Dreams in Focus

NASH senior, Faith Nguyen, was recently accepted into one of the most prestigious film schools in the world.

Julia Poppa, Photography Editor

How did you find filmmaking? Who or what led you to the field?

I think it was a natural progression. I’ve always loved storytelling, writing, and the visual arts, and I think I eventually realized in high school that filmmaking was a way to do all of that at once. I just love how there’s so many different components that go into making a film. It’s a complex art form with limitless potential. When I’m creating films, I’m at my absolute best.

What are some of your favorite film projects you’ve done so far?

While I tend to be very self-critical and sometimes find it hard to enjoy my own work, I’m proud of two short films I’ve created this year– “Fantasies of a Decaying Memoir” and “A Moment’s Reverie”. Both are available to watch on YouTube. I’m also finishing up a comedy short that I’m excited to release– it was a lot of fun to film.

Why did you apply to USC, what made you decide to go there?

Of course, USC is one of the best film schools in the world, so it just made sense to apply. And I’m glad I did.

What were some of your first thoughts when you found out you got in?

I was shocked, to be honest. It feels surreal that I actually got into USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. I still don’t think I’ve fully mentally processed that I’m going to be living in LA very soon. It’s crazy.

How do you think you’ve prepared yourself for the next few years of film school?

I’ve just created things constantly. I wrote, drew, painted, filmed. I honestly think all artistic endeavors help me as a filmmaker in some way– it’s really important for me to constantly remain in a creative headspace. And I don’t intend on slowing down the creative practices during college. 

What do you think will set you apart from your peers, both at the school and once you really start working?

All I can say is that I’m willing to work twice as hard to become successful. No matter what, I’m determined to make a name for myself in the film industry, because I really do love to create films. All I can do is work my hardest, and hopefully the rest will fall into place from there.

What kind of projects are you hoping to take on during your college career?

I’m hoping to explore my creative boundaries now that I’ll have greater resources to create. I don’t want to assign myself to any certain style or genre. I want to try everything. I have so many ideas that I’m ready to bring to life. 

Whose work do you most resonate with?

It seems like the stereotype goes that directors are very outgoing and gregarious and assertive, so I appreciate those who deviate from the stereotype, since I’m definitely more introverted myself.

Examples are Bong Joon Ho, Barry Jenkins, Hayao Miyazaki, Andrei Tarkovsky. I admire their work. I think that there’s this unique, introspective quality that comes from people of this vein. There’s a silent power coursing through their work.

What is your biggest dream for your career in the future?

Oh gosh, this is a tough one, but I think writing and directing my own major motion pictures is a big goal of mine. And one day being able to work with renowned actors. Honestly being seen and acknowledged in the film industry is the dream.

If you got invited on to any one talk show, who’s would it be, and what do you think you would talk about?

I’d go on Jimmy Fallon dressed as Joaquin Phoenix’s joker and talk about my zany and embarrassing high school experiences. Anytime he laughs that very exaggerated laugh he does, I mimic his laughing until he stops and we just stare at each other in uncomfortable silence for thirty minutes. 

Faith Nguyen

If you could be reincarnated as any animal, extinct or living, real or fake, when you die, what would it be?

Probably a jellyfish. Look beautiful, think no thoughts, and float around the ocean? Not too shabby.

What’s your favorite bird?

There’s a soft spot in my heart for American Pekin ducks. Have you seen them eat peas??

What’s your favorite Lil Jon ad lib?


If you had to choose between teaching Dwayne Johnson how to solve a Rubik’s cube and never stubbing your big toe again, what would you choose?

Definitely never stubbing my toe again. I’m sorry Dwayne, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

If ten million wasps were coming towards you, what would your first thought be?

First thought: “AGGHHH WASPS!!” but then I immediately remember my training in hand-to-hand combat and I single-handedly take down the entire swarm of wasps. If I have a taser on me, I defeat the wasps in half the time.