In the winter of 2007, Andrea Palombella, 28, graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in international film and media studies; upon graduation, she knew she was passionate about two things: social justice and documentary filmmaking.
“When I studied abroad in Rome, I took a film course on neo-realism in Italy,” Palombella said. “And I thought, ‘What if we made films like this in America and really focused on real issues?’”
Since January 2011, she has been working as a producer at Video/Action, a nonprofit production company in Washington, D.C. that produces documentary-style programming on social justice issues.
“Our current project is for the Office for Victims of Crime,” Palombella said. “We’re doing an eight chapter series of seven minute shorts, each targeted to a specific audience that comes across children who have been exposed to violence.”
The multi-chapter project addresses experts such as child advocacy centers, therapists and educators, but the project is also available to the general public.
With Video/Action, Palombella produced the 2012 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week theme video for the Office for Victims of Crime. For the International Association of Chiefs of Police, she produced “Service, Support and Justice,” an awareness and training project for law enforcement officers—from patrol officers to head leadership of departments—on victim-centered service.
Palombella landed her current job through a connection she made as a Loyola student with Loyola Communication Professor Elizabeth Coffman.
“I was getting started on justice-related independent projects so Coffman told me to come to a luncheon and meet a woman whose work is all about social justice,” Palombella said. “So I went and it was my current boss. . . . Two years later, I got in touch with her for a project I was working on. She said she was looking for someone, so now here I am.”
Before producing with Video/Action, Palombella worked in Chicago at MATTER, Edelman Sports and Entertainment Marketing, where she crafted media concepts for around 20 new business pitches, wrote a branded online video series and conducted traditional public relations services.
In 2008, she co-founded Traffick Free, an organization that works to combat all forms of human trafficking.
“The exposure to justice that I had at Loyola influenced my personal outlook,” Palombella said. “It made me want to be conscious of how I live, whether it’s appreciating other cultures or helping people.”
Throughout her career, Palombella has written, directed and produced films for an array of non-profit organizations such as Invisible Conflicts, Traffick Free and A Better Life for Kids.
“I knew what I was passionate about but I had no idea what road to take to get there,” Palombella said. “My journey was a little roundabout with doing marketing first and getting back around to film. It’s great to now be where I was passionate about going. As long as you’re doing something you enjoy, that’s the only thing that matters.”
Link to Palombella’s video “Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma,” created for the Office for Victims of Crime: http://www.ovc.gov/pubs/ThroughOurEyes/index.html