Alum Wins Film Prize
When Angelica Kalika (MA ’12) read a recent e-mail announcing winners of the Colorado Film Festival’s 2013 awards, she was shocked — her name was on it. The Aurora, Colo. native had entered the film she produced for her master’s thesis project, “No More Tummy Aches For Stephen,” in the contest. She didn’t think she had a chance against professional filmmakers.
She was wrong. Her mini-documentary about 12-year old Stephen Jerger’s struggle with Asperger’s Syndrome won the festival’s prize for Best Documentary Directing.
Kalika’s film chronicles Stephen’s transition from a public school, where he was bullied so much he suffered debilitating stomach aches, to his dramatic improvement at Boulder’s Temple Grandin School, which specializes in teaching children with the syndrome.
Kalika followed Stephen and his family around for an entire summer, with access to his home and school life. The Jergers reflected candidly on Stephen’s life before Temple Grandin and happily explained the leaps he took in just one year there.
Within Stephen’s story, Kalika examines the autism spectrum and common misdiagnoses, such as Attention Deficit Disorder and anxiety issues, that doctors frequently deliver to children like him.
Telling Stephen’s story was fulfilling, Kalika said. “It was one of the most rewarding experiences, just to be able to get out there and film — to tell their story,” she said.
The Colorado Film Festival receives hundreds of submissions each year and recognizes outstanding achievement in acting, directing, screenwriting, animation and editing.
Kalika works in social media for The Climate Reality Project and is currently working on a radio project about Colorado flooding. She plans to make her next film documentary about fracking in the energy industry.
By Kate Gibbons (MA ’14)