Del Mar resident thriving as an independent filmmaker

By Karen Billing

In the second draft of Sue Vicory’s life, she decided to become a documentary filmmaker so that she could make films that inspire. Vicory, a Del Mar resident, is now working on her fourth documentary film. She has told stories about homelessness, the history of jazz and blues in Kansas City, and her family business. Currently, she is trying to wrap her arms around the topic of “global humanity and our individual significance and impact within it” with her ambitious new project “One.”

Del Mar independent filmmaker Sue Vicory is working on her fourth documentary film, “One.” Photo courtesy of Landon Collis

“I’m just a girl with a camera and I just stepped into this life I created for myself,” Victory said. “Everything I’ve done is such a privilege. I can’t believe it’s my life, it’s so amazing. I don’t know how else I would want to spend my time.”

Vicory moved to Del Mar from Kansas City a little over a year ago when her scientist husband had the opportunity to move to San Diego with a promotion. She said she had always felt a tug from the ocean and has found her perfect fit here, with a view of Torrey Pines State Beach out of her window.

Vicory started on her filmmaking journey 10 years ago after her youngest of two daughters went away to college. She had worked at her family’s business for 20 years and was asking herself what the second half of her life was going to be like.

The idea of being a documentary filmmaker came to her and within 30 minutes she went online and signed up for film class in New York in the fall of that year.

She started to doubt her decision as fall inched closer but was encouraged by her older daughter to just go for it.

“I went to school and became hooked on the process,” Vicory said. “I wanted to be an editor so I went to Washington, D.C. for editing school and set up an editing studio in my home.”

In a matter of nine months she had changed her entire life path; now she just needed to start making films.

Her first film was a short 10-minute film called “Homelessness and The Power of One.”

The three-year project took her to 15 different cities for documentary interviews.

She released the film right after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the film was able to raise $30,000 for local shelters. As an additional result of her first film, she started the Power of One Project, where she worked with nine inner city schools in Kansas City, taking on community service projects.

In Kansas City, there is a big jazz and blues heritage so for her next project, she spent five years created a feature-length documentary “Kansas City Jazz and Blues: Past, Present & Future.”

“The learning curve was extreme,” said Vicory of her first full-length feature film in which she went through an extensive, exhaustive post-production process with the more-than 150 hours of footage.

She completed the film in 2011 and it aired on PBS in June of that year and again in January of 2012.



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