Jessica McGaugh

Meet the Filmmakers: Jessica McGaugh and Roma Sur, “Pulse of the Mountains” (teaser)

Pulse of the Mountains (teaser) |

Q: Tell me briefly about yourself and your film/project.
J&R: When the ancient Indian beats of Oddissi combine with the rhythms of the African Djembe and the vibrant Spanish Flamenco, a new kind of sound is born. This sound is called the Pulse of the Mountains. Pulse of the Mountains explores the stories of three immigrant artists who have chosen Colorado as their second home. It’s a story about preserving ancient traditions and finding new meanings through rhythm and beats.

One of the most exciting pieces of the film is an original live performance between our three characters. These artists will be coming together to bring a brand new never-before-seen fusion. It is a global crossing of regions and cultures that usually do not intersect- India, Guinea and Spain.

We are long-time collaborators on multiple projects. Our previous feature-length documentary The Golden Hour, a film about roadside fatalies in India, won awards at film festivals and screened on Indian television. We also work together in the Film and Television Program at the University of Colorado Denver.

As filmmakers, we are most interested in creating a venue for voices that are underrepresented in cinema. Pulse of the Mountains contributes to this goal by telling multiple and diverse stories; the specific characters in our film, performing artists at large, female filmmakers and immigrants.

Q: What are your hopes for the event?
J&R: We are very excited to participate in the Colorado Independent Women of Film Festival this year. We are currently in production of our documentary Pulse of the Mountains and we hope screening a scene from the film will create awareness of the movie and get audiences excited about seeing the final product. The film will be completed by the end of the year.

Q: This is the 7th year of CIWF. Do you have a favorite memory of the festival (or screening at The Bug Theatre) in years past?
J&R: Jessica was fortunate enough to screen a feature film last year (Red Pearl) and really enjoyed sharing her movie and talking about her experiences making the film.

Q: What else are you working on?
J&R: Alongside the production of the doc, this year we have completed a feature-length screenplay titled The Rock Within. The film tells the story of a multi-cultural friendship formed during a struggle of infertility. Production of the film will begin here in Colorado in 2018.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
J&R: Jessica has a Vimeo page:

Pulse of the Mountains (teaser) will screen Saturday, February 11th at 6:00 p.m. at The Bug Theatre.

Meet the Filmmakers: Jessica McGaugh and Stacy Barton, “Red Pearl:

The Filmmakers: Jessica McGaugh (left) and Stacy Barton (right).

The Filmmakers: Jessica McGaugh (left) and Stacy Barton (right).

Q: How do you feel about being selected to participate in Colorado Independent Women of Film?

J&S: We are very excited to have the opportunity to share our film with the independent film community and the patrons of the Bug Theater. The regular programming at the Bug is a true celebration of local film, theatre and art. We love being part of it.
Q: What are your hopes for the event?
J&S: As filmmakers, we are most excited to share our work with a new audience. We hope that the CIWF crowd will enjoy the film just as much as we enjoyed making it.
Q: Tell me briefly about yourself and your film/project.
We (Jess McGaugh and Stacy Barton) have been friends since 2005 when we became roommates while attending grad school at Syracuse University in New York. The snowy winters allowed for an immersion into filmmaking, and it was only a matter of time before we would venture into the world of narrative features.We began writing Red Pearl, deeply inspired by the city and mountains surrounding us from our 8th floor, shared downtown Denver office at CU Denver where we taught together for 5 years.  Now, we each hold Assistant Professor positions teaching film and video production, Jessica still at CU Denver and Stacy at the University of West Georgia.
As adventurers ourselves, we closely identify with our lead character Scarlet who is exploring the difficulties of following big dreams. Each of us have picked up and moved to brand new cities multiple times throughout our lives in search of our individual paths to success. The overwhelming process of immersing oneself into an unfamiliar environment with no friends or family to fall back on is a life-forming experience, and we wanted to visualize the struggle of a young woman on her quest of learning who she is and what she is capable of in a difficult environment.
An interesting production note: Stacy and Jess were both pregnant during the shooting of this movie. Stacy was 8 months and Jess was 2 months. Both babies were born during post-production of the movie.