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After graduating this past spring from the University of Virginia, where he majored in media studies and was a video producer for the school's communications department, Graham co-founded a video production company in Richmond called Sly Dog Creative. He produces a variety of projects from music and fashion videos to commercials and higher education content. He's also gearing up to host the company's inaugural Look Closer Film Festival this February in Richmond.

Learn more about Graham Barbour '17

Extracurricular Activities/Athletics at NA: Batten Leadership Program Global Health Fellows, Winter Musical, Soccer

College Graduation Year/Major or Concentration: University of Virginia ’21. Major: Media Studies. Minor: Studio Art

Extracurricular Activities/Athletics in College: Student Video Producer for UVA Today, part of the university’s communications department. News assistant at WUVA News, a student-run multimedia journalism company focused on UVA and Charlottesville.

Awards/Honors in college or professional life: Co-produced two mini-documentaries that were featured at the 2019 Virginia Film Festival and a music video for artist Kate Bollinger that premiered on The Fader.

Tell us where you work, your job title, and a brief summary or description of your organization or company: After graduating this past spring, I co-founded a video production company in Richmond called Sly Dog Creative. My partner and I were passionate about preserving our creative freedom, so we opted out of the traditional film industry route in order to continue making work that we believe in and love. Our mission is to create stunning and impactful work by collaborating with, and empowering other young filmmakers. We produce a variety of projects from music and fashion videos to commercials and higher education content. We also make short films, and are currently writing our first feature. 

Describe a bit more about your role: Given our size, I have a hand in all aspects of production, though my primary focus is cinematography. I have no formal education in filmmaking, so all of what I know is from practice, working with more experienced filmmakers, and even YouTube, which has proved an invaluable tool. Much of my job is understanding how to make movement, composition, and light work to convey the message of the project. I find it incredibly engaging, because, like any art, there is no ‘correct way,’ and no two shoots are the same.

What do you look forward to the most in your profession? In the immediate future, we’re gearing up to host our inaugural Look Closer Film Festival this February in Richmond. I’m excited to showcase the work of many talented young filmmakers, and continue to connect people within the industry. We’re thrilled to have directors Kevin Everson and Rick Alverson speak at the event. Everson is arguably one of the most important and prolific experimental filmmakers currently working. Alverson's films include Entertainment, The Comedy, and The Mountain, and have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and Locarno. In the long run, I’m looking forward to traveling more, meeting other creative-minded individuals, and making more films. 

What do you like to do in your own time/when you’re not working? Cooking with friends, exploring Richmond, and watching movies. 

How did your experience at Norfolk Academy prepare you for what you are doing today? Any favorite memories or teachers that had a big impact on you? Norfolk Academy taught me how to think critically and have confidence in myself, which is integral to my work. Dr. David Kidd’s classes in particular helped push me in that direction as he was not hesitant to challenge our arguments and make us question why we believe what we believe. Not only did his courses prepare me for college, but I think I’m generally a stronger storyteller and critical thinker for it. 

Learn more about Graham and Sly Dog Creative

This is part of a series the Norfolk Academy Development office is starting that will highlight alumni in the professional world. Know anyone to profile? Contact Development Associate Morgan Wentz '16,

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