According to Riley, the film program has been very supportive in her work, and she has made many connections and relationships with the professors in her major. She came to the university a little later than her classmates, transferring from Berklee College of Music and attributes her happiness at URI to the professors and people she has met.
In addition to filmmaking, Riley is also interested in art, acting, writing and singing. She also has a deep passion for human rights and activism. She initiated and planned an HIV/AIDS benefit that took place in Providence on May 5, which is the first collaboration between AIDS Project Rhode Island and AIDS Care Ocean State.
“I just wanted to do something, and I did it,” Riley said. “There’s always people willing to help you, you just have to ask. The two organizations are very similar and sometimes people don’t know where to donate. I went to both organizations and suggested a joint project, and got the ball rolling.”
Riley has spent much of her time on campus as a Macintosh technician, working 20 hours a week. This is the maximum allowed for URI students although Riley said she would work 40 if she could. Despite her heavy workload and extracurricular responsibilities, Riley also managed a 3.22 / 4.0 grade point average.
Working with the computer and using sound and video, she creates what she calls “abstract experimental film.” She has made five visual pieces and four sound pieces over the past three years and has postponed entering them into film festivals in order to focus on her studies. She hopes to turn her focus to festivals during the summer.
Riley plans to stay local and work with computers for a year before attending graduate school in the fall of 2008. She hopes to study film media at Emerson College in Boston.
“I will definitely keep in touch with my film professors at URI,” Riley adds. “They have driven me as an artist, and made me a better person.”
Photo courtsey of Alana Riley