Julia Clifford was born and raised in Oklahoma. In 1988, she began her career as a seasonal park ranger for the National Park Service. She worked for Jean Lafitte National Historical Park in New Orleans, Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, Zion National Park in Utah and Denali National Park in Alaska where she won a National Park Service High Achievement Award. During that time, she worked on her Bachelors in Fine Art then ended up in Bellingham WA in order to work on her Master’s in Secondary Eduction. She received her master’s degree with an endorsement in Art and History from Western Washington University in 1996.
Julia is a multi-media artist with over twenty years of experience managing arts organizations and multimedia art projects. Since living in Bellingham, she has worked as Executive Director for Allied Arts of Whatcom County and received a Mayor’s Arts Award for stepping in and reviving the local non-profit organization, which at that time was floundering. Julia has produced scores of paintings and organized gallery exhibitions throughout the northwest. She was a juried participant of Seattle’s Artist Trust EDGE Program and, as one of Bellingham’s Municipal Arts grant recipients, she produced and installed In Cecilia’s Garden, a seven foot tall working picture book that traveled to key areas around the Pacific Northwest. While painting is her main medium, Julia uses whatever medium that best fits the story; sculpture, writing, photography or film.
Julia first got involved in film as a board member of the Pickford Film Center in Bellingham WA. Then, as a student at the Northwest Film School, Julia took on a myriad of filmmaking rolls. From key grip, to producing storyboards or set designs or backdrops for animation shorts, to becoming a film director’s assistant; Julia volunteered for whatever roll was needed in order to help others produce their films. Julia tackled her first project as director with her film The Script, which, much to her surprise and delight, was nominated for Best Narrative Short at NW Projections Film Festival.
After gaining enough experience, Julia turned her time and attention to producing and directing Children of the Civil Rights documentary film. No one knew that a group of Oklahoma City kids were heroes, not event the kids themselves. When Julia first heard this story in 2007, she partnered with Bellingham’s top filmmaker, Bob Ridgley of Binary Studio Productions. Bob became co-producer, Director of Photography and Editor for the film. Throughout the filmmaking process, Julia worked full time for Vaughn Hagen CPA doing corporate and individual tax returns in order to make ends meet.
After seven years, Children of the Civil Rights documentary film was finally completed and screened regionally in February, then released nationally November 30, 2015. Julia’s goal is to show Children of the Civil Rights documentary film to 100,000 audiences in living rooms, in junior high and high school classrooms and at universities and libraries and independent theaters all across the country. (Seen below with Congressman John Lewis in Washington DC.)