Sophia Costanzo ’19

Sophia Constanzo recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor’s degree in Film, Television, and Theatre. During her time at the University, she served as a resident assistant in Farley Hall, joined the Women’s Club Boxing Team, and acted as a Eucharistic Minister. Sophia also served as a Team Leader for Take Ten, a skills-based conflict resolution program that provides youth and adults with positive alternatives to violence and encourages them to think before they act, building their capacity to make more informed choices when faced with a conflict.

With the help of funding from the American Dream Summer Grant Program sponsored by the University of Notre Dame, Sophia produced, filmed, directed, and edited a documentary on Cuban-American immigrant experiences in America for her thesis. The film, titled REMEMBERING CUBA, followed the story of one family and used it to trace how the experiences of Cuban immigrants have shaped their first and second generation relatives over time, looking at what it truly means to be a Cuban-American. REMEMBERING CUBA was selected for the Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2019 and the Lift-Off First Time Filmmakers 2019 film festival, which is an online festival run through Vimeo on Demand. In addition, her short screenplay BEATRICE won first place in The Golden Script Competition, an international writing contest.

While at Notre Dame, Sophia was the winner of the Broad Avenue Filmmakers Award, presented each year to a graduating senior for the best work in film production. Sophia is currently pursuing an MFA in Film and Television Production from Loyola Marymount University.

Mary Pergola Parent ’86

Mary Parent comes from a filmmaker lineage and grew up in the Television and Film Industry. Her grandfather, Vincent “Jimmy” Pergola, traveled the world as a Fox Movietone & British Pathe’ News newsreel cameraman. Mary watched and learned from her father, Director of Photography James C. Pergola, A.S.C. She spent her childhood on the movie sets of major motion pictures, Emmy Award winning television specials, and classic TV shows like Flipper and Baywatch. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1986 with a degree in Communication and Theatre, Mary worked on numerous films, television pilots, and commercials.

In 1989, she embraced television journalism and joined both the production and news teams of CBS affiliate WCSC-TV. During her years in television news production, she worked as Director of Public Service Productions, Production Coordinator, and Audio Director. As On-Air talent and Film Critic, Mary enjoyed producing her unique vox populi Movie Reviews for many years. In 1990, Mary was honored to be part of the WCSC-TV Production and News teams that won the George Foster Peabody Award for their coverage of Hurricane Hugo.

Intrigued by stories of justice and injustice, Mary decided to pursue a law degree. After earning her Juris Doctorate, she continued her legal education and earned an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law. Her focus is on jurisprudential themes in films and various media platforms; documentaries that tackle social justice issues; Civil Rights, and International Human Rights Law.

Mary is dedicated to supporting students in their journey as filmmakers. She has established two Endowments at the University of Notre Dame to benefit the student filmmakers in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre: The Broad Avenue Filmmakers Award and the Mary Pergola Parent and Dr. Thomas Parent Endowment for Excellence in Filmmaking.

Christine Swanson ’94

Multiple award-winning filmmaker Christine Swanson earned her MFA in Film from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, one of the nation’s top-ranked graduate film programs. Recognized early as a talented filmmaker, Christine was selected by NYU faculty as the Willard T.C. Johnson Fellow, the most prestigious fellowship given to the student who has achieved high standards in his or her work. Christine earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame double majoring in Communications and Japanese and was chosen by its Alumni Association as The Rev. Arthur S. Harvey Award recipient acknowledging her achievements in the arts.

Christine has developed, written and/or directed movie projects for various companies including HBO Films, Magnolia Pictures, State Street Pictures, TV One and Faith Filmworks, her own independent film company. Christine has written and/or directed numerous award-winning feature films, commercials and short films in her career. Some of her award-winning titles include, Two Seasons (winner HBO Short Film Competition, Sundance selection), All About You (winner Audience Choice Award Chicago International Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize Hollywood Black Film Festival, Festival Award at the Pan African Film Festival and the Film of the Year Award at The Santa Barbara African Heritage Film Series) starring Renee Elise Goldsberry, Terron Brooks and Debbie Allen; All About Us (invited to the prestigious Heartland Film Festival, The Chicago International Film Festival and the Cannes Festival du Film Panafricain) starring Boris Kodjoe, Ryan Bathe and Ruby Dee; and Woman Thou Art Loosed (Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Blockbuster Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the American Black Film Festival) starring Kimberly Elise and Loretta Devine.

In December 2015, Christine received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Television Motion Picture for For the Love of Ruth. Also in 2015, Christine directed three original cable movie premieres for TV One entitled, To Hell and Back, For the Love of Ruth, and Come Share My Love, The Miki Howard Story.

Christine currently has numerous projects in development, including the feature film version of her highly celebrated short film, Two Seasons. Christine is also a professor at the MFA Screenwriting Program at the University of Georgia as well an advisor to the Film and Television program at the University of Notre Dame. Christine resides in Los Angeles with her husband, studio executive Michael Swanson ’93, and their four children.