Back to News Mount Professor Makes Directorial Debut

Mount Professor Makes Directorial Debut


Riverdale, N.Y. – Assistant Professor of Sociology LinDa Saphan will make her directorial debut this weekend with her new documentary, Nate from Lowell, MA. The film will be screened on September 3, 2016 at the Cambodian Town Film Festival in Long Beach, Calif., and on September 4, 2016 at the Roma Cinema DOC in Rome, Italy.

“As an artist, I choose many different mediums to express ideas—drawing, sculpting, installation, and now film,” says Dr. Saphan. “I think trying to create these vignettes on Cambodian-American heritage through short documentaries is the best way to render my vision.”

Nate from Lowell, MA highlights the reality that no institutions preserve, archive, and research lost and hidden popular music in Cambodia, which is not recognized as part of the country’s cultural heritage.

“My interest is to showcase the Cambodian diaspora experience and migration,” says Dr. Saphan. “I wanted to choose individuals on an extraordinary journey. Individuals who demonstrate that being Cambodian—even Asian—has a more complex definition than most stereotypes portray. I started with an individual named Nate, whose passion for collecting vinyl made him an ideal example as he continues to preserve Cambodian popular culture.”

The film is already being nominated with best documentary and international short film accolades, including: the iChill film Fest in the Philippines, where it was screened July 29 through 31, 2016; the Short to the Point in Bucharest, Romania, where it was screened in August 2016; and the Moving Pictures Festival in Antwerp, Belgium, where it was screened August 26, 2016. Additional screenings of the film are set for September 11, 2016 at the Move Me Productions Belgium Short Film Festival in Antwerp, Belgium, and from May 9 through 12, 2017 at the Shorts Off Film Festival in Llanelli, U.K.

Dr. Saphan compares her directorial experience to that of a storyteller. “I realized in the editing process that I am truly an urban sociologist. As I was filming, it was not only about showcasing the main character, but also about the city of Lowell and the Cambodian community. Everything intertwines and contributes.”

Ever since she moved to New York City in 2008, Dr. Saphan has been interested in creating portraits of individuals in American cities. Her next project after Nate from Lowell, MA is another documentary, which will feature Amy Lee Sanford, a Cambodian-American visual artist and performer whose works have been exhibited all over the world.

“In many ways I’ve learned to embrace the values of the American Dream—about the self-made man and that if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere. Living here inspires me to act, to create, and to try to make it.”

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.