My name is Monique Campbell. I am 21 years old. I was born in Jamaica, where my grandmother raised me, along with my sister and five younger cousins. I attended one of Jamaica’s most prominent high schools, St. Andrew High School for Girls. As I young child I enjoyed track and field.
When I was 15 years old, I immigrated with my younger sister to New York City to live with our mother. Moving to the United Stated was a big culture shock. Not only was I enrolled in a new school, but I was also living with a new family. During high school I found my way to a summertime film-making workshop at MoMA. This was my first real creative outlet. By the end of the summer, I shot and edited my first short film, Let’s Salsa.
The following year, I was accepted into the film program at Reel Works, where I worked with a professional mentor, Hannah Weyer. She guided my screenwriting and directing of a bio-documentary, Missing Melodie, about me moving to the U.S. and how I adapted (or at least tried) to not having a great relationship with my mother and how I dealt with it through the friendships I’ve formed with girls who had similar experiences.
I am extremely proud of this film because it gave me a voice and I was able to tell a story that I wanted to tell.
I am now a junior at Brooklyn College majoring in Foods and Nutrition. If someone were to have asked me while I was in high school what I wanted to be when I got older, I would have said, without any hesitation, a FILMMAKER. The most precious lesson I have taken from my experiences at these internships is that we don’t always have control over the course that our lives take–and I am just fine with that. My experiences as a filmmaker have helped me to push beyond the familiar (my own comfort zone) to evolve and grow, and have given me the confidence to undertake other excavations and explorations.
Above all I now have a clearer understanding of the picture I want to paint for myself, and I can say above all, that I tried.