Through his award-winning documentaries, outreach to local non-profits, and wide-ranging teaching activities, Professor Edmund Talavera strives to make the world a better place. As chair of the Department of Cinema and Interactive Media in the School of Communication, Talavera enjoys creating promotional videos for the University of Miami, organizing alumni fundraising events, and making personal donations to the Momentum2 campaign.

“Our University is doing great things,” he says. “As faculty and employees, we all need to show the world that we care about the future of UM.”

Talavera’s charitable spirit is shared with his wife, Konstantia Kontaxis, who is also a professor in the School of Communication, and their two children. “Every year, my wife and I create videos for local health and social organizations, such as the Transplant House,” he says. “I also bring our alumni and film students together for networking and fundraising events in Hollywood, like our Los Angeles Showcase. It’s a great way to build those personal and professional connections.”

A graduate of New York University’s film program, Talavera joined the faculty in 1999. Over the past 15 years, he has taken UM film students to such locations as Peru, Guatemala, and Greece, producing narrative and documentary feature films on social and health issues. His most recent documentary, Finding Gaston, was an official selection of film festivals in Spain, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. His 2011 documentary, Mistura – The Power of Food, was named the best short foreign documentary at the International Family Film Festival and won the Golden Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival. His films have shown in theaters worldwide and aired on HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax.

Closer to home, Talavera puts his talents to work to promote the University. He was the cinematographer for At the U, and recently completed a new video about the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center on the Coral Gables campus. He also serves as director of the Canes Film Festival, an annual showcase of student films.

“I really appreciate the support our film program has received through the years,” he says. “It’s a pleasure for my wife and I to give back to our University.”

Read about other faculty and staff who support the U.

This story was originally written for e-Veritas