headshot of xenia matthews wearing a white turtleneck and glasses. matthews is bathed in blue light, while the background is a vivid fuchsia and red

BFA '21

Film (BFA)

UArts Film program graduate Xenia Matthews BFA ’21 (Film) was selected for the 2023 edition of Sundance Film Festival. Her 2022 film OURIKA! originally debuted at the Philadelphia-based BlackStar Film Festival.

Read more about OURIKA! and Xenia's work.

Still from xenia matthews film Ourika!. in a completely black scene, a single long dining table is liminated brightly and seen in square profile, lengthwise. at the right end is a person in a white dress with white headscarf leaning forward to lift the silver lid off of a serving platter, revealing no food. there are several more covered silver platters. at the left end is a portrait of a person in aw hite dress. a chandelier is suspended in blackness above the table.
A still from Xenia Matthews' film OURIKA!


Why did you choose University of the Arts?
I wanted to be somewhere I could explore my artistic passions and be on my own—UArts and Philadelphia gave that to me. I was also very much undecided and the vast number of majors excited me.
What has been the most exciting aspect of the program, creatively?
My cinematography class made me feel at home. Coming from Illustration, I had a perception that Film would be extremely difficult for me to grasp but when I arrived, I was encouraged to bring my formal fine arts training to my filmmaking. Suddenly it wasn’t such an enigma. I was allowed to find out what works for me.
What do you want people to know about Philadelphia?
Whatever you want to discover or get into, it’s most likely in Philly. What I love most about the city is the love and care people show for each other. Especially after the summer of 2020, there were a multitude of mutual aid organizations from community fridges, to laundry support, to housing support, to fresh groceries for those in need. I’ve yet to encounter a city with such a kind, giving spirit.