'Voices Rising'

WWU students and 2019 WWU graduate win $10,000 film award

In early September 2019, a group of five Walla Walla University students and one 2019 graduate attended the CoLab Media and Film event in Redlands, California, where their film concept for “Voices Rising” received a $10,000 prize.

“Voices Rising” is currently in the early stages of production with After95 Creative, a collaborative company of creatives founded in the fall of 2018. After95 members in attendance at the CoLab Film and Media event were Clayton Kruse, senior majoring in film, TV, and media; Andrew Yamada, senior majoring in electrical engineering; Jared Jamieson, senior majoring in film, TV, and media; Jordan Barnett, junior majoring in film, TV, and media; Andre Bannis, freshman majoring in film, TV, and media; and Dane Ocampo ’19, bachelor’s degree in bioengineering.

They discovered the CoLab event while networking at Sonscreen film festival. Their submitted project plan for “Voices Rising” consisted of 15-20 pages that included the timeline, artistic approach, budget, and other details.

They soon were told they had been accepted into the top six finalists, which granted them the opportunity to present their project proposal at the CoLab for 10 minutes to a panel of Hollywood judges and a live audience. Yamada and Kruse presented the project.

“Voices Rising” will be a documentary telling the story of two filmmakers traveling to the Marshall Islands to experience island life and create an album of music with the local artists. 

Jamieson will be working on the documentary for his senior project. “After talking more about the idea with film professor Jerry Hartman, I realized it was the perfect film to be my senior project,” Jamieson said. One of his passions outside of film is music production, and that will be his primary focus during this project. “This film allows me the opportunity to develop myself as a filmmaker and music producer but also connect my creative passions with a meaningful and impactful story,” he said. 

“Through this journey of making music and poetry, the voice of the Marshallese people is revealed as they speak and sing out for their island home in the midst of climate change and the scars of nuclear testing,” said Kruse, After95 cofounder and director of the film. 

“The hope is that this film can bring about awareness to the lives of Marshallese people, especially the youth, and display how climate change is impacting them today,” he said. “After watching ‘Voices Rising,’ we hope viewers will be inspired to take more action in their daily lives to make the world a better place and feel a greater sense of global citizenship.” 

Kruse lived in the Marshall Islands for two years and made many personal connections with the people, making the preproduction element of the film simpler. Yamada will be serving as a producer for the film and has been on the island of Majuro networking and creating more connections since late September 2019. 

Kruse and Jamieson will be traveling to Majuro in January 2020 and will be living there for three months while filming. They are planning on conducting a second trip back to Majuro during the summer of 2020.

For updates on “Voices Rising,” visit the After95 Creative website at after95creative.com/voices-rising-the-film.

Posted Dec. 30, 2019.

Five college-age boys sit on a stage in front of a large COLAB sign holding their award