A future as a filmmaker

Filmmaking is not for the faint of heart. It takes time, dedication and a passion for storytelling. It’s extremely difficult to break into the film industry, but junior Tarrell Christie seems to be off to a good start. He is a digital media major at UNI and, in addition to his classes, he owns and operates a filmmaking company called Lost Utopia Films.

Tarrell Christie
"It’s nice actually going to school for something you are passionate about, and I’ve met so many people here that are just as invested as I am in making films.”

His love for filmmaking began at the age of 10 when he saw the film “King Kong” and watched the special features about how the movie was created. Christie was instantly hooked. His passion grew even more in middle school when he met Luke Kreger. The two shared an interest in filmmaking and started making short films for their friends and family, which continued throughout high school.

“The best way I’ve improved my skills was to keep doing it. I learned this from my high school video class, where we had to create a short film every two weeks. That shot up our experience because it forced us to have deadlines and be accountable,” said Christie.

After high school, the friends decided to turn their hobby into more of a career and the idea for Lost Utopia Films was born. They began making more short films, and one in particular that Christie wrote and directed was named Honorable Mention at the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts, a national festival showcasing student work.

The film was titled “The Spaceman,” which follows a young African-American astronaut who volunteers for a mission through a wormhole, but when the mission does not go as planned, he “must face the problems he left behind on Earth throughout the unknown voids of space."

“Writing ‘The Spaceman’ was crazy, but I think the big light bulb for me was to bring race into it. In sci-fi, you never really see that type of viewpoint taken and I thought that would be an interesting take on it,” said Christie.

As his knowledge of filmmaking increases, he credits UNI for the impact they have had on his education.

“UNI has been really great. My professor, Francesca Soans, is really great at pushing students to get their work out there. It’s nice actually going to school for something you are passionate about, and I’ve met so many people here that are just as invested as I am in making films,” said Christie.

After Christie graduates, he hopes to one day break into Hollywood and make films. Lost Utopia Films has created several short films and music videos and the company plans on continuing to do what its loves.

“The awesome thing about movies is that you can project yourself onto characters and take away life lessons you wouldn’t learn otherwise. All I can hope people take away from my films is that kind of experience of looking into yourself and things in a new light, and to escape from ordinary life,” said Christie.

To view the short film, “The Spaceman,” and others, visit lostutopiafilms.weebly.com/.