Film students make documentary with Nobel Peace Prize participant in Chicago

Canyon Crest Academy film students Melanie An and Timothy Zhang made a special trip to Chicago, Ill., to shoot a documentary. The project focused on the topic of space and Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, chairman of New Generation Power and a 2017 Nobel Peace Prize participant. He was the founding director of MirCorp, the world’s first commercial enterprise to privately launch and fund manned space programs-- putting the first civilian into space.

Kathuria describes himself as a serial entrepreneur and social innovator, especially with the millennials. He has been a featured speaker for multiple Ted Talks across the country and is a firm believer that today’s youth will be tomorrow’s leaders, igniting the way to further space travel and exploration. He states, “I believe from the aerospace perspective, if we can develop passenger and cargo drones, space planes and hypersonic gliders that can go from the United States to Europe and Asia in a matter of minutes then we will be bringing the whole world closer together.” The Chicago resident holds five degrees, including a Bachelor of Science and medical degree from Brown University, as well as a master’s degree from Stanford University.

Melanie shared her film goal, stating her fascination with space and how she wanted to showcase Kathuria and elaborate on the topic of accessible and futuristic travel into space. She said, “I absolutely love space, I see space travel as a means for humans to be amongst the stars they've stared at, created stories for, and loved all of their lives. I believe we are living in a new age where cutting-edge technology meets maximum creativity because I see it all around me. As a filmmaker I want to spotlight and shine a continuous light on this important topic.” Additionally, Melanie shares how important it is to her to pave the way for more female film directors given the recent gender movements and public outcries in Hollywood within the film industry.

Both students are familiar with top-tier film production. They were among the team of CCA cinema students who had films showcased at the All American High School Film Festival held in New York City last fall. The documentary will be shown at various student film festivals across the country and entered into multiple film competitions.

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