Alumni StoriesCorrie Duryee ’77

Corrie Duryee ’77: Deep Exploration of the Life of the Mind

"The point of everything I do is beauty,” says writer, film director, and producer Corrie Duryee ’77. “For decades, while filming, I have called people to order on set by yelling ‘Alright. Let’s make some truth and beauty.’”

A truth—it was Duryee’s godmother who turned a young Corrie onto screenwriting. Corrie’s godmother was Madeleine L’Engle, the award-winning author of A Wrinkle in Time. L’Engle handed Corrie a stack of play scripts and said she wanted her to turn them into something. Corrie dropped out of seminary at Seattle University, entered film school, and never turned back.

A beauty—for the past sixteen years, Corrie has worked at Kairos Productions. Kairos, according to their website is “a reverently irreverent Seattle-based film production company dedicated to the creation of vibrant, idiosyncratic celebrations of life through filmmaking.” Corrie just locked the cut of her fifth feature length film, Language Arts. It’s currently in post-production. She enthuses, “There is much rejoicing!”

It wasn’t until Corrie was forty when she got into filmmaking as a career, though storytelling has been a part of her life from the get-go. She’s performed as an actor with Book-It Repertory Theater, Taproot Theatre, and other local theater organizations. She was a founding member of the Shakespeare Workout in New York and was one of the seven original co-founders of Seattle Shakespeare Company as a casting director. She also was a zombie killer with a baseball bat in Zombies of Mass Destruction, a 2010 film that was screened at the prestigious Seattle International Film Festival.

“I do my best to create beauty when I make a film, even if the subject is very dark,” Corrie says. “I believe one of my main jobs in this world, as a human, is to notice, appreciate, and celebrate the beauty that God has created. And what follows naturally from that appreciation is to try to help others do the same, through my work, if I can.”

It’s been a long road for Corrie since taking James May’s “Intro to Film Class” at Bush. Bush was a place that gave her, as she says, “a creative nest. It challenged me, enlarged me, and enlivened me.” The school catapulted her to where she is today. “I would not have become an artist without the powerful inspiration of the people at that school. She mentions Midge Bowman ’51, James and Virginia May, Meta O’Crotty, Sally Pritchard, George Taylor, and more, as those that inspired, and continue to inspire her. “The teachers and students at Bush honed my spirit and called me to a deeper and deeper exploration of the life of the mind and the heart and the eyes.”

It was Madeleine L’Engle who said, “We can’t take credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.” 
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