Student Spotlight: Chloe Nolan

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Chloe Nolan
Major: Cinema and Media Studies Class of 2025
Favorite Film: Pride and Prejudice (2005)

When did you know you wanted to major in CMS?
A: I knew by the end of my junior year in high school. I tried to think of other career paths that weren’t very artistic but didn’t end up enjoying any of those options. So, it came to a point where you might as well pursue something that makes you happy and passionate about. I applied to a couple of film schools as well as UW with the intent of majoring in CMS. In the seminar for prospective students hosted by the head of the CMS department, Eric Ames, he mentioned UW’s LUX Film Production Club, which further motivated my decision to attend UW and major in CMS. 

What do you like most about the major?
A: I love how CMS has a very tight-knit community. We get a lot of repeat professors, which gives us a good opportunity to get to know specific instructors and learn about their research. Although CMS is a studies major, the range of classes that are offered is quite large. Both the core classes and the electives offer very interesting and niche topics. I also like how the media aspect of the major is taken very seriously through electives, which gives us a chance to interact with different types of media. Overall, a very creative major.

You have been a very active member of UW’s film production scene, both in LUX and in your personal projects. What is your main focus in film production? How did you get your start in it and how can others get involved as well?
A: My main focuses in film production are screenwriting and directing. Primarily, directing the pieces I’ve personally written. I got started in writing during high school when I wrote prose, short stories, and a novel. When I write, I imagine the scenes very clearly in my head. So that kind of drove me toward screenwriting and directing because they give me an opportunity to construct and control the vision that I have always imagined. My best piece of advice for people that want to get involved in film is to write down ideas and collaborate with others during the creative process. Directing-wise, just straight up try it. But make sure you have great organizational skills and are passionate about the script you’re working on.

As a screenwriter and director, what has been the most rewarding experience? What has been the most challenging?
A: On my latest independent project, Hidden Violets, people reached out to us about how much they related to the script. During casting calls, people would email us and share their personal experiences, and to see how my script affected others was a very rewarding experience. However, since Hidden Violets is a much larger project, working out the financials and logistics of the film has been quite challenging.

Can you tell us a bit more about that project?
A: Of course! I met my writing partner, Ella Hicks, in February of 2022 at the Lakewood Real Life 96 Competition and had a chance to chat about the kinds of films we wanted to make. We’re both queer people, and we really wanted to see more positive sapphic relationships being represented in the media. We wanted to put ourselves and our friends on the screen. So, that’s how Hidden Violets came to life. The story follows Bronwyn, a bisexual college student who is dealing with internalized bi-phobia and rhetoric. She’s in a friends-with-benefits relationship with Jade who has a fear of commitment due to family trauma. In a nutshell, it’s about two girls trying to emotionally find the comfort to be vulnerable with each other and be in a relationship.

Advice for new majors?
A: Talk to your professors, participate in class. You will have repeat professors and your participation will not go unnoticed. When you get to know them, they will support your endeavors and projects. Plus, they’re all super cool. I encourage checking out other film-related things like the UW Film Club and the UW LUX Film Production Club. Also, get to know your peers. They will be making films, make films with them. Read all of advisor Nancy Sisko’s emails, she sends out awesome internship opportunities.

Check out Chloe’s films:
Hidden Violets:

Instagram - @hiddenvioletsfilm