BETHANY, W.Va. — Bethany College was proud to host its annual Grimes Lecture Series during homecoming weekend. This year, we welcomed back accomplished documentary filmmaker and alumna Julia Huffman ‘90, to share her inspirational journey. The event provided a remarkable glimpse into her career, values, and her current project, “The Mother-Daughter Version.” 

Huffman’s powerful opening emphasized the importance of finding one’s purpose, “I found my purpose and calling actually in documentary filmmaking, and that was a big thrill for me.” She highlighted the significance of courage in pursuing one’s calling, noting that it often takes belief in oneself to stay true to that calling. 

When discussing the impact of Bethany College on her personal and professional growth, Huffman acknowledged the lasting friendships and supportive environment she found there. Her time at Bethany College helped her overcome her insecurities and self-doubt, and she reflected on her academic journey that shaped future experiences in the film industry. “I have a lot of love in my heart for Bethany,” Huffman remarked, “I found my way here and started dreaming.” She emphasized the personalized and supportive environment provided by the college and the valuable hands-on experiences she gained, including her work on the film “Wrestling with God.”  

Throughout her lecture, Huffman underscored her deep connection to nature, particularly in southern West Virginia, where she developed a spiritual bond with the land and expressed her affection for the region. She shared meaningful quotes from authors Jim Harrison and Wendell Berry, which highlighted her profound connection to nature. One of the most touching aspects of Julia’s speech was her reminiscence of her childhood companion, Bozo, who she described as a source of immense positive influence. “Bozo was my best friend, and Bozo changed my life. Really did. Little did he know he changed a little girl’s life,” she shared emotionally.  

Currently, Huffman is working on a heartfelt documentary about her mother, Beth. The project, “The Mother-Daughter Version,” is an emotional tribute to her mother’s influence and role in nurturing creativity and imagination. She recalled the adventurous spirit of her parents and their two-year journey across the country, creating cherished memories. “I really admire my mother because I realized that mom was an example of following her calling. And I’m sure there was a lot of time and decision making that went into that. And I’m sure she was also thinking about her kids.” 

Huffman’s speech concluded with a discussion about the challenges and dynamics of fundraising in the filmmaking industry, offering valuable advice to aspiring filmmakers and expressing her gratitude for the support she has received.

Shortly after the lecture series, Huffman headed to Oglebay where she showed a true testament to the deep affection she has for Bethany through a surprise elopement. The impromptu ceremony added an unexpected layer of love and joy to an already memorable event, making it an occasion that nobody in attendance would ever forget. 

You can click here to rewatch the lecture.