Kaela Mangiaracina

Kaela Mangiaracina never stops creating. The 20-year-old from Livingston, N.J., will graduate this spring with an associate degree from NTID’s Art & Imaging Studies program, but that won’t be the end of her academic pursuits. She has been accepted into the BFA programs at the New York Film Academy in California, the Chicago Art Institute and the highly selective program at RIT’s School of Film and Animation. She intends to stay at RIT.

“I majored in photography, but will now focus on film,” she says. “I enjoy being able to create my own movies and edit them.”

She recently completed a co-op with ASLFilms, producing a movie called Black Sand in Costa Rica. 

“It was such a wonderful experience,” she says. “I was an editor’s assistant, and would transfer files into the computer and organize them so the editors could find them easily. I also assisted the cameramen, whenever they needed something. I even did makeup to create a ‘creature.’”

The experience taught Mangiaracina much about the pursuit of work-life balance, and what areas of filmmaking she most—and least—enjoys.

“It’s difficult to keep personal life and work life separated when you are all on location and living in one house,” she says. “And I learned that lighting effects are not my favorite things to work on. I did, however, realize I like organizing things, so if I had a job offer with that as part of the work, I think I would take it.”

Mangiaracina’s entrepreneurial and creative spirit matches well with her interests in editing, directing, creating trailers for movies, establishing a film business and, in an interesting twist, perhaps opening her own pastry business.  

“I know it’s different from filmmaking, but I just love to create both with a camera and in the kitchen, and I love the idea of starting my own business,” she says. “I enjoy cooking so much that at one point I thought of majoring in culinary arts. One night I was watching the reality television show D.C. Cupcakes and I thought, ‘I should open a pastry business with my mom!’ I remember her telling me she always wanted to open up a business making chocolates and nuts and candies. I asked her if she wanted to do that with me, and she said she is definitely up for it.”

Whether her business future leads to movies or cupcakes—or both—Mangiaracina’s creations will no doubt please her audiences.

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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