Cinema Student Finds Way to ‘Make a Real Impact’

Caroline Knight works with friend and mentor Chad McClarnon, who helped her produce “Still Sophie.”

Caroline Knight, a graduating senior in cinema studies, is an award-winning filmmaker whose latest project is now being shown at film festivals around the country.

Knight is among more than 1,400 UT undergraduates participating in research or creative activities that help them apply what they’re learning in the classroom and prepare them for graduate school or a future career. Between 2015 and 2016 UT more than doubled the number of undergraduates involved in research or creative achievement and saw an 87 percent increase in the number of faculty serving as mentors.

UT’s eighth-annual Research Week is now underway and a full list of activities is available online.

A Nashville native, Knight has loved film and photography since she was a kid. At UT, she’s been mentored by Associate Professor Paul Harrill, who is an award-winning filmmaker himself.

Knight’s latest project, “Still Sophie”—the amazing story of Sophie Salveson, a young woman who sustained a brain injury that left her unable to speak but still able to sing—is currently being screened at festivals around the United States.

“From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to make a real impact with my work,” Knight said.

That desire intensified last summer when Knight worked for New York-based HealthiNation, a health and lifestyle website that produces videos about people who live with and are advocates for chronic health conditions.

“Still Sophie” came about after Knight received a grant from UT grad Scott Galloway, director of the 100 Words Film Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina, to make a film that would benefit a nonprofit organization. She chose the National Aphasia Association because she wanted to make a film about Salveson.

“I met Sophie because my mother is her speech therapist,” Knight said.

“Still Sophie” premiered at the 100 Words Film Festival last fall. Afterward Salveson performed “Ain’t Misbehavin” for the festival audience.

The film won the best documentary award at the Red Dirt Film Festival in March. It has been screened at the Vail Film Festival and the River Bend Film Festival. The screenings continue this spring at the Columbus International Film Festival, the Nashville Film Festival, the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Emerge Film Festival of Maine.

After graduating, Knight will move to New York to work for HealthiNation.

CONTACT:

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)