When the coronavirus pandemic caused shutdowns across the globe in mid-March, Carroll moved all classes online and students out of their residence halls—except for a handful of international students who were unable to return home. For the past six weeks, Mexico-native Diego Pedroza has spent his days isolated in the comfort of Frontier Hall, completing his online coursework and end-of-year finals. He’s also filled his days working on a number video and music projects—honing skills, building a portfolio and simply passing the time.
Despite being able to call friends, his parents and younger siblings, things can get a little lonely. “Luckily, I have a lot of work to do—freelance cinematography—so thankfully I don’t get too much in my own head,” he said.
“Only recently have I realized there are other students here,” said Pedroza. “Carroll did a really great job helping us to avoid contact with one another. My main interaction is with ABP (Au Bon Pain) staff, and they have been real troopers keeping everything running.”
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Pedroza, a junior filmmaking major, serves as an intern with the university’s Office of Marketing and Communications and also assists the institution’s Department of Visual Arts with film projects. He recently finished work on a video promotion for the Carroll Players’ rescheduled spring musical “Romeo + Juliet: A Cover.”
“I’ve always been obsessed with movies. I saw ‘Back to the Future’ when I was small, and it’s how I started learning English. I’d just watch it again and again. I knew all the lines. Then I went on to other movies. I owe all my English skills to television,” he laughed.“I began messing around with a camera as soon as I could afford one; I was about 15. I got kind of serious at 18 and had my first film nominated for film festival. I used my portfolio for college; without that I wouldn’t have scholarships.”
Much of Pedroza’s film work revolves around music—including shooting a number of music videos for The Keystones
, a Waukesha-based garage rock band that is comprised of current and former Carroll students.
“Music is something I love so, so much. It’s something I do when I have free time, and I’ve been playing guitar a lot, but filmmaking is my one true love. In an ideal world, I would direct feature films. But if I can be behind the camera for the rest of my life, I would feel fulfilled.”