Julia Marchesi '98 returned to Hopkins on Friday, October 25, 2019 as the School's Fall Alumni Fellow. Marchesi spoke at an all-school assembly about her work as a documentary film and television producer, highlighting recent projects, including the Grammy-nominated PBS series, "Soundbreaking," and "America: Reconstruction After the Civil War," hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Marchesi shared that she’d never planned to be a filmmaker in her Hopkins days, but a summer internship at a film studio opened her eyes to the world of documentary production. Regarding her current work, she said that the process of research, writing and developing how to tell each story is the most exciting part of any film project she undertakes. She urged students to seek out a career in which the process of the work is the most meaningful, rather than the title or end result.
Following assembly, Marchesi engaged with students at a breakfast Q&A in the Weissman Room. Students asked questions about her experience as a woman in the film industry, and how she tackled telling the story of Reconstruction as a white person. She responded that Reconstruction is not only a part of Black history, but also of U.S. history -- an often overlooked story that needs to be told. Marchesi spent the remainder of the morning in classes, including AP US History as well as Human Rights and the Politics of Music. In Mr. Melchinger's Fundamentals of Video Production course, students presented draft film projects and benefited from Marchesi's expertise and feedback.
Marchesi recently completed co-directing a biographical documentary about Mae West, and is currently producing and hosting a true-crime podcast series, Witch Hunt, which will launch in 2020.