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For Megan Hollenbeck, life after college is full of possibilities.

"There's nothing I don't want to do," she said. "It's just a matter of doing it."

A 2010 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Ms. Hollenbeck, 24, describes herself as a "multifaceted person."

"I'm a filmmaker. I'm an activist. I'm an organizer. I'm involved in the community. I'm a writer," she said. "That might not pay the bills, but I've never seen myself as the type of person who needed to pay the bills."

On July 19, Ms. Hollenbeck will travel to Haiti with Epple Seeds Art Institute, an organization that works with Haitian artisans and provides "transformational travel" opportunities for North Americans to be immersed in Haitian culture, to produce a video documentary.


Q Tell us about what you'll be doing in Haiti.

A An acquaintance, Jeff Rogers ... started Epple Seeds Art, and he approached me, knowing from Facebook that I do a lot of video work and asked if I were interested in coming to Haiti and shooting a documentary about Haitian artists and about the immersion of the transformational travel participants in the Haitian culture.

Q What led to documentary filmmaking as your mode of expression?

A Growing up, I always loved people stories. I've immersed myself in movies. One of my first favorite films was "On the Waterfront," which is a story of a man standing up against everything he's told not to do.

Three (documentarians) I love are Maya Deren, Werner Herzog and Barbara Kopple. Maya Deren was famous for saying "I spend as much to make a movie as Hollywood does on a tube of lipstick." Werner Herzog is perhaps my favorite filmmaker of all time. In his movie "Fitzcarraldo," a man takes a boat over a mountain, and my friends always joke "there's Megan, taking her boat over the mountain." Barbara Kopple created a documentary, "Harlan County, USA," about a coal-mining strike. As someone who is a low-budget filmmaker with big aspirations, I keep in the back of my head those three filmmakers and what they were able to accomplish. I want to tell an incredible story.

Q Do you think about leaving Chattanooga to pursue a film career elsewhere?

A The only things that are shot in L.A. anymore are porn and reality shows. There's so much being done locally; there's so much grassroots movement in local. It's always been important to me to work on a local level, because that's the way you're going to enact national change. Recently a few friends and I started a group called Chattanooga Organized for Action. We link together many organizations, from the Green Party to the Tea Party, Republicans to Democrats, independents, all sorts of people. I am too knee deep in this city now to get up and leave. I've worked on projects in other places, but there are so many interesting stories here. ... I know people locally, I've lived here. There is no choice but to stay here.

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