Hoo's for Art: Stéphane Glynn
Dance or film? Film or dance? Fortunately, for Stéphane Glynn, coming to UVA meant never having to make this choice.
Stéphane Glynn (College ‘13) discovered a love of dance in high school, taking classes in hip hop and salsa. Then, during his senior year, he took a film class in which he was asked to write a paragraph for an exam answer. Five pages later, he realized he might have a new passion to pursue. Glynn immediately dove into the dance program when he arrived on Grounds, joining a hip hop group and signing on with the step team. He even joined forces with another student to start his own group that incorporated styles from across the dance spectrum. By his third year, Glynn found his way to a “Screendance” course and a fuse was officially lit that found him graduating with a media studies major and dance minor, then pursuing his film dreams by earning a Masters at the University of Utah. Today, Glynn is a filmmaker and editor based in Salt Lake City, honing his craft and paying his bills as a production assistant at the public television station there.
What about your UVA experience inspired you to head down this career path?
I think one of the most important things about my time at UVA is just realizing how interconnected everything is. Some people may think that modern dance and media studies, psychology, anthropology, history, economics…that all these things are so disparate. But I don’t think they are, and my time at UVA really showed me how all these fields of study interconnect and how you can learn so much and become so much better by studying different fields. I loved having that freedom to explore whatever I wanted to.
Tell us about some of your biggest influences at UVA?
In my whole time at UVA, my two most influential professors were William Little and Kim Brooks Mata. Kim taught a Screendance class that I actually had to push a little to get in. It was the first time I developed an interest in making my own films, and the moment I got behind the camera, it felt natural. I loved dealing with composition and framing, and picking my shots. That class, along with William Little’s in-depth film studies classes, have been huge influences on my life and career.
How did exploring the combination of film and dance inspire you?
I think for any dance major or choreographer, exploring your craft in a different medium is hugely powerful and tremendous for your creative growth. Making dance films can be hard, because within the modern dance world, dance films often follow the same aesthetic, and lack a strong film component. That interconnection is something I’ve always been interested in changing. How can we make films that are interesting in terms of filmmaking and choreography? And how can we make that entertaining for the masses to watch?
How did you choose your path after graduation?
When I got to my fourth year at UVA, I was mulling over what to do next. Did I want to go the media studies route and work for an entertainment company? I had interned at ABC Television the previous summer and really liked it. But then I literally had an epiphany. I woke up one morning and said, “OK, I want to make films.” So then the question became do I go to LA and start from the ground up, or should I go to graduate school? I ended up going to the University of Utah’s MFA Film Program for several reasons. The U of U has one of the only Screendance programs in the nation, the film program provided lots of flexibility, and I had the opportunity to teach classes from the start of my graduate career. I am the sort of person who “learns by doing,” so it was great to make as many films as I wanted in a diversity of genres and styles. I also started building a strong freelance network in town, and at the same time found an opportunity at KUED, the local PBS affiliate. Working at KUED allows me to get a lot of experience with studio cameras and in documentary editing, while also learning about the broadcast world, which in some ways connects back to my Media Studies experience at UVA.
How about your own filmmaking efforts? What is your proudest moment in that arena?
I am currently working with a range of profit and nonprofit companies, including the Children’s Miracle Network. I also recently finished editing a music video for James Williamson, the former guitarist of Iggy & the Stooges. So I am always working on my storytelling. I love that every day I get to learn about completely different people. I would say my proudest filmmaking moment was my thesis film, called L’Autre Rive. It is a hybrid, surrealist film that deals with looking at the various interpretations of death, including the sort of conflict between the scientific certainty and spiritual uncertainty of what happens to the body and what happens to the soul. It is still playing at festivals.