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News . Feature Stories . LA Filmmaker Remembers CIA Roots

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April 01, 2012

LA Filmmaker Remembers CIA Roots

Latest Movie Premiere Brings Filmmaker Home

LA Filmmaker Remembers CIA Roots

Los Angeles-based filmmaker John Chuldenko ’98 came back to his hometown in March 2012 to premiere his latest movie, Nesting, to packed houses of enthusiastic film buffs on opening night of the 36th Cleveland International Film Festival.

Amid the excitement, he took a moment to talk about the influence of his CIA education on his career.

What was your experience like at CIA?
I worked in advertising throughout my college years. (The late) Professor Dave London told me I should write, which, admittedly, is odd to hear at an art school. But I took his advice and it’s really served me well.

How did your time at CIA prepare you for your film career?
You know, critiques never really stop. It’s important to learn to talk about your work in a compelling way. In my career, the professors have been replaced by journalists and audience members, but the skill set is the same. I also think CIA is a place where you can be free to explore a little, and try disciplines that might seem unrelated to your major. That’s a good thing. You never know where ideas will come from; often it’s not where you’d expect. I studied glass with (Professor) Brent Young for a bit and I still consider it some of my most rewarding time at the Institute.

What did you learn in Graphic Design that helps you in your career today?
Critical thinking is stressed at CIA, and those skills help when you need to solve creative challenges.

Your father is Illustration Professor John Chuldenko. Did he play a role in your career?
He’s a good guy to have in your corner. Dad is always supportive of the creative endeavors of my sister (painter Sarah Chuldenko Reynolds ’99) and me. As anyone familiar with my dad knows, he’s always willing to offer a critique.

What was it like premiering your movie at the Cleveland International Film Festival and, beyond the film festival, when and where can people catch it?
It was a perfect scenario to bring the movie to a festival that has such an amazing audience turn out. It was also quite special for me to screen it in my hometown.
Nesting was in theaters this May and is now available on demand and through iTunes.

What do you hope people will take away from your movie?
More than anything, I hope people enjoy watching it. I made this movie for audiences; it’s a comedy about where Generation X ended up, which, turns out, is at Pottery Barn. I hope people have a good time.

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