Story by Marcus Wilkins

Grace Noteboom points her Nikon camera off-frame. She is shown on Faurot Field from a low angle, the stands rising up behind her.
Grace Noteboom shot video for Mizzou Athletics as a student worker. She graduates in May. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Mizzou football fans remember it well, if not fondly. A 23-14 Missouri halftime lead dissolved in a deluge — of rain and unfortunate errors — as the Gamecocks rehydrated for a 37-35 comeback win last October in Columbia, South Carolina.

Grace Noteboom, a student videographer for the Tigers, did her dutiful best to capture it from the sideline as the wind whipped her ponytail like a drenched, frayed rope.

“Suddenly, we had this apocalyptic rain storm — just horrific,” says Noteboom, a senior documentary journalism major from Plano, Texas. “There’s probably footage of me that day, a girl with a camera on a stick holding her hair.”

Game day filming was just one of Noteboom’s tasks for Coach Barry Odom’s staff. She also shot practice sessions from atop a scissor lift at the Kadlec Athletic Fields, where she incorporated her familial gridiron acumen (her older brother is Los Angeles Rams offensive tackle Joseph Noteboom).

But Noteboom’s true passion is documentary filmmaking, and as a student in the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism, there’s no better place for her to be.

Noteboom stands on a Memorial Stadium concourse, the Rock M behind her, as she stares off camera.
Noteboom’s documentary film will premier May 15 at Stronger Than Fiction, the showcase festival for Mizzou’s documentary journalism program. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Like the School of Journalism in which it is housed, the center throws students directly into the mix. They interact with international filmmakers, assist a resident filmmaker in all levels of the production process, pitch film ideas to a panel of industry insiders and ultimately direct and produce a feature documentary before graduation.

Noteboom’s initial pitch, a deep dive into armed teachers in Texas, was green lit but didn’t pan out due to a lack of subjects willing to go on camera about the hot-button topic.

Her second endeavor — a profile about a Springfield, Missouri-area tattoo artist who covers up hate tattoos (swastikas, white-power slogans, etc.) pro bono — has been more fruitful. Her film, “All These Marks,” will premiere at Stronger Than Fiction, the Murray Center’s student-film showcase, May 15 at the Missouri Theater.

“I didn’t think these people would let me into their homes to film and tell me really personal details about themselves, but they have,” says Noteboom, describing the extroverted side of herself she unearthed as a filmmaker. “Forcing myself to be more outgoing and to ask for more outrageous things has yielded so much.”

Noteboom has also served on the True/False Film Fest screening committee, a carefully curated group that views and evaluates the thousands of documentaries annually submitted to the festival. The experience has exposed her to creative stylings all over the cinematic map.

Noteboom has already applied for jobs after graduation, and she has even considered some creative entrepreneurial combinations. One of her “side hustles” — designing floral arrangements — could be coupled with videography for weddings and events.

“And in North Texas, everyone thinks their son is the next Tony Romo,” Noteboom says. “I can make him the best highlight reel.”

Stronger Than Fiction
Grace Noteboom’s documentary about a tattoo artist who transforms racist tattoos will be featured in the 2019 Stronger Than Fiction film festival. The festival features work from the graduating class of the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism and runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., May 15, at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St.

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