Bringing an idea to life

May 2, 2023


Film Still by Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan

Ayotoluwafunmi (Ayo) Ogunwusi sets up a camera in Locust Grove, Ga., on Friday, May 28, 2021.

Ryan Adams, a UI graduate and the documentary’s assistant director, said the unique storytelling opportunity necessitated the DI Documentary Workshop crew accelerate the pre-production process.

“If we wanted to get the story, we had to dive into it,” Adams said.

The documentary chronicled the post-graduation life of the UI Class of 2020 as they left Iowa City and moved across the U.S. Among these former UI students are now spouses Clara Reynan and Maeve Biscupski, aspiring filmmaker Ayotoluwafunmi Ogunwusi, graduate student Javon Stovall, and wrestler Pat Lugo.

Clara and Maeve Biscupski sit on a couch at their new apartment in Newark, Del., on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020.

Despite their separate life paths, these five were brought together to record their perspectives while navigating a world changed by unforeseen circumstances.

Filming these journeys would require careful coordination under normal circumstances, but the pandemic only amplified this complexity, documentary director Jenna Galligan said.

“This film got made — just out of necessity — in such a different way than I think anything else any of us have worked on,” Galligan said. “Because so much of it relied on phone calls and Zoom and contributed footage and just hoping that people’s schedules would work out and people would be healthy and well.”

Though Galligan said safety precautions limited the number of times the filmmakers could travel, she said she frequently interviewed sources over Zoom and through phone calls. Each source also recorded at least one video update a week where they talked into their phone’s camera and provided visuals of what their life looked like at the time.

This process worked in the documentary’s favor, Galligan said, noting that some of its best moments came from video diaries.

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