VWS: Tell me about your work and education after graduating from the VWS.
TPW: For my Grade 12 Project, I did a documentary about trying to find the similarities between Christianity & Islam. This experience of making a film propelled me to continue to pursue film after I graduated from Waldorf. I immediately applied for the Documentary Film Program at Capilano University. As my final project for the program, I directed a short documentary called “Fearless.” It was about my stepfather Martyn Williams, who led a journey from the north pole to the south pole with a message to bring further awareness of environmental issues. “Fearless” proceeded to screen at various film festivals and won “Best Canadian Film” at Squamish Mountain Film Festival as well as “Best Inspirational Documentary” at the New York International Independent Film Festival. Immediately after graduating, I had the amazing opportunity to go on a 3-week research expedition on a large ship up the coast of BC and Alaska.
I worked as a videographer for Living Oceans Society, doing deep-sea dives to learn the effects of fishing practices on coral and the ocean floor. Who knew a year out of high school, I would be out in the middle of the ocean, going down 700 ft in a tiny submarine to document the wonders of the dark ocean floors? My work on this expedition led me to a whole year of work for Living Oceans on excellent initiatives for our precious oceans. In 2010 I left Living Oceans to go to India to film a short documentary on the spiritual gathering called the Kumbh Mela. It happens every 12 years and is the largest gathering of humanity, with approximately 10 million people attending in 2010. India is one of my favourite travel experiences in my many travels. Later in 2010, I made another journey with my older brother Eolo. We travelled to Spain and walked the 900km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. It was a 5-week adventure. I brought my camera and did a documentary on our experience and the stories of why other pilgrims walk the Camino. No way could I have imagined that I would have experienced all this after high school! I have discovered that as long as you pursue your passions and love what you do, the universe has a fantastic way of leading you down a path better than any of your wildest dreams.
VWS: What kind of work/study are you involved in now?
TPW: I currently work at a TV production company called Paperny Entertainment. They do a lot of reality-based shows in Canada.
I have recently received some funding from the National Film Board of Canada to help complete my Camino de Santiago film, which I am editing. I already have the travel bug again and am travelling throughout South East Asia for two months starting April!
VWS: What do you enjoy most about your work?
TPW: My passion for film comes from the love of sharing stories, experiences and emotions. I find films and documentaries allow the audience to peer into a world they may not ever witness in their own lives. I also love how film incorporates so many different forms of artistic expression into one. I especially enjoy making documentaries because there are so many amazing stories in the world! I hope to continue to make films, and all I hope for is that people will be touched and inspired by my work.
VWS: What do you think are your greatest successes in life?
TPW: To be alive, to have the opportunity to be able to follow my passions. To laugh, to be with family, to explore the world, to meet new friends and share stories, and most of all, to be able to love. I am so grateful for what I have in my life. These are my greatest successes.
VWS: How did Waldorf education affect your life and your choice of career?
TPW: Waldorf is a school that fosters and helps grow your creative mind. It allows for the individual to grow and learn at their own pace. It provides a space that will enable you to express your thoughts freely and without judgment. I feel these are the greatest things that Waldorf gave me in my education. I am grateful for my education, and it has helped me get to where I am today.
VWS: What are your fondest memories of your time at the VWS?
TPW: The school trips at the beginning of each year are fantastic memories and great ways of starting the year. I enjoyed so many of the classes, class plays, and even though Grade 12 Projects were just a tad stressful, I enjoyed that as well!
Interview by Michelle Gibson, for Development January 2012