ASU film grad pursues creative dreams in LA

A student poses in front of a film camera with a clap board

Lulu Ruiz, graduating this spring with a BFA in film and media production, was inspired by their experience in the Semester in L.A. program.


Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Lulu Ruiz has always been a little bit punk. The Arizona native grew up in Gilbert, Arizona, a creative kid with a passion for art and music, creating collages, paintings and zines.

Now, The Sidney Poitier New American Film School student is poised to graduate this spring with a BFA in film and media production, as well as the tools and social network to turn theirRuiz uses they/them pronouns. artistic passions into a creative career.

According to Ruiz, college took some acclimation. But, “after my first semester I grew to appreciate all of the amenities we were offered as students,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz also became involved in student film organizations, including the Association of Filmmakers (for which they served on the board), Scriptless and Maroon and Gold Entertainment. It was a great way to meet fellow film fanatics, Ruiz said.

But one of their most profound experiences was their time in the school’s Semester in L.A. study abroad program, which allowed Ruiz and other Poitier Film School students to learn their craft and network in the heart of the entertainment industry under the tutelage of deputy director Peter Murrieta.

The Poitier Film School is expanding its L.A. programs and will begin welcoming first-year students in film and media production in addition to the MA in narrative and emerging media and BA in film (filmmaking practices) already offered in LA.

“(The) semester in L.A. was really impactful,” Ruiz said. “I have met so many people from different film schools here.”

Ruiz has already gotten their Arizona certification to work as a freelance production assistant and is hatching plans to move to LA in 2025.

“I love punk music, so I’m very invested and passionate about supporting the community and helping local bands gain more attraction,” Ruiz said.

We caught up with Ruiz to ask them about their time at ASU and what’s in store for the future, professionally and creatively.

Question: What made you want to pursue a film degree?

Answer: I remember always loving film. My parents and I would go to the movies all the time when I was a kid. I also had a huge VHS collection, so there were always movies playing in my house. The specific moment I decided to major in film was after the pandemic. I was going to community college, and I realized I constantly wanted to make something. I would leave my house on my skateboard and film everything, then go back and make some crazy, campy story, and do it all again. I realized I wanted my life to be film and I wanted to create something crazy and unique that catered to people like me.

Q: Is there a particular professor who really made an impact on you?

A: I think the professor that has impacted me the most is Peter Murrieta. His screenwriting class honestly was one of the most insightful classes I’ve ever taken. Murrieta gave me so much advice on how to develop a story and how to tie everything together really well. He is also one of the coolest professors I’ve ever met!

Q. Talk about your experience in the Semester in L.A. program. Is there a particular experience, event, film project, etc., that made a lasting impression? 

A: I took a documentary course taught by Richard Perez and it inspired me to go out into the L.A. punk scene and film small promos for local bands and find some subjects for a future documentary project. I was also able to go to so many industry events where I got to meet directors like Mimi Cave, Lulu Wang, Karyn Kusama, the costume designer for “Poor Things,” see Lily Gladstone up close in a panel, and even go to L.A. premiere screenings for “Lisa Frankenstein,” where I met the cast and writer Diablo Cody, and a screening for “Monkey Man” directed by Dev Patel.

Q. Have you had or will you have an internship, and if so, where?

A: During my time in the Semester in L.A. program, I interned at a production company called Gold Pictures. My boss was writer/director/producer Jenni Gold, and I loved working with her and on the projects she would assign me. It made me passionate about wanting to see more films portraying characters with disabilities played by actors with disabilities.

Q: What are your plans for after graduation?

A: My plan after graduation is to work in-state as a freelance PA and look for an internship at an editing house or production company. Then after a year of saving, I plan to move to Los Angeles, where I can continue working with local bands.

Q: If someone gave you a blank check to fund your dream film project, what would it be?

A: If someone were to completely fund a project of my choice, it would have to be a feature-length script I've been developing. I don’t want to say too much, but it would be a campy, crazy slice-of-life film that follows a Mexican American girl and a crazy event in her life. It would be a story with a lot of Catholic imagery in Mexican culture in a silly, campy way. It would be glamorous, colorful and heavily stylized! I think that’s one I’m very excited about.

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