Young filmmaker speaks about his beginning journey

By Amanda Gonzalez
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Andrew Jenks, a young filmmaker with a hit show on MTV, made an appearance Wednesday, March 16 at the University of Central Florida. Jenks told the audience of his journey to where he is today and encouraged attendees to never give up. Success was not instant for Jenks.

Jenks spoke about his first documentary, “Room 335,” and the ups and downs that it brought for him. No nursing home in New York would allow Jenks to live in the home for a week to follow and document the lives of the elderly. As the “no’s” kept rolling in, Jenks decided to make some calls to Florida, where a Port St. Lucie nursing home finally allowed him to move in, live with, and document life for the residents at the home.

The task of putting the documentary out was just as hard for Jenks. “I started submitting it randomly to film festivals, I just wanted to get on screen somewhere,” said Jenks of the documentary he made. “I got rejected from a lot of places. Some of those film festivals even called and said it wasn’t even a good movie, stop submitting it to film festivals.”

Jenks said that one of the biggest things he learned professionally, “was not taking no for an answer.” Jenks made it a point to inform that he would not be where he is today had he accepted the “no’s” from the nursing homes in New York and the film festivals.

“World of Jenks,” which is Jenks’ MTV show, seemed to be a topic of interest with the audience. Jenks says he agreed to do the show because he wants to give the younger generation in America a voice. Jenks lived with and filmed people in the age range of 19-25. Each subject had a different life from the other, but it was all real and all happening to these young kids.

Jenks said that he cannot choose a favorite because each person opened his eyes to something different. Jenks moved in with each subject for a week, whether it meant staying in their room, on their couch, on the floor or on the streets in one particular case.

“I thought this would be a cool way to still be able to work and kind of engage with what is my audience, the people who watch the show, and talk to them and get a feel for. You have the show, but it’s on TV and you don’t get that same experience,” said Jenks of his college speaking tour.

Adam Hill, a longtime friend of Jenks and law student at Florida Coastal in Jacksonville, was in attendance at Jenks’ speech. “He’s a down to earth guy, the same guy you see on TV. That’s why he’s doing this right here, to put a face behind it,” said Hill. “You see an episode and don’t actually get to see that this is what he’s really all about.”

After Jenks’ speech students were given the opportunity to line up and ask him questions. Most questions were based on “World of Jenks” and the different subjects from different episodes, some of whom Jenks still keeps in contact with.

UCF student Alexis Acosta stuck around for the entire two hour speech. “I’ve seen him before in St. Louis at a convention,” said Acosta. “It was just about the same speech, but both times it was so awesome because he speaks for people our age.”

“Amazing crowd here at Orlando,” said Jenks afterward.

Casting for the second season of “World of Jenks” is currently taking place. Information on the show can be found at http://www.mtv.com/shows/world_of_jenks/series.jhtml. Information specific to Jenks and his college speaking tour can be found at http://andrewjenks.com/.