Ellen Dziubek

Ellen Dziubek

Videographer and Portrait Photographer

January 9, 2020


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I am a documentarian at heart. I have always had a camera in hand, and some of my favorites are little films I’ve made of my family. They have always been my muses. I am most proud of a music video I made for my cousin’s band featuring my grandma. It’s a really special story. I also make wedding and lifestyle films.

What current projects are you working on?

My freelance work began in photography, but I’d like that to become more of a hobby in the future. I want my main focus to be on videography: specifically documentary storytelling. I feel like short-doc-style content is where I shine the brightest. I am also happiest when I get to work with musicians. My dream is to go on tour with a band and document the whole thing through video. This year I’ll continue to create video content for the YMCA of Greater Toledo and Toledo Metroparks which has been awesome too.

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

The Midwest mentality. The best things about Toledo are not obvious. You have to be willing to dig a little deeper, and once you do, you will find some neat stuff. It’s also just a big town/small world. In just one year after moving back to Toledo, I’ve made so many connections in the art scene. The photography and filmmaking community is pretty welcoming. I am so proud to call it home.

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

One of my greatest successes has been growing a successful business one year out of college. I think that is attributed to the community I have built here.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

Most filmmakers are movie buffs and have a number of director/writer inspirations, but I have always felt more inspired by music. I have always been a musical person: I listen to so much music and love to sing. I am driven by emotion and so many specific songs have kicked my creative muscles into gear throughout my young career.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Toledo, went to film school at DePaul University in Chicago, and moved back to Toledo a year after graduating. Living in Chicago was great and I had access to a lot of good opportunities there. However, I realized I wasn’t as much of a city person as I wanted to be. I had initially thought that I wanted to move to LA and direct indie films, but had a big aha moment halfway through school after taking my first documentary class. It really clicked then. I want to make films that are somehow beneficial to people, films that touch people’s hearts. Art is so incredibly important!!!

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

Carpe diem, baby! Always seize the day!

Favorite place for local culture?

The Toledo Museum of Art of course!!

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

Not so much of a secret, but our metroparks are the actually the best thing about Toledo. (In my very biased opinion.)

My favorite place to chill locally is . . . 

Black Kite Coffee (I’m there right now!)

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . . 

It is so hard to choose just one metropark but I love Secor and Oak Openings (specifically the Evergreen Lake trail.)

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . .

My grandma’s house or any of the Metroparks, truly.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

I’d love to see a creative atmosphere that is desperately inclusive and collaborative. We’re getting there, and I’ve met a good number of people who want it like I do. As a female filmmaker, I’ve had plenty of experiences where I felt undermined or my ideas were doubted and not taken seriously. It is unfortunately the nature of the industry and it needs to change. Hoping I can be part of that dialogue in the future.

Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?

I have loved creating video content for local Waterville folk band, Oliver Hazard. Working with them makes my heart swell with hometown pride and I just love their music!

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

Greta Gerwig!!! That woman is on fire!

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

YOUTUBE. I’ve had a YouTube channel of my own since the very beginning in 2006. My first community of “content creators” was on YouTube. I’m still in touch with a few of them today. They have become good friends.

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Thoughtful, personal, vérité

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Is This It – The Strokes

Viva La Vida – Coldplay

Heard It In A Past Life – Maggie Rogers

twelvefour – The Paper Kites

Blood – Rhye

My biggest vice is . . .

Staying up late and sleeping in!!! I love mornings but I rarely get to appreciate them. I’m just a night owl and wannabe morning person!

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

I’d like to see Sofar Sounds (or something of the sorts) in Toledo. I worked for Sofar Sounds for a stint when I lived in Chicago, and I love the idea behind it. Sofar hosts shows in small, intimate spaces like living rooms or office spaces. There are always three acts, no headliner, and you don’t know who you’re seeing until you get there. The best part is that they encourage you to mingle and get to know the artists in a way you wouldn’t be able to at a concert venue. It’s so cool.

What’s the last dream you recall having?

This morning I dreamed I was walking through a marsh barefoot to film something…

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

I'm the underbelly, I am the claw
Never one thing no, not one thing at all
I'm a street fighter, I'm a prayer for peace
I'm a holy roller, I'm a honey bee”

Never One Thing by May Erlewine

One movie character I identify with is . . .

Christine McPherson/Ladybird

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

My parents got me Final Cut Express (editing software) as a freshman in high school. That’s the best physical gift: but their belief in me as a filmmaker and artist is a gift they keep on giving. Grateful for that.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

Hard to name one moment. I’ve mentioned it already, but so many of my family members inspire me. I have so many good examples of hardworking, talented people around me. I would not at all be where I am without that.

I want my last meal to be

The Original Sub Shop and Deli. If you’ve never tried it, go TODAY. Love local!!


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