Bliss Holloway (International Relations, 2004)

After completing his degree in International Relations at AUR in 2004, cinematographer Bliss Holloway studied at the Scuola di Cinema in Rome and worked as a Production Assistant for CNN International. In 2006 he moved to New York City and attended the New York Film Academy. Initially working as a Gaffer and Grip on independent film and commercial productions, his first big break came in 2008, when he traveled to India to shoot the first digital feature film ever shot in Hyderabad, one of India’s major film hubs.

Bliss’ cinematography experience ranges from Narrative to Documentary to Commercial, and his clients have included National Geographic, Adult Swim, NPR, PBS, Red Bull, Harley- Davidson, Foot Locker, as well as many independent directors and producers. Bliss recently moved from New York City to Seattle, Washington with his wife, Julia. Their fist son, Roman Joel Holloway, was born on August 23rd, 2015.

“As a cinematographer, I draw on a broad range of knowledge and expertise to perform at the highest level. Sometimes this means some technical tidbit about a particular camera or light I am using. More often than not, however, I find that my broader life experience is the most relevant arsenal I have to draw on when solving a problem or working to accomplish my artistic goals. These could be skills associated with language, diplomacy, cultural understanding, logistics, team organization, or any number of other fields which wouldn’t normally be associated with filmmaking. As such, my experience at The American University of Rome provided the fundamental basis for my approach to my work as an adult. The experience and skills I obtained there have contributed to every aspect of my life that came after.

“I graduated from AUR with a B.A. in International Relations in 2004. As an American who spent half of his life living in Germany, the international community that comprises the fabric of AUR’s student, staff and faculty was the perfect fit for me. At AUR I was pushed to learn my third language, apply myself as a student, and take on leadership roles within the AUR Student Government. Through a close relationship with Professor Walston (then head of the International Relations Department), I found my academic love of politics and history, and was also mentored to develop my skills as an organizer, laying the groundwork for study-abroad trips to Ghana and Kosovo. I studied anthropology with Professor Thomassen, learning about cultural development and the context of traditions. With Professor Patania, I studied the business of politics, the organization of multi-nationals, and many ‘real world’ applications for the theories that I learned.

“As a filmmaker I’ve had opportunities to travel and work in some of the most interesting places in the world. I’ve shot films and documentaries in India, Cuba, Kosovo, Central and South America, West Africa, and all over Europe and the United States. As a cinematographer, it is my job to organize a team of professionals to execute the job prescribed by the script, director and producer, and to ensure that the picture looks as good as it possibly can. It takes organization, cooperation, and tons of hard work, but often there are also other obstacles. There may be language and cultural barriers, as well as inflated egos and personal gripes to overcome. Any given day my job may involve logistical mishaps or technical hurdles as well. My ability to execute the job is supported by every classroom lesson and life skill I learned as a student at AUR. As a basis for my oft scattered and constantly shifting professional targets, my experience at The American University of Rome gave me the confidence and the skill set to achieve the many lofty goals I set for myself professionally and artistically.”