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Documentary Summer

Hilary Brashear ’13 is getting an accelerated education in documentary filmmaking this summer.  Through an internship funded by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, Brashear is working on not just one documentary but two.

The first is License to Pimp, about illegal labor practices at strip clubs in San Francisco, shot by independent writer/director/producer Hima B.  The film asks the question, “What would you do if your workplace became a brothel?”  Meanwhile, Brashear is also helping Tia Lessin and Carl Deal with their so far untitled documentary on politics and money in the U.S. as seen in the Wisconsin recall election.

While working with Hima B, whose other films include Straight for the Money and Coming Out, Coming Home, Brashear is focusing her efforts on fundraising.  She is maintaining a Kickstarter account where people can donate small amounts of money to help with the costs of production, and promoting the film by posting information about it on Facebook, Twitter, and numerous blogs.

Brashear’s second internship is with Lessin and Deal, who produced and directed the Academy Award-nominated feature documentary Trouble the Water, about Hurricane Katrina. (Lessin was also a producer of Michael Moore’s documentaries Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine). Brashear is working as an assistant to the documentary’s editors, which means watching and labeling hundreds of film clips shot during the filmmakers’ visit to Wisconsin. “It was cool to be able to see what they were filming only a couple days after it was shot,” says Brashear.

The sociology major has been interested in film since high school and has taken every opportunity to incorporate it into her Haverford experience.  In addition to joining the AV club and filming events for the Hurford Center, she has also taken classes such as Documentary Video Production with Vicky Funari who was the professor that introduced Brashear to the filmmakers she is working with now.

She says that her favorite part of her internships has been learning about all the essential parts of filmmaking, including raising money and editing.  And she has already been inspired by the experience. For her senior thesis project, instead of writing a traditional research paper, Brashear says she plans to make a documentary.

—Jack Hasler ’15

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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