Senior anthropology major bound for documentary film program

Xavier Cousens ‘17 has big plans after graduation: entering the News and Documentary masters program at New York University to get hands-on experience making films. The three-semester program is housed within NYU’s journalism department.

Cousens sees documentary filmmaking as a natural extension of his training in anthropology. “I want to make films that show how complicated people are, and I think anthropologists bring a valuable perspective in trying to understand individuals and how they interact with their environment and their culture,” he says. “If I didn’t want to make films for a living, I would try to pursue anthropology in an academic setting.”

The program at NYU appealed to Cousens for its location, its acclaimed faculty and its cosmopolitan students, many of whom come from abroad. “If you’re going to tell stories about people, especially in other areas of the world, you want a learning environment where people from other countries bring different perspectives, different ideas and different stories that you may not have thought of before,” he says.

In the future Cousens hopes to set up his own film production company and make long-form documentaries about issues he first encountered during a semester in Morocco.