Arts & Culture

SMCC Student, Elora Griswold Completes Her Documentary

By: Felicia Blackstone

The CNMS program at SMCC pushes students to go above and beyond to kickstart their careers. One student in particular, Elora Griswold, has been completing a documentary film. Griswold is in her last semester at SMCC majoring in communications. She enjoys creating documentary films, primarily. Griswold’s film is the only documentary featured in SMCC’s upcoming 2023 Maine Mayhem Film Festival. The CNMS department helps provide cameras, lighting supplies, and other materials to Griswold and her team. In her more recent film “The City of Servers” Griswold gets feedback from a number of community members.

“The City of Servers” focuses on the foodie side of Portland and its point of view is from the server’s perspective. Griswold asks questions on Instagram in order to hear feedback from people working in the food industry in the Portland area. She explains how it helps inform what she’d like to express in her film, that she wants the public to hear from a wide range of voices. The restaurant industry can frequently put profitmaking over the overall good of businesses. Griswold was a barista, so she has a bit of background knowledge regarding the restaurant industry’s overall structure. 

Many wait staff relies on tips for their main wages due to the hourly being so low. Sometimes even giving the best service to the public doesn’t matter. If they don’t feel like tipping well or don’t feel like tipping at all it’s out of the server’s hands. 

“I simply do not want to live in a world where it’s acceptable for a customer or manager to criticize an employee over “poor service,” meanwhile that employee cannot pay their ever-increasing rents or afford the parking and towing costs that come with living in downtown Portland. I also thought investigating this topic would help me develop my journalism and networking skills.” *

Griswold plans to continue making documentary films and become an investigative journalist who works through documentary film or photojournalism. She feels inspired by this line of work and believes that SMCC offers an amazing program to allow students to be a part of the “real world” of journalism. 

“The film world can be a beautiful but brutal place, and the reality is your success as a filmmaker will come down to your ability to market yourself and find meaningful connections in the people and places around you.”

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