Future Filmmaker Nabs First Big Award: Outstanding Graduate

The 2003 motion picture “Pirates of the Caribbean” captivated the imagination of millions, including a young moviegoer named Catherine Drensek.

She said she enjoyed “Pirates” not only for its high adventure on screen, but also for its behind-the-scenes action. Drensek remembers as a child being enthralled by the special features included in the movie’s DVD. She still considers the bonus features among her favorite parts of a film.

On Saturday, Catherine Drensek will graduate from Palm Beach Atlantic University as the Outstanding Graduate of the School of Communication and Media. PBA is a private, Christ-centered college in West Palm Beach, Fla., USA.


“I just love learning about how they do everything,” said Drensek, now a senior majoring in cinema-television in Palm Beach Atlantic University’s School of Communication and Media.

Today she is the one making movie magic. Since arriving at PBA as a transfer student in 2011, Drensek has worked in various roles on 13 film shoots or projects, some of which she has either directed or codirected. She also used her skills to assist the Admissions department’s social media team.

On Saturday, Drensek will graduate from PBA as the Outstanding Graduate of her school with a 3.96 GPA. Afterward, the Huntsville, Ala., native will spend the next seven months working for Disney — the home of the Captain Jack Sparrow and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise — through the company’s Disney College Program.

“I’ve grown up watching Disney movies and I’ve always loved Disney,” said Drensek, who will be working in Orlando at Walt Disney World. The program is highly selective, but Drensek was accepted the first time she applied.

Drensek began developing a reputation as a high achiever soon after arriving at PBA. She earned several scholarships and awards, and she has made the President’s List or Provost’s List each semester she has been enrolled.

One of her favorite productions is an upcoming a project that one of her friends directed called “Chalk.” Drensek was part of the lighting department. “I felt like I was in my element,” she said.

She enjoys writing and editing films, and “the times I’ve been able to direct, I’ve enjoyed it,” she said.

One of those films was a comedy called “Our First Date.” “It was really crazy and really hectic, but I learned a lot from it,” she said.

She said she learned a great deal from her time at PBA, and she has grown close to her classmates.“We all work together so much on film shoots and we all have our classes together. We became like our own family,” she said.

She said she considers herself a shy person by nature and credits the program with helping her find a voice.

“That support that I’ve received has helped me grow as an individual and helped me grow in my confidence level,” she said.