Subjects: Science and Technology, Representations of Women
An independent documentary film about Charity Woodrum, a young woman from rural Oregon whose dream of becoming an astrophysicist is nearly derailed when she suffers a devastating tragedy.
Charity was a nontraditional university student, raised in poverty, the first in her family to graduate from high school. In her mid-20s, she was married and nine months pregnant when she decided to return to school to study physics. Life felt perfect. Then, what she calls "The Worst Day." Her world was destroyed.
With help from friends old and new, she finds her way back to the distant galaxies where she feels most at peace.
Charity has come a long way from her childhood in Canyonville, Oregon, where she found peace many nights looking up at the night sky. Her dream from early on was to work for NASA one day, but it felt like a crazy goal for a kid from rural Oregon who had never met a scientist.
Through devastating tragedy, she has kept her eyes on the sky. She is a Ph.D. candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona. She is working with Professor Marcia Rieke and Dr. Christina Williams as part of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Near-IR Camera (NIRCam) science team. Her research uses the Universe as a time machine to tell the story of how galaxies evolve over cosmic time.
Official Selection at 2023 Phoenix Film Festival, 2023 Toronto International Women Film Festival, 2023 Arizona International Film Festival
About the filmmaker
Sandy is an award-winning broadcast journalist (3 national EMMY awards, a Columbia-DuPont Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, Overseas Press Club Award, several Gabriel Awards and numerous nominations) with more than 20 years of experience working for NBC News as a senior producer and a producer, mostly for Dateline NBC.
She has covered breaking news, investigative stories, legal stories, entertainment, medical stories and spent years producing long-form programs for the network before venturing out on her own.
Some of the stories Sandy has told include 9/11, the massacre at Columbine, Hurricane Katrina, the OJ Simpson trial, Australia's Stolen Generation, Nazis hiding in plain sight in Canada, a family enduring heart transplants in three of their children.
While she has had the pleasure of telling stories of famous people, what she loves most is the stories of ordinary people overcoming extraordinary challenges. Charity Woodrum is one of them. Sandy's work has aired on NBC, MSNBC, OPB, and on digital platforms such as Amazon Prime and iTunes.
She has built a reputation for earning the trust of the people whose stories she tells, and taking the storytelling to a deeper level.