Kim Nguyen

Kim Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam and grew up in Chicago, is a product of the Chicago Public Schools, including Lane Tech High School, the largest in the state. Even on that vast campus, she stood out, excelling in her academic courses and in the honors program. “But I never really had a clear idea of what I wanted to do until I delved into art,” she says. She discovered a love of photography in her junior year, and “decided to make a jump to film for college.”

Columbia, in my experience, is very much about showing you the tools and then handing them over to let you explore them for yourself.
“I declared a concentration in cinematography the moment I applied to Columbia,” says Kim. “Film is such an exciting, creative, and rigorous process, and to study to be a cinematographer and be able to define all the photographic aspects and movements to visualize a story into a film is what I’d love to do.”

She chose the college because “I knew that Columbia definitely adopted more of a hands-on approach. In the Film & Video department, we almost immediately get a Bolex in our hands and go out and shoot. It makes you take huge leaps, and the trial-and-error process immediately gets you figuring out what works and what doesn’t.”

Fond memories of fun times paired with the college’s hands-on approach are what assure Nguyen she made the right decision by attending Columbia. “In celebration of a great second year as an organization, six members of the Asian Student Organization decided to have fun by making unique robot costumes to wear as we marched in the Manifest parade,” she recalls. “OK Go was set to play the main stage that year, so we went to the concert grounds and made our way to the front. Finally, the band acknowledged us and asked the robots to come on stage. I remember all of us being shocked, but extremely excited. We were so happy to get on stage, and it was great looking out at the huge crowd!”

As Kim prepares to graduate, she sees a future for herself, “working in film and skipping around the world. Wealth is not the foremost thing on my mind. It’s the pure enjoyment of what I’m doing and creating—being able to work on fun, great projects and do something with my work.”


Video: Promotional video by Kim Nguyen


For a digital cinematography class, Kim Nguyen shot and edited this promotional video for the Theater department’s production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband.