Boise State’s Public Culture Initiative Welcomes Filmmaker Amanda Stoddard

A photograph of director Amanda Stoddard
Documentary director Amanda Stoddard

Amanda Stoddard is a documentary film director, producer and editor, and director of content, film and television for Vavani Productions, a Salt Lake City media company that “develops and produces ethos-driven films and television that move the conversation forward.”

Local audiences will have the chance to learn more about her work at two upcoming events.

First, the Idaho premiere of Stoddard’s latest documentary, “Quiet Heroes,” will take place at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, in Skaggs Hall in the Micron Business and Economics Building.

“Quiet Heroes” focuses on Kristen Ries, a medical doctor treating AIDS/HIV patients in conservative Salt Lake City. Ries and her physician’s assistant, Maggie Snyder, devised non-traditional strategies to care for their patients. When those patients’ families, churches, social circles, politicians and other doctors abandoned them, Ries and Snyder created a safe haven.

The next evening, Monday, March 11, “Making Documentary Film: An Evening with Amanda Stoddard,” will feature Stoddard in conversation with Rulon Wood, a Boise State film professor, at 6 p.m. in the Lookout Room in the Student Union Building.

Stoddard and Wood, who met while studying film school at the University of Utah, will talk about the challenges and rewards of the creative life and the growing prominence of documentaries.

“I feel like the most interesting things happening now in film are happening in documentary,” said Wood, noting recent screenings at Sundance that have taken on hybrid form, including animation, narrative sequences and other experimental techniques.

His discussion with Stoddard will focus on how she uses filmmaking to promote social justice. Her first film, “1 Revolution,” tells the story of climber Chris Waddell who ascended Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak on the African continent, in a specially designed handcycle.

“When I was in school with Amanda, she always did interesting work that was not just about entertainment, but that she used to probe issues. I want to talk about how her philosophy has evolved,” said Wood. Stoddard, he added, “is a thoughtful and introspective person with good ideas on ‘life stuff.'” Throughout her career, she has mentored many young filmmakers.

A Q and A session will follow the talk. The film and discussion are free and open to the public.

A still from the film, "Quiet Heroes."
Still from “Quiet Heroes.”

“We are thrilled that Amanda accepted our offer to visit campus this semester and to share her experiences making documentary films with our students and with the community,” said Jacky O’Connor, director of the Public Culture Initiative. “The opportunity to present the Idaho premiere of ‘Quiet Heroes,’ with one of the film’s producers and directors in residence, is an exciting development for the School of the Arts and particularly the new undergraduate program in film and television arts.”

The initiative is housed in the School of the Arts with support from the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Research and Economic Development. It helps support the school’s mission of preparing artists to live and create in the 21st century. Contact O’Connor at joconnor@boisestate.edu for more information.