A native of Traverse City, Michigan, David attended Northwestern Michigan College, where he received the English Student of the Year Award in 1995 on his way to gaining an Associates of Arts Degree in English. He published 5 short stories in the school magazine and was invited to read in the Young Michigan Writers Series. David’s passion for storytelling and landscape led him to Boulder, Colorado and eventually the University of Colorado, where he enrolled in the fall of 1999.
In 2004 he graduated with a dual BA in Creative Writing and Film Critical Studies and a BFA in Film Production. Along the way David’s films twice received the Goldfarb Award, as well as the Grillo Award and Coggen/Gougler Awards from the University of Colorado. David’s undergraduate thesis film, Snow Petals, received a First Place at the Crested Butte Reelfest (2004) and was an official selection at AllFest (’04), Boulder Fringe Festival (’05), Durango Independent Film Festival (’06), East Lansing Film Festival (’06), Eugene Film Festival (’06) and Films for Farms (’10).
In December of ’09, David received his MFA in Film Production from the University of Colorado, where he also taught in the Film Studies program for 4 years. David’s film Sleeping River, which was created during graduate school, received an official selection from the Muskegon Film Festival (’09), the Long Island International Film Expo (’09), the Queens International Film Festival (’09) and the Red Rock Film Festival (’10). In 2011 David finished his first feature length narrative film, Somewhere West, which received the very prestigious Gambill Family Endowment and the J.R. Hopes Grant from the University of Colorado and had its World Premier at the 18th Austin Film Festival in October of 2011. Since then it has received 8 Best Feature Film Awards and 6 other Awards along with 27 additional Nominations from 18 festivals in 3 countries.
David spent 2 semesters (Fall ’12, Spring ’13) teaching as the Filmmaker in Residence at the world renowned Interlochen Arts Academy. Following this, David spent 2 summers as the Summer Director of the Motion Picture Arts Department for the Interlochen Arts Camp. He is also a founding partner of the film and video production company, the TreeFort Collective, in Traverse City, MI.
Presently David is teaching 3 classes in the Screen Arts and Cultures Department at the University of Michigan for the Fall ’14 and Winter ’15 semesters. His classes include an Introduction to Media Production, Introduction to Documentary Production and a Critical Studies class on the History of Avant-garde cinema.
Filmmaking is a process of renewal, faith and awakening for me. If I knew a film would be created exactly as imagined, or knew precisely how each finite step would lead from beginning to end, I would consider the project in jeopardy of being created without a soul. For me, the essence of filmmaking is in being confronted by and learning to accept the unknown. When I admit that I cannot control the sun, the quality of its light, the cloud that appears and passes, I become quiet and in the listening find my place and vision. Then, with the utmost care, I attempt to fix my awe in time, using little more then lens and light. By inviting the world to play an active role in my process, I am constantly rewarded and amazed by the beauty of that which cannot be planned. I go into the world with ideas and intentions and I come back with images, not that I’ve created, but that have announced themselves to my attention – and in our meeting, there is a revelation of spirit which I cannot claim as my own.