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Rachel Bujalski


Education isn’t one size fits all. Because of her nuanced eye and ability to intimately embed with her subjects, the Lumina Foundation chose Rachel Bujalski to document the inspiring stories of five nontraditional students. Rachel’s lens has eloquently captured the struggles and triumphs of today's marginalized populations on behalf of publications such as National Geographic, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and more.


The students in this film are facing numerous challenges on their path to education. Rachel talks to Karen, an undocumented LBGQT student who is supporting her immigrant family as she pursues her nursing degree. We also meet Zaq, a student living out of his car; Okello, a Sudanese refugee trying to build a better life for his children; Miguel, a cancer survivor; and Denia, a Native American student who is pursuing a degree in psychology to heal the trauma in her community. Rachel also reveals how her own “nonlinear” education helped her connect with her subjects. 


We were able to provide a unique follow-up on each student, thanks to the investment by the Lumina Foundation in their stories. The documentary is a heartfelt exploration of the uplifting power of education and how nontraditional stories can inspire students of all backgrounds.


Co-Director: Justin Lewis
Co-Director/Executive Producer: Samantha Harmon

Director of Photography: Sashwa Burrous
Special Cam Op/Audio: Timothy Real
Production Assistant: Leah Ingra

Agency:  Well Done Marketing

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