Go to Content
Columbia College Chicago

Filmmaker Illustrator Designs Flight Concept

CA+S MFA Candidate Robert-Carnilius Cogdell who is pursuing an MFA in Writing and Directing was one of three finalists vying for votes as Creative Director of Columbia College's 2014 Manifest Urban Arts Festival.

Cogdell believes that "as an independent filmmaker and a student filmmaker, it is critical that we branch out and have other skills in our careers to help us succeed." For some, that's being business savvy and for others it's knowing the ins and out of self-promotion and social media. "All together, these skills help us remain well-rounded filmmakers and more viable to ourselves and others," shares Cogdell. His skill set outside of filmmaking lies in illustration and graphic design.

As an undergraduate, Cogdell majored in mass media communication arts with a double minor in film studies and art—mainly branding, graphic design, and illustration. For a long time he struggled because he loved both graphic design + illustration and filmmaking. Ultimately, he chose to pursue filmmaking because he felt he could marry his skills together. As a graphic designer + illustrator, he has been able to network with other filmmakers and design film branding for press kits and posters. Not only does it help keep his skills fresh, but it also provides work within film, but outside of actual filmmaking.

Cogdell is a finalist in the running for Creative Director of the 2014 Manifest Urban Arts Festival. He chose to apply for the position not only because it would be a great opportunity, but because he loves design, and is connected to the theme of flight. As a gay Black male growing up in a society where your skin color and features determine your beauty and where both your race and sexuality is often used to punish you or undermine your sense of self-worth, art was both his escape and fuel. While his films were dramas dealing with social issues, his illustrations and graphic designs are whimsical and light. With the Manifest theme of flight, he found a way to convey a sense of breaking free from convention and self-doubt, by taking flight with ideas and creations. The Art Deco inspired design he created for Manifest is layered and heavy, but also easily approachable and fun.

As Creative Director, the opportunity will propel him showing off his many sides and many approaches to different projects and themes that are entertaining, but meaningful. As a student, Cogdell says "depth is critical in our work because often you can have a pretty design or film, but if it lacks meaning then it's simply another pretty thing to look at."

"Filmmaking and graphic design + illustration are skills that compliment each other and when paired with a meaningful theme and goal, will help me succeed beyond the status quo," says Cogdell.  It's his goal to inspire other filmmakers to utilize skills outside of filmmaking and find ways to compliment what Columbia College is teaching and to go beyond the surface and reveal something not only pretty, but meaningful.

View and vote for Robert-Carnilius Cogdell as the Manifest Urban Arts Festival Creative Director by December 1, 2013 clicking here.