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Columbia College Alumnus Screens Documentary

Columbia College Chicago graduate and filmmaker spoke of her recent documentary to students and Chicago residents in the South Loop Friday.

Mallory Sohmer, a 2006 film studies graduate, screened her documentary “The Living Documents” at the Ferguson Memorial Theatre, 600 S. Michigan Ave., to an audience of approximately 40 people.

“The Living Documents” chronicles a Nicaraguan attorney, Maria Acosta, and the death of her husband, Frank. Acosta is involved in the privatization of land for Nicaraguan natives, thus trying to stop the selling of this land over the Internet. This controversial work is exactly what led to the death of her husband.

After the screening, hosted by the Student Alumni Association, Sohmer discussed the documentary and her reasoning behind it, while also speaking about her post-Columbia career.

According to Sohmer, she got the idea for this documentary while still a student at Columbia. This documentary started out as a project for one of Sohmer’s film classes called Indigenous Film Making.

“We had to come up with stories to write a treatment on,” said Sohmer. “I found an article on Frank’s murder. I graduated and the story stuck with me. This is the kind of work I wanted to do.”

According to Sohmer, “The Living Documents” was three years in the making. During the filming, Sohmer spent a month in Nicaragua conducting interviews and gathering footage.

“It was a great learning experience,” Sohmer said.

Sohmer’s documentary was screened at the Chicago Latino Film Festival and all throughout Nicaragua. It has also been shown numerous times on the Documentary Channel.

During the discussion, students were encouraged to ask Sohmer questions about her film career, and she had much advice to offer.

The number-one advice she shared was to meet with others in your career and to gather a team.

“Build a network of people,” Sohmer said. “Find people who want to do the same projects you want to do.”

Sohmer also said that she wished she had been better rounded in other studies, such as journalism, to help her in film making.

Sohmer has been working freelance for the past year while also building her own client-base. As of now, she has no plans to make another documentary.

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