “Trouble in the Fields”, is about the drought last fall. She says: “I collaborated with farms I just stumbled upon who were open and willing to work with me.” Another is about the Red Swing Project. That project she tracked down and had to work at making the contacts. But the work paid off in a great piece and possibly more potential work with the Red Swing Project designer.
Jenna loves to learn and is enjoying all that life is bringing her way. Mosaic has been benefiting from Jenna’s wealth of talent since she started coming in August of 2010. Her love of children’s ministry, dance, music and film have been key in her ability to jump in where needed and help bring projects to life.
When she isn’t making films or hosting radio programs, (or going to free shows on press passes), she loves to ride her bike, hanging out at Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery or Vintage Heart Coffee. She loves good conversation, is well read and of course loves watching documentaries.