This story is the second installment of a four-part series created in partnership with Hoodox. Indy Maven is proud to be a sponsor of Hoodox’s Women Filmmakers Collection, featuring films directed and/or produced by women.
Learning other people’s stories often acts as a distraction to our inner monologues. Filmmaker Carmen Vincent discovered this early on — as a child, listening to other people’s stories acted as a refuge from the anxious thoughts filling her head due to what she now recognizes as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Taking a deep look into people’s lives sparked intense curiosity. Each time she found common ground between people’s stories, learned more about a commonly misunderstood narrative, or discovered something new about the human experience, she felt less alone, and less consumed by the disorder that she hadn’t yet identified a name for.
Between her curiosity, her family’s affinity for movies and TV shows, and her love for creative storytelling, she worked her way through poetry, short stories, and novels. While in college, Carmen had a video internship in Palestine. While she learned so much doing the work for this internship, she learned even more by meeting local residents. Carmen said, “Hearing their stories made me realize that there are real people’s stories out in the world that I need to tell.”
Her artistic passions, combined with her desire to tell the stories of others, ultimately led to her documentary filmmaking.
As soon as she landed back in the U.S., Carmen started shooting her first short documentary, “I’m Transgender,” about a fellow intern’s gender transition experience.
As an ambassador for The D-Word, an online network of documentary filmmakers, Vincent happened to meet a fellow Hoosier filmmaker named Mitchell Teplitsky. Teplitsky introduced Carmen to Hoodox, which is a video streaming platform featuring exclusively nonfiction, Indiana-focused content. Shortly after, Carmen and the Hoodox team were signing a licensing deal to have “I’m Transgender” and another film of hers, “Take Life As It Comes,” on Hoodox’s platform.
Carmen shared that Hoodox offers immense value to the Hoosier community, with platforms like Hoodox being among the reasons she’s proud to say she is an Indiana filmmaker. She explained:
“Truly, I couldn’t have had a better experience with the Hoodox team. It’s clear that they deeply care about uplifting Hoosier filmmakers, and as a Hoosier filmmaker, I couldn’t be more grateful for them. It gives me another reason to tell people when they ask why I’m in Indiana versus New York or Los Angeles. Not only do we have really important stories to tell here in Indiana, but we have our own streaming platform for Hoosier filmmakers that proves that Indiana film is growing and thriving.”
For the past two years, Vincent has been working on a documentary called “Teacher of Patience,” which is about an Indiana family’s efforts to educate first responders about disability. Vincent and the rest of the team behind the film just finished post-production and are currently submitting it to film festivals worldwide.
The Felters — the family featured in the film — were vulnerable and showed the camera the multidimensionality and complexity in each of their characters, and Carmen can’t wait for the world to meet them. One of her favorite quotes from the film comes from father and paramedic Tom Felter, who said, “If you’ve met one person with Down syndrome, you’ve met one person with Down syndrome. Everyone is different. Normal being a relative term; we all have normal. Your normal is not our normal. From that aspect, we’re all the same … This is normal, this is us.”
People can support “Teacher of Patience” by checking out the film’s website and sharing it, and with tax-deductible donations. The film’s team is fundraising to get the film in front of as many first responders as possible, with a special focus on Indiana programs.
As an ambitious small-town Hoosier, Carmen’s goal is to start a production company in Northwest Indiana to serve as a hub for creatives in the Midwest who can’t afford to — or simply don’t want to — make their way to New York or Los Angeles. While she loves traveling the world, there are stories here in Indiana that need to be told, and Carmen Vincent is committed to telling them.
Carmen Vincent was named one of PNW Innovation Society’s 2021 Women to Watch, and we can clearly see why. Keep up with Carmen on her website and Youtube, or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Kylie Stine is a regular Indy Maven contributor who shares Carmen Vincent’s passion for telling Hoosier stories. Stine agrees that the network of people and businesses committed to supporting young professionals in their pursuits is an extremely special part of being a Hoosier.