WWU Alum Films Award-winning Documentary “Gleason”

As a recent Western grad, Ty Minton-Small (’11) responded to a Craigslist ad from a production company asking for someone to shoot video. Little did he know, he would spend the next five years working on a project that would change his life as he followed Steve Gleason, a former National Football League player diagnosed with ALS.

"Gleason" has since received international acclaim on the film festival circuit. Minton-Small will bring his movie to Western's campus on Feb. 3 for a special screening. 

“I wanted to make movies; I was kind of lost and I was trying to figure out how to do that,” Minton-Small said.

He began work as a cinematographer on the emotional and moving documentary shortly after graduation, not realizing what it would become.

“It was incredibly important...it was the most intense life experience I’ve had so far,” Minton-Small said about "Gleason." “There were a lot of different emotions.”

Before "Gleason," Minton-Small was an English Literature major at Western, where he said he learned how to be a good communicator. In addition to honing his writing skills and learning how to talk to people, he had so many opportunities outside the classroom to sharpen those skills. His fondest memories include the relationships he built with his fellow classmates.

“They shaped me into the person that I am now," he said. "I met a ton of amazing people at Western that became very close friends and continue to be. That is the most valuable thing I got from Western.”

In the midst of his success, Minton-Small reflects back on his time at Western. “I love Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest," he said.