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Evanston, IL 60201

Phone: (847) 866-3971
Toll-Free: (800) SEMINARY
Fax: (847) 866-3989

Meet Carole Snow

The Woodlands, Texas


Bachelor of Philosophy Northwestern University
The Banff Centre Alberta, Canada Film Studies

A first-year student in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling Program at Garrett-Evangelical, Carol is also a producer at RealLab Productions.  Below is her story and why she came to study at Garrett-Evangelical.

I am an independent producer and filmmaker. What that entails is looking for interesting stories and then finding money to tell that interesting story through moving pictures. Producing has been the capstone to a decade-long journalism career that ignited something so deep in me that I became very much invested in the human condition.

My job has sent me on 32-hour flights to the Himalayas, over horse trails in Tennessee and sometimes to Ann Arbor for a few hours. It doesn’t matter what subject I am covering via documentary - I find that people have the same struggle. We want to be heard, and we want to be valued. These are the tenets that make us feel alive. They make us human.

This has much to do with why I eventually came stumbling into seminary this fall. I do mean stumbling. I am clumsy in life. This is the biggest lesson I have learned in filmmaking - we all are. The ebb and flow of being human is seldom a gorgeous, symmetrical bell curve with a climax in the middle as we float down to earth with age and time. If anything, our lives can look much like the stock charts between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., with unexpected dips and rises.

The problem was this: I had no journalistic wall. I instantly cared for the people I was covering and reporting on, and it grew into my documentary work. I took my work home with me. I am here studying Pastoral Care and Counseling because at some point I decided that perhaps interviewing in another form - that allowing people to tell their stories - would eventually help someone.

And while I answer questions all day on campus as to why a filmmaker would come to seminary, the transition has been an easy one. I’m learning a new way to listen. I am learning that instead of extracting information to share with the public, I allow those in my sphere to give up little pieces of themselves and know they are being heard.

This summer I traveled to Nepal for the documentary, Keeper of the Mountains, which covers the history of Himalayan climbing (yep, Everest) through Himalayan chronicler Elizabeth Hawley. Hawley, a notoriously tough interview and intensely private woman, allowed me to sit across from her for five days asking questions about being in love and why a 40-year-old woman would pack up and move to Kathmandu in the 1960s.

She challenged me. “Why not?” She recounted tales of delivering the news to Sir Edmund Hillary that his wife, Louise, and, daughter, Belinda, had died in a plane crash. Hawley had taken a helicopter up to the Khumbu region and proceeded to help Hillary mend his life with food and company.

I looked around her office as I saw New Zealand postage stamps with Hillary’s likeness and a slew of very valuable climbing maps and books parked in every corner. While Hawley was never a climber herself, she admired the men and women that took to the peaks. Some were looking for adventure and some where trying to get away from problems at home.

I think in some way we all tackle life the way climbers do. The upward climb and those moments when you lose elevation after much struggle. You need the help of your teammates, and other times you are alone on a rock face being pummeled by weather. In the high regions, nothing warms the climber more than a cup of some serious tea from a stranger.

These turning points we all experience. Those of pain and camaraderie are the focus of my mission. That we are all in this together (life) and we need to share those experiences. We need to be vocal, to tell someone we are in pain. Now Intro to Pastoral Care and Counseling recommends that you should never say “I know how you feel.” Sometimes though - I think this is way okay.

Movies, television, music: They speak to us, because we see something in ourselves in others, this human narrative. I was working in small groups in our Vocational Formation and Church Leadership class - in a discussion on Dr. Martin Luther King’s "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" - when a very sharp classmate of mine pointed out that perhaps people were able to bus down to the South because they saw the shocking images on television of fire hoses, dogs and utter hate from humans like us.

I am here at Garrett and working hard in the documentary community for this reason: There are so many stories to be told. Like John Steinbeck reporting on migrant workers in the Depression, or Steve James telling us about violence and ultimately, healing in Chicago - and on down to the one-on-one construct of a counseling environment - you’ve got to know how much your story matters.


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