Find Your Passion: Committed to Creativity
By Sarah Caroline Willcox
Not every 20-year-old can say they have premiered a film at the Cannes Film Festival in France. Nor can many say they are fluent in six languages. Laura Godorecci, a recent University of Alabama graduate, can.
Godorecci’s talent in filmmaking and scholarship blossomed at the University through her double major in classics and interdisciplinary studies, with emphasis on film, cultural studies and the Slow Food Movement. Her talent and curiosity began, she says, as a young girl from the influence of her parents. Both scholars themselves, they encouraged her to read and explore languages.
Godorecci’s Abruzzese father and New Yorker mother moved to Tuscaloosa as professors in modern language and classics at the University when she was a young child. Godorecci says she was raised to see education as something valuable, rather than a chore.
You might imagine that Godorecci’s interest in film was sparked by visits to her father’s home country of Italy, or tales of her mother’s upbringing in New York. However, her intrigue was prompted by something less romantic … the movie “The Lord of the Rings.”
“[The extended version DVD] took great care to go into detail on nearly every aspect of the moviemaking process … the complexity of the filmmaking process as shown in those commentaries was fascinating to me, and my interest in filmmaking was piqued,” Godorecci says.
Entering UA in 2005 at 17, Godorecci took a humanities course on creativity through New College, taught by her film mentor, Dr. Janeann Dill. The class enabled her to make her first film, titled “Voy Perdiendo: A Study of Poetry in the Art of Eating.” The experience taught her about the first stages of production, as well as the actual filming and editing processes where movies come together.
“It did not take long to identify the commitment this young woman had to her creativity,” Dill says. “It takes tenacity and due diligence to create a film because it is a complex art form. Laura’s first film in my Creativity class exemplified both of those characteristics.”
In making the film, Godorecci not only wrote the script, directed and produced, but she also acted as well. After undertaking every aspect of the filmmaking process in her first film, Godorecci – one of UA’s nation-leading five USA Today 2009 All-USA College Academic Team members – says she now spends most of her time behind the camera.
Within a year of producing “Voy Perdiendo,” Godorecci applied to the Los Angeles-based American Pavilion—a student filmmaking program that represents the U.S. at the Venice and Cannes film festivals—in September 2007. She was accepted into the internship program for the Cannes Film Festival the following January. The first student from UA to participate, she joined 131 student filmmakers from all over the world.
“In March, they notified me there was an opportunity to submit a film to the Short Film Corner—it’s an out-of-competition section of the festival to which participants can submit short films,” Godorecci says. “That’s where I submitted my short-film, ‘Untitled.’”
“Untitled” is a two and one-half minute film about the concept of history. The partially animated film follows a little girl trying to decipher reality from the imaginary, while asking herself, “What is history?” Godorecci’s inspiration for the film came from the Oxford English Dictionary definition of history that says it is an “aggregate of past events.”
After such a remarkable achievement in Cannes, what is a budding filmmaker to do next? Perhaps, make another personally fulfilling film.
Godorecci, who graduated in May 2009, lately focused on a documentary on the Slow Food Movement. Slow Food is a pun on the idea of fast-food. It developed in the late 1960s from the ideas of Carlo Petrini and a group of his friends and colleagues that supported small farmers. In 1989 it was officially founded as an organization. The mission of Slow Food is to “defend biodiversity in the world’s food supply, spread taste education and connect producers of excellent foods with co-producers through events and initiatives.”
Godorecci says she’s been passionate about the movement for four years, since reading a book on it. Her documentary emphasizes Slow Food’s stress of “slow living” and the importance of cultural heritage through food.
“The idea behind Slow Food was something that I had lived my whole life. Eating naturally and taking the time to eat ‘slowly’ is part of the Italian culture,” Godorecci says.
Getting points across on film seems most appropriate to Godorecci, who says, “Film is telling a story visually. The images have to speak, and discovering a new way to tell a story is very interesting to me.
“Michelangelo once said he wasn’t turning a block into a sculpture; he was just chipping away the unnecessary pieces. Just like a story is always there, I just have to chip away the unnecessary pieces.”
For such a prodigy, Godorecci projects sheer humility as she discusses her early achievements. She sees her accomplishments as things she feels inclined to do—passions, perchance.
When asked her post-graduation plans, she distractedly replies, “Oh, maybe grad school or law school. I might go to law school to study intellectual property law to help me out with copyrighting in my film career. Who knows?”
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Sarah Caroline Willcox is a junior at The University of Alabama, majoring in public relations, with a minor in English. She is from Birmingham.
This story is part of the Find Your Passion series. To learn more about how you can find your passion at The University of Alabama, please visit UA Undergraduate Admissions.