Radio-TV Film Professor Shares Life's Lessons

An interview with Charles Ramirez Berg

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Undergraduates taking Charles Ramírez-Berg's Film History (RTF 314) are getting more than an education on film history and critical thinking. These students are learning some of life's lessons from someone who has asked big questions, and turned his back on the safe route to embrace an unknown path that captured his imagination.

In retrospect, Dr. Ramírez-Berg believes his destiny was set at age 4 when he sat in a darkened theater and watched his first movie—Disney's Cinderella. Nearly 20 years later, as he halfheartedly made the two-day trek from El Paso to Galveston to attend medical school, Ramírez-Berg had the time and space to do some serious introspection. By the time he reached San Antonio, he decided life is short and he needed to spend his time doing what he loved. And what he loved was movies.

Cut to present-day Austin. Ramírez-Berg has written THE book on Latino images in film and remains passionate about movies—and now teaching. In fact, he's won every teaching award at the university and has been repeatedly voted one of the university's best teachers in student polls.

Known for relentlessly revising his lectures and re-viewing films to gain new insights in hopes of captivating students, he thrives on exchanging ideas with them and learning from their fresh perspectives.

Perhaps more important than film history, Ramírez-Berg shares his hard-earned wisdom with students. "I tell my students not to be afraid to follow their passion. By doing what you love, you will never run out of enthusiasm for your work and you will find fulfillment beyond expectations," said Ramírez-Berg who has seen Citizen Kane more than 75 times yet continues to notice new nuances upon each viewing—with the help of his students.

Marc Speir
Senior Content Producer