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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Grad student strikes deal with Netflix for documentary

Kathryn+Edmonds
Photo by Photo by Brandon Holmes
Kathryn Edmonds

With an aptitude for storytelling, Texas A&M graduate student Kathryn Edmunds will be showcasing her talent through a documentary.
Before attending graduate school, Edmunds made a post on social media asking if anyone had stories of resilience and thriving. Soon her inbox was filling up with all kinds of stories.
Inspired, Edmunds decided to travel around the U.S. to seek out more stories. On the road for a month with a camera in hand, Edmunds captured seven stories of loss and the human ability to persevere.
“I got to hear the most encouraging and painful at the same time [stories] from people who had just overcome a lot,” Edmunds said. “I started sharing some of these stories and people started saying you should do something with it.”
After Edmunds heard Jameisha Brown’s acceptance interview for the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies’ Unsung Hero award, the two began working together in the summer of 2018. Through a filmed interview, Edmunds helped capture Brown’s story of adversity and challenge.
“We need genuine examples of how people have risen stronger in spite of the odds stacked against them,” Brown said. “Kathryn’s film is unscripted, which means that I was extremely vulnerable with the viewers.
Two months later, plans were made to begin work on Edmunds’ documentary, “The Grit Factor.” The team of 30-50 people will train for a year and a half and then film during the summer of 2019.
“Quickly, we realized that this is going to happen, and it is something that can impact a lot of people,” Edmunds said. “It’s fun to mix both the research and understanding and asking the big questions of like ‘you went through that and that’s so painful. How did you overcome it?’ Then also being able to use digital media to share the stories with other people.”
Billy McKim, agriculture and life sciences professor, assisted Edmunds in her work on “The Grit Factor.”
“I think the thing about Kathryn is that she may not have all the answers, but she’s not afraid to ask questions,” McKim said. “She’s incredibly personable, and I think that that has opened a lot of doors for her.”
The team will travel across the U.S. and around the globe. Edmunds plans to interview a man who lived through the Columbine shooting and business owners who were successful despite being born in refugee camps.
“I think that her dedication to this concept and her dedication to telling other people’s stories and helping people see what’s really happening around the world is going to lead her to something far beyond,” McKim said. “She’s definitely not one to sit still and just let things happen. She’s going to make things happen and I think that is going to continue to be the case.”
After the film’s post-production is complete, producers will begin to discuss the next steps for “The Grit Factor.” According to Edmunds, producers are excited to see the potential of this becoming a series.
“We’re excited to give them an opportunity to share their story too because that matters,” Edmunds said. “And giving an opportunity to say ‘here’s where it can be different. It doesn’t have to be stuck in one place.’”
Edmunds is still looking for more team members. Those interested can email her at [email protected].

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