If Clare Major wins a 2011 Student Academy Award for Best Documentary, she will have the opportunity to thank two most impressive patrons – Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. Feast & Sacrifice, her 26-minute look at the day-to-day life of a family in Senegal, Africa, was funded in part by a grant from the couple’s foundation.
Major served with the Peace Corp in Senegal from 2004 to 2006, later turning those experiences into her graduate thesis film at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she completed her studies in 2010. Per the film’s official website:
Living for two years with the Bah family in Saare Muudu, I was intrigued by how the village existed at the intersection of First and Third Worlds. This film is an attempt to convey some of the stories of individuals – men working abroad, women left at home, and children confronting the divergent paths before them.
Since 2007, Major has also worked in the Bay Area as a freelance video journalist for outlets such the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Wired. Three student documentary winners will be announced by the Academy later this month, with trophies to be presented at a ceremony on June 2nd.
[Full list of nominees here]