By Donna Parker
Danny Bourque ’04 was a Trinity student when he shot and produced “Commode Creations: The Artwork of Barney Smith” for a film class, but it was his re-edit of this four-minute documentary that scored national acclaim.
“The piece was about Barney – an 80-year-old retired plumber who collected toilet seat lids and decorated them with items such as antlers and pieces of the space shuttle,” says this filmmaker whose film about the San Antonio handyman just aired nationally on the Independent Film Channel and will screen at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2007.
“Ever since I graduated high school, I’ve been into short films and photography. I’m lucky enough now to be doing both, as I just started a job as a photojournalist for The Times Picayune here in New Orleans.”
Danny is also a graduate film school student at the University of New Orleans… for the second time. He enrolled in 2005 – one week before Hurricane Katrina chased him out of town. He landed in Savannah, Ga., at the College of Art Design. Now back at UNO, Danny says he’s at the head of the class, thanks to Trinity’s hands-on approach to learning.
“I was a communications major and had already produced short films when I graduated from Trinity. That gave me the chance to see how films actually come together. Some of my fellow grad students from large universities were not given a chance to experiment in filmmaking. In contrast, my professors such as Robert Huesca, department of communication, seemed very open to student ideas. When one assignment involved producing a documentary on alternative media, Huesca gave us creative freedom, and that’s when I produced the toilet documentary.”
“Although I entered Trinity with the intent of majoring in physics, I was intrigued by the communication department and equally amazed at the ease with which I could walk into any faculty office and just start talking with a professor. Considering I was looking for personalized experience and not being lost in a crowd, Trinity was perfect.”
He continues to draw upon his experiences on campus, citing his screen arts teacher and adviser, Suzanne Williams-Rautiola, as well as Aaron Delwiche. of whom he says, “We talked about technology and where it was going.”
Danny says all of his Trinity experiences provided him with a clear understanding of his chosen profession and just how fickle the filmmaking industry can be.
“In my field, finding a real job is not easy. Film projects come to town and film for two months and then you have to go find another job. Trinity provided me with the confidence to pursue my own projects as well.”
If you’d like to visit Danny’s film website, check out www.NeverthoughtFilms.com.