Student Stories: Jeremy Silva

Jeremy Silva

Major: Theater and Motion Picture/TV

After moving from Pennsylvania to Chicago at Christmas in 2008, Jeremy Silva knew that 2009 was the year he would pursue his passion. 

“I was confronted with the idea of needing to go to a private university in the inner city to get a ‘real’ education,” he said. “That was when I discovered that one of the best community colleges was around the corner. After price comparing and researching classes, I decided to visit the campus. Touring the MAC had me sold.

“Community colleges back East have a reputation for being substandard or second tier, the idea that there’s a huge tradeoff for the convenience. COD blew my expectations away. The resources and tools in the classrooms were just as impressive as some of the universities that I had toured in the city! The faculty makes the experience what it is. I cannot speak highly enough of the passionate professors in both the Film and Theater departments.”

During his time at COD, Silva took his time and explored a variety of classes, ultimately earning an associate’s degree with an emphasis in directing and acting. Since graduating, he has been involved in various commercial, narrative and industrial projects. He shot segments for several not-for-profits, including the Humane Society, Immerman’s Angels, and Blessings in a Backpack, and he wrote and directed several short films, including two that were official selections for the Naperville Independent Film Festival. 

Silva’s short “Watermelon Eyes” played the festival circuit, while his first feature film, “The Rake,” starring Izabella Miko, Shenae Grimes-Beech and Rachel Melvin, was produced by Unified Pictures and premiered at South by Southwest in 2016. It was acquired by Sony Pictures and currently is available to stream on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Comcast, and can be bought at Walmart and Costco.

“To me, directing is the cultivation of a universe. It is the director’s vision that translates text into reality,” he said. “Creating films that inspire people, spark change, ignite conversation – that’s always my end goal. I was initially terrified of acting. The idea of that sort of vulnerability and intimacy challenged every part of my ego. But that didn’t matter, for when I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, I had to delve into the actor’s craft. How was I to relate and direct other actors when I’ve never been in their shoes? Diving into acting made me a stronger, sharper and more compassionate director, and it has enabled me to create a level of trust with actors I’ve never had before.”

He recently worked as a writer on “High on the Hog,” a grindhouse-inspired crime drama that is appearing in film festivals and select theaters across the country. “The Devil’s Alchemy,” which he wrote, will also be his feature film debut as a director, while his latest short script, “Well-bred,” was selected as a finalist in several writing contests and film grants and is expected to be shot in 2020. Finally, he has been asked to guest direct episodes of a LGBTQ Chicago-based new media series that will begin production this fall. 

Silva’s ultimate career goal is to create original thought-provoking films that break the rehash/reboot cycle of the creative industry. 

“I want to usher in a new age of voices determined to keep film about the quality of its content and the magic of art,” he said. “College of DuPage provided me with flexibility, financial freedom and the confidence to hone my artistic voice. 

“Students attending COD will be challenged. My advice is to embrace it, because that is where growth occurs. Remember that experience is what you bring to the table. Shout outs to Connie Canaday-Howard, Amelia Barrett, John Tovar, John Rangel, Heather Currie and Jennifer Piehl for their wisdom, charisma and passion. Take their classes!”