When the Princeton football team traveled to Japan in 2015, Alex Ford ’17 combined two of his passions. The senior cornerback, who was injured that spring, supported his teammates from the sidelines and spent his free time filming them, on the field and away from it.
“I bring my camera wherever I go,” Ford said. “My camera is my most prized possession.”
The footage from Japan was featured in “Where Football Has Taken Me,” Ford’s video essay for 1080princeton, a visual-journalism site that covers campus life.
Ford’s interest in filmmaking came on suddenly and has developed into a potential career. Teammates, athletic trainers, and other Princeton athletes have appeared in Ford’s short films. “Everybody has supported me in this dream of mine,” he said.
Ford, a native of La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., and a sociology major, originally planned to follow a pre-med track in college, but he embraced his creative side after struggling with math and chemistry freshman year. His epiphany came during intersession.
“I went out and made a video on the soccer field,” he said. “I had snow up to my knees, but it was fun. There was nobody on campus. It’s my home away from home — making films.”
On the eve of football preseason, Ford wrapped up his third summer interning at DreamWorks Pictures before flying from Los Angeles to New York to complete filming for Madness, a film he is producing.
The story is based on the life of a poor hospital worker in Haiti named Madness Duver, whom Ford met six years ago while volunteering as an earthquake-relief worker. He kept in touch with Duver, who has since followed his dream to come to the United States.
“He’s the best story of resilience and perseverance I’ve ever heard,” Ford said. “Now I’ve made a film about him that could be ... my calling card as I go and try to make it in the film industry. I think he’s given me so much more than I’ve given him.”
Ford expects to finish production of Madness this fall and release it in the spring. The film will be part of his senior thesis, but he aims to bring it to a wider audience. And he hopes there are more films in his future.
“It’s a difficult industry to make it in because there’s no clear path to follow,” Ford said. “I think just following the passion is what’s most important.”