Life as a UMKC film student

Rose Xiong

For UMKC film student Gavin Miller-Broomfield, what started as a hobby and a love for the “Indiana Jones” series has turned into a passion for a career.

“Filmmaking didn’t have to be this huge, big-budget orchestration of talent,” Broomfield said. “It can also be a more personal, expressive art form that anyone can do.”

Broomfield, a senior at UMKC majoring in film and media arts and minoring in political science, first started making short films in high school with his friends. He picked UMKC because it was more affordable than the other film schools in the area, and he wanted to move closer to the heart of Kansas City.

Broomfield spends his weekend as a part-timer at Mission Taco Joint. When he’s not there, he balances school, an internship at Toast Wedding Films and a social life.

Broomfield’s passion for film is what makes all this possible. 

“If it wasn’t something that I wasn’t truly passionate about, there’s no way in hell I would ever do it,” Broomfield said. “It’s just not logistical to do, especially being a student with a job, but I’m thankful for UMKC because they do provide the resources.”

For his final project this semester, Broomfield is making a short film in the West Bottoms on mad cow disease, which was historically found in the city’s cattle stockyards. The film will be an experimental body horror film on getting sick from meat and a reflection on the history of death and destruction that happened there. 

“A theme that has always kind of infected my work has been animal cruelty and industrial farming,” Broomfield said. “In my opinion, it’s one of the unspoken horrors in our civilization on which this city was built on.”

The day before a shoot, Broomfield is filled with both excitement and nervousness.

“You don’t know how something’s going to work out until it does,” Broomfield said. “It can be nerve-racking and thrilling, which is filmmaking in general.”

Broomfield said the feeling of a film coming together is addictive. 

“When you finish something, and it is a fairly good representation of an idea you had, you’re like ‘Oh my god, it exists now, and I can rest,’” Broomfield said.

Broomfield advises any incoming UMKC film majors to really get to know their professors.

“When you really feel that [professors] want to see you succeed and make something that you’re proud of, I think that is an encouraging feeling for students,” Broomfield said. “Cultivating  those relationships does make a difference.”

Broomfield hopes to one day operate his own production company with a close-knit group of collaborators where they can make art together. His film will be released after winter break. You can watch his other films on his YouTube channel at “Gavin Miller-Broomfield.”

[email protected]