Alum Jumps into Film Career
Alum Jumps into Film Career
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
That’s an attitude that has served Stacy Heatherly well in her life. It’s led the 1997 graduate of Bellevue University from work on several Alexander Payne’s films to her own documentary film organization.
Heatherly is president of Digg Site Productions, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Fremont, Nebraska, dedicated to educating the public through documentary film and to providing an accredited documentary workshop for high school students of diverse backgrounds and needs.
“We want to give students opportunities to experiment, grow, use their imaginations, and share their perspectives with their families and community,” Heatherly said.
In addition to her role with Digg Site, Heatherly is the Eastern Nebraska Film Commissioner. She helps facilitate film production in the eastern part of the state.
“As the Eastern Nebraska Film Commissioner, I have utilized (Nebraska State) Senator Colby Coash's LB863, which allows communities like Fremont the opportunity to utilize LB840 funds to incent film to the area,” Heatherly explained. “I have assisted the City of Fremont by developing a film packet which includes a film permit and film guidelines as well as an application specific to the film productions to seek a grant through the LB840 to reimburse for local spending.”
Heatherly got her start in film working on the 1995 comedy To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.
“It filmed in Lincoln and Omaha. I was asked to fill in for a friend as a hair and makeup artist while she took her finals at another University. When she came back they kept us both on,” Heatherly said.
“It was the experience of a lifetime. I was green and knew little about the industry. He gave me a chance. It was a little piece of heaven with a lot of stars! It was difficult at times, because I was learning, but I wouldn't do a thing differently,” Heatherly said of her Ruth experience. “Alexander is a kind man. He is genuine and honest. To work with him on several of his films has been a privilege. I imagine in 20 years the people who have worked for him including myself will look back and know they worked for an icon.”
While the glamour of a Hollywood production has a certain appeal, math doesn’t hold quite the same attraction. Heatherly was a bit intimidated by the subject when she first started her college experience at Bellevue University.
“One story I have shared over the years to struggling college students and even high school students who don't think college is for them is this one; I was horrible at math,” she said. “I barely survived high school math and was terrified about taking a college math class. I walked into my first math 101 so frightened. I opened my book and the professor began teaching. He started writing equations on the board and taught them in a way I understood for the first time in my life. I got a B in that class. It was the setting for my entire experience at the University.”
Heatherly survived her math class and went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management with a minor in Psychology.
“I came away knowing that there is a University that cares about people. They care about your future and they prove that by hiring the best of the best to teach people of all ages and backgrounds,” she said. “I came away with courage and confidence, knowing that if I was dedicated there would continue to be support throughout my life. It strengthened my belief in pay it forward.”
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