Dressed in maroon corduroys cuffed at the ankle, strappy suede sandals and an oversized sweater, Emily Hochman ’15 exudes the aura of an artist—as she rightly should. Hochman spent the summer living in rustic Canada as an artist-in-residence on Kent Island, a research outpost owned by the College. 

While most people go to Kent Island to pursue biology research, Hochman, set out to film a documentary. 

Hochman observed several other Bowdoin students doing field research projects based out of the Kent Island facility.  She is working this semester on an independent study with Sarah Childress, visiting assistant professor in film studies, to compile the footage she collected. 

“I wanted to know what it really takes to do research. I really wanted to give the proper place for everyone to appreciate all the dedication that those kids put into their work,” she said. 
These science projects “usually draw upon the natural beauty of the space,” she explained. 

“It’s a really beautiful and dramatic place to be,” she said.

Because Hochman isn’t scientifically inclined herself, some of these intense field biology projects seemed “very intimidating.” As a Romance Language major with an interest in film, Hochman doesn’t often study the effects of paralytic shellfish toxins like sophomore Sara Hamilton did on the island this summer. But that, in part, is why Hochman decided to take up this opportunity. 

“I want people to connect to the subject,” said Hochman. “I want people who really don’t like science to view [science like this] as accessible.”

Hochman picked documentary as a medium to create cross-subject connections.

“Seeing someone’s face up close is a really tangible and easy way for people to connect to the subject,” she explained.

Originally, Hochman had a multimedia project in mind, combining drawing, creative writing and video art, inspired by a Spanish film class she was taking. 

“But that ended up being too big of an endeavor,” Hochman said. 
For Hochman, this film isn’t just about completing her independent study. Hochman’s real goal is “to show-case the work that [the science students] put in [to their projects]...because it’s really impressive.”

Equally impressive, however, was Hochman’s eagnerness to throw herself into a medium with which she had no experience. 

“This is my first time,” Hochman noted. “I’ve been involved with film studies, but never the actual application.” 

At the end of the semester, Hochman will show a completed documentary to students. 
Hochman describes her stay at Kent Island as “wholesome fun,” a two-month stretch spent swimming, living in a “bare-bones” cabin on the water, and being inspired by the fellow artists and scientists living with her. 

“I would definitely go back,” she said. “I really want to visit as soon as possible. Like this fall.” 
At the moment, Hochman is cutting her footage and preparing her movie. Despite the long way she has to go before the end of the semester, she’s considering “In the Field” as a title for the project.

While Hochman doesn’t have concrete plans for her future in the documentary arts, she hopes to continue pursuing film while at Bowdoin.