'Life is short': Switch to filmmaking helped ASU graduate fall in love with college
Editor's note: The story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2023 graduates.
When Eden Noelle Prieve started her academic career at Arizona State University, she never anticipated she would be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in film from The Sidney Poitier New American Film School in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
“I wasn’t always set on film, like many of my peers,” Prieve said. “It was always an interest of mine, but it was a long journey to get to this point.”
Prieve, who grew up in the West Valley, said she loved to read and write her whole life and spent much of her free time growing up with her face buried in a book or writing in her journals.
“The arts have always held importance to me, but I never thought that I would turn my ‘hobby’ into my career,” she said. “I started college as a psychology major and enjoyed it, but didn’t feel like it was my calling. I would still spend my free time writing and starting editing together supercuts of films that I loved.”
She attended some film club meetings and said she realized she was wasting her time studying something that didn’t bring her great joy.
“When COVID hit, I realized that life is short, and I don’t want to spend my time regretting my choices,” Prieve said.
She learned more about the film school from a friend who graduated from ASU with a film degree and who said it would be a perfect fit for Prieve’s creative abilities and interest in screenwriting.
“I switched my major to filmmaking practices and fell in love with college,” Prieve said. “I had never written a screenplay before starting my schooling at ASU, and once I began, it was like I couldn’t stop.”
She said it is as if all her previous journal and creative writing led up to this decision.
“I could not be happier with my choice to switch majors,” she said, “and I truly look forward to my career ahead of me.”
Prieve will be graduating as a Moeur Award winner for maintaining a 4.0 throughout her four years at ASU and was named the Outstanding Undergraduate student for the Herberger Institute.
During her time at ASU, she also was awarded the New American University—Provost’s Award scholarship.
“Receiving this funding allowed me to experience an education that was not burdened by lifelong debt,” she said. “This is such a privileged position to be in, so I do not take it for granted.”
Prieve is the vice president and a founding member of the Women in Film club at ASU.
“Developing a club with the intention to offer a safe space for students that identify as female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ to network within has been very rewarding,” she said. “My peers and I that founded the club noticed that while there were many film clubs already on campus, none offered this unique outlet for students.”
Prieve said the club organizes three to four events per semester, sends out a bi-weekly newsletter and has developed a real sense of community,
“It has been a joy founding this club with my fellow officers, and I am so proud of the work that we have done so far,” she said. “My greatest hope is that this club will continue to grow after I graduate. I would love to see the club event attendance grow, with more student involvement and outreach to local sponsors and female-led film organizations. I want this club to reach more students that want an outlet to comfortably express themselves.”
In addition to establishing the club, one of Prieve’s proudest experiences at ASU was writing and directing her senior film, “Mother.”
The logline of the film reads: “A headstrong teenage girl and her mother’s estranged relationship is given a chance for mending after her mother wakes up one morning with a miraculous change.”
Prieve said she wanted to gain more on-set experience and build a portfolio as not only a writer but also as a director before graduating.
“I pulled together a crew to produce a 10-minute short film as my senior project,” she said. “I am very lucky to have had two incredible female producers to help me bring this project to life. I started the screenplay in an Intermediate Screenwriting course and continued developing it as the first step in my project.”
Production for the film took place in February, and the final product was just completed in April.
“I am so grateful to have had such passionate students on the project,” she said. “This film allowed me to explore my goal of lifting stories that are for women, about women, made by women. I will always feel such pride for this project and regard it as one of the most rewarding parts of my education.”
Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
Answer: I never realized how vast the film industry really is. I was worried that I was chasing a pipe dream when I decided to pursue film, but my education has opened my eyes to the opportunities within the creative field. My professors have been very motivating and have helped me grow confident in my ability to succeed in my profession. This is truly one of the most incredible aspects of the Poiter Film School staff.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: Honestly, growing up in Arizona, I knew that if I would be attending college in the state, I would go to ASU. I didn’t want to leave the sunshine of Arizona and I loved the college town surrounding ASU. There seemed to be a real sense of community, that I have learned to be very true. I was offered a great scholarship, and I just knew that it was where I wanted to be. I didn’t originally come into ASU as a film student, but learning about the film program at ASU led me to change my major. I cannot imagine that I would have explored my passion had I attended a school without such a remarkable film school. The film program has only grown since I have started, becoming The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, which fills me with such immense pride for my school.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: I have been so privileged to have had several mentors throughout my education. I have fostered great relationships with some of my favorite professors, and feel so lucky to have them in my corner, cheering me on. My first screenwriting professor, Michael Greenwald, has had such a positive impact on my education. He was one of the first people to ever nurture my goals, rather than shoot them down. I have developed so much as a writer due to his teaching and his constant reassurance that there is room in the industry for great young minds. I have continued to take courses taught by Greenwald throughout my schooling and know that these classes have informed my creative skillset.
Jason Davids Scott has also been such a force in my time at ASU. They have helped me develop my technical skills and build my confidence as a creative. I developed an individualized instruction course with them, focusing on an adapted screenplay. I had voiced to them that I desired a course that would focus on adaptation work, and rather than pushing this to the side, they developed a course with me to do just that. This is what stands out about the staff at ASU for me. They listen, and they work hard to create the educational experience that each student desires. I am very grateful for the mentorship that I have received from Scott.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you would give students?
A: The most important advice that I can give to students in a creative field is to make connections and really foster those relationships. Starting school can be really intimidating, but the arts are so collaborative that it is crucial to be constantly meeting your peers. I was nervous to get really involved in my community of filmmakers at first, but once I did, my experience at school improved significantly. This goes for making connections with professors as well. I am so grateful to have mentors that push me and believe in me, but this wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t made the effort to reach out.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: I absolutely love the new Media Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center that was built for The Sidney Poitier New American Film School. It is such an incredible space with room to create collaboratively, but also to work individually. I feel so lucky to have experienced school through this space for the past year and know that it will continue to develop after I graduate. I really feel at home at the MIX Center and love having a place where I am surrounded by students who share my same passion.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation, I plan to move to Southern California to start my journey of trying to break into the film industry! I hope to land a job that will be a first step in my drive towards a career in screenwriting.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: It is unlikely that $40 million would allow me to solve any global issues; however I would certainly attempt to make changes in the environment. I would put this money towards the global climate crisis. I am very passionate about the environment and choose to live sustainably, in the small ways that I am able to. I would love to be able to make a larger impact, and a large sum of money would allow me to do so.