UI alum/filmmaker inspired by year abroad in Austria

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Devon Terrill

Film producer Devon Terrill didn’t pursue filmmaking until after her graduation from the UI, but the experiences she had during her undergraduate education – including studying abroad – had a big impact on her career path. The following excerpt is from Iowa Now.

By Sara Epstein Moninger

The UI campus was a good fit for Terrill, who says she was attracted to the diversity of activity it offered. She didn’t declare a major until after she returned from a yearlong study abroad experience in Austria.

“During my travels when I was abroad, I found that everything I’d been studying made more sense, everything had a context—from history to literature to language. It was a pretty transformative experience,” she says. “I also developed an interest in media and film and how they reflect a culture and inform people’s vision of the future.”

Upon her return to Iowa City, Terrill declared a major in comparative literature, an area that, she explains, “tied together my multidisciplinary, cross-cultural interests.” On a whim, she decided to apply for an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences internship that she saw advertised on campus. She was selected, and then assigned to work as a development assistant for Viacom Productions.

“I was thrust into the world of entertainment, and it was a completely different way of approaching things,” she recalls. “I think the tools I picked up from studying overseas allowed me to adapt to a new situation, and being from Iowa was a plus. Iowans have a reputation in L.A. for being pragmatic, focused, and committed. Even though I didn’t go to film school, I was able to think critically and creatively at the same time, and see things through to completion, and that impressed people.”

Read this full story on Iowa Now and see a preview of Terrill’s film American Winter.

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