Freedom Hopkins: A Renaissance Man

“If you had to label me,” began senior Freedom Hopkins, “and labeled me a filmmaker, you would be denying me everything else.”

Hopkins has done his best to defy labels. Growing up just an hour south of Santa Fe in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Hopkins has always had interests in various forms of art. He performed in school productions and crafted his first film entitled “Freeing Joshua” his senior year of high school.

Arriving in Fall 2010, Hopkins was initially a film major. A year and a half later he converted to a double major in film and theater. A semester later he stood alone as SFUAD’s only self-design major.

“There are too many forms of communication for me to commit to one. Which maybe has been my problem throughout life.”

Dana Levin, creative writing co-chair and Hopkin’s advisor, hardly sees a problem.

“Freedom’s been great: self-directed, committed to his self-designed curriculum, asking for what he needs bureaucratically and intellectually,” said Levin. “I love how open he is to input from everything! Art, people, world. And he teaches me too, through sharing his enthusiasms for independent cinema, the connections he sees between the history of twentieth century film and literature and how those two mediums have responded to shared cultural zeitgeist.”

It’s these connections that Hopkins hopes to imbue in all of his work. He doesn’t necessarily see any medium as mutually exclusive. The Creative Writing department offered the opportunity to understand story, both its history and its contruction. At The Film School Hopkins gains the understanding of the collaborative process. The Performing Arts department lets Hopkins experience the “sense of entertainment, of performance, of kinetic live energy, which is what I want to bring to my movies.”

However, Hopkins’ wide area of interests presents its own form of challenges.

“Which department do [self-design majors] call home?” asked Levin. “In terms of wading through school bureaucracy, it’s important for a student to have a departmental home. Freedom seemed departmentally homeless to me, a visitor to Film, Theater and Creative Writing, but no foothold in any of those departments in the way a traditional major would have.”

The bureaucracy doesn’t seem to concern Hopkins in the slightest. He dismisses the fact that he doesn’t know what will be on his diploma with a simple hand wave. It’s the work that matters.

“The self design has a reputation as the cop-out major,” said Hopkins.

But this stereotype is hardly accurate. Without much institutional support it is up to the student to get the most out of their college experience. As Hopkins put it “you are your own success or failure.”

With his first semester of his senior year halfway done, Hopkins has his eye towards the future. Despite his love for New Mexico, he hopes to attend graduate school in New York where he can continue his particular brand of entertainment.

But what does that ultimately mean?

“I’m interested in the human experience, why we communicate the way we do, how we do it and its significance,” said Hopkins. “Now that’s pretty vague, but so is art.”