Menefese Kudumu-Clavell

Giving people a voice on film 

On coming to Marlboro

I’m from North Carolina and I wanted to go out of state. I was looking into art schools—film schools—but the thing that really attracted me to Marlboro was that there are no required courses so I could kind of come in and take what I was interested in. But there still seemed to be a sense of structure that sounded nice. I originally applied to the Renaissance Scholarship, and didn’t get in, but I still decided to come here. Marlboro’s definitely lived up to my expectations.

On choosing to focus on film

In high school I would always say I wanted to go into psychology. Psychology is something I've always been interested in—what people think and the way they think—but I spoke to people in the psychology field, and I realized that I was much more interested in film. What I want to do with film is give a voice to people who aren’t heard. So whether that’s Native Americans, minorities, or other people who don’t have a voice in film media. Give them a chance to say what they want to say.

On studying film at Marlboro

Brad’s trying to do some really new and different stuff in the film department. I think it's great, having accessibility to other film students, because most of them are in my class. So we get to see each other’s work—it’s not like I’m going around searching for other students. The film department is actually moving into a new building, so that should be cool, and it’s great being a part of all of these new and exciting things. I really enjoy growing the film department with all of these other students. I’m planning on interning in film in Abu Dhabi, so that should be pretty cool.

On snow

The snow is crazy. I’ve been trying to acclimate, because I was terrified when I first came here. I was like, oh my god, I’m going to die because of the snow. People were talking about how cold it was going to get here. I work for the Outdoor Program, so I have to work in the snow and also program events, like snowball fights or playing in the snow, not just shoveling. So it’s given me a certain appreciation for the snow. Working for the OP has really helped me meet other people and see what people are interested in.

On being a person of color at Marlboro

North Carolina is pretty diverse—my high school was half white and half African-American, population-wise—so coming to a college where there are only a handful of black students was really shocking. Now it’s something I’ve gotten used to—I’m feeling more comfortable with it. You’re always hearing the phrase “diversity and inclusiveness” around campus, and we have the diversity task force working towards a more diverse campus. I feel like coming here myself has been a part of that working towards more diversity, but I really look forward to having more African-Americans.

On other interests

Well, this is my second semester of taking Spanish classes, and that’s really fun because I’m part Puerto Rican on my dad's side and my family speaks Spanish. It'll be nice to be able to talk to them. I also took a writing class about film theory, and a Senegalese drumming class. That's what I love so much about Marlboro, my interests can be so broad and so specific at the same time. Because I know I want to go into film, but I can do all these other things I want to do instead of having to take a math class I’m not interested in.