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DACA Student Participates in Bentonville Film Festival as a Student Media Creator
NWACC communications student and DACA recipient, Diego Escobar, recently participated as a student media creator for the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF). He joined fellow NWACC students, Courtney Boyd, Amber Karnish and Amanda Thattanakham in photographing the inclusion-focused event and producing content for the BFF social media platforms.
The Student Media Creators program grew from a partnership between BFF and the Ozark Media Arts Festival (OMAF). It offers high school and college students an opportunity to build their experience by capturing video, photo and social media content for the festival.
Read further to learn about Diego’s experience as a media creator, how he’s put his NWACC education to use, and how blessed he feels as a DACA recipient.
Diego photographing at a blue carpet event during the Bentonville Film Festival.
Hometown: San Salvador, El Salvador
Area of Study: Major in Communications / Minor in History
Graduation: Spring 2020
What was the process like when applying to be a student media creator for the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF)?
The process of applying to BFF was great! It was something that I had my eye on to
help me continue to grow as a creative and to challenge myself to try something new.
I submitted an online application and my portfolio, and I was fortunate enough to
get an email asking if I would do an over-the-phone interview, and from there, I was
blessed enough to get a spot on this great team for BFF 2019!
What are your responsibilities as a student media creator?
The responsibilities that a student media creator has at the BFF is to capture the moments that BFF, NWA, and the visitors want to live forever. Aside from capturing the sweet moments of the festival, our duties are to photograph discussion panels, Inclusion Town, and community events, as well as interview filmmakers and capture the overall message of BFF - inclusion.
I am so excited to not only learn the stories of my teammates, but the people of Bentonville,
the stories of the community, the unity coming together and enjoying inclusion. In
addition, I am a DACA/Dreamer student and to get this wonderful opportunity to break
the mold of what I can and can’t do is absolutely life changing.
How do you think NWACC has helped prepare you to be a student media creator?
NWACC has allowed me to develop a stronger work ethic than what I came in with at the start of the school year. And the time management that I’ve built at NWACC has been used when covering events and organizing scheduling.
NWACC President Dr. Jorgenson visiting with student media creators, Diego, Amanda and Courtney during the Bentonville Film Festival.
What has been your favorite part of working this year’s BFF festival?
It's such a unique experience for me to actually get to do this. I was raised in a very non-traditional household with a single mom and an older brother that's nine years apart from me… Taking a chance and looking back on what my life has offered, it’s so insane that I can do this and I get these opportunities and these special moments. Hard work eventually does pay off.
I can't pinpoint a favorite part, but I can just say everything. I'm a DACA student, so I was born in El Salvador. I came with a visa here but we overstayed it, and I’m never shy to share that story because I'm very proud of where I come from and where my mom comes from... A lot of kids in the DACA program seem to really have a shadow over their head, that they can't break a boundary just because they have that status, and I love to get the message out there that anything is possible.
This festival is all about women empowerment, Hispanic empowerment, LGBTQ, everything
under the sun, about getting more culture into northwest Arkansas. I think that's such
a blessing to me. It’s crazy to me that a kid who was once an immigrant here in America can now
get this great opportunity to shoot with celebrities, and shoot moments that will
live on forever, and be pushed through social media channels for thousands of people
to see. I think it’s an absolute blessing.
How do you think this experience will impact your educational and career goals?
It will allow me to build more of a love for people, for my community and for organizations that bring people together. Overall, that is what I want for my educational and career goals, to develop into a person that can help many!
Why do you think it’s important for students to major in creative fields such as graphic design, photography, videography, etc.? Why should it be encouraged?
The arts are vital for any community, organization, business, etc. This is a highly
competitive field, but with the right education, anyone with the skills of graphic
design, photography and videography can change the landscape of any business. Big
or small, the content being put out there for any business can change the optics and
give the guest or partnership more of a personal connection when more presentable
content is shown.
What does it mean to you to know that NWACC has invested in the new Integrated Design Lab where students will focus on arts and construction technology?
This means the world! It reminds me of how a revolution to get the arts into schools all across the nation has now become an evolution. Schools are reinventing what the arts mean, they are taking new steps to make sure a fundamental expression source does not get washed away in a world where individuality is few. It now expresses itself loudly here at NWACC.
Interested in pursuing a higher education in the arts? There’s a place for you here. Visit nwacc.edu or call 479-986-4000 to learn more about enrolling at NWACC.
Interested in learning more about the Student Media Creators program? Contact Ozark Media Arts Festival.