Catalina Jordan Alvarez grew up in rural Tennessee with a Colombian mother and an American father. Her narratives explore the cultural and composed movements of bodies across social and geographical boundaries. Her films have screened at festivals including New Orleans, Los Angeles, Slamdance, Fantastic Fest, Edinburgh Short, Oxford, and Palm Springs. She is a recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Flaherty Seminar, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Flux Factory and the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Alvarez approaches teaching as another facet of her art practice. In her intermediate video production intensive, students conduct documentary research in order to shoot their own fictional narrative. This approach connects the class with members of the community and grounds their fictions in historical specificity. Her fall 2018 class studied the Antioch Program for Interracial Education (1964-1969) and later produced a film about a group of female black students who created systemic change at Antioch by lobbying for the creation of the Afro-American Studies Institute. In her course, “Choreographed Films and Experimental Musicals,” students study the history of the musical alongside formal experimentation in contemporary art as inspiration for their weekly assignments. Her syllabus functions as a script with room for interpretation—she asks students to use techniques she is currently developing, and they adapt these to their own creative visions. Alvarez also teaches solid technical grounding: cinematography and composition, shutter speeds and apertures, as well as fundamentals of recording and mixing sound. Students review the rules of continuity editing and use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit, create titles, and color grade. In her senior projects course, students learn to operate specialized equipment and subsequently integrate these tools in their own projects.