The University of Iowa

UI alum/filmmaker inspired by year abroad in Austria

March 18th, 2013
Devon Terrill

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.