thia martinI was born in Nashville, Arkansas. At the age of three I moved to a suburb of Chicago where I spent most of my childhood.  My Father was a special agent for the FBI for 32 years and my Mother was a stay at home mom, caring for our family home and my two brothers and sisters.

The summer before my 17th birthday my father was transferred to Little Rock, Arkansas where I finished high school. I went onto major in fine art at the University of Arkansas. Early in life I woke up to a creative world. At the University I spent 4 years on the dive team and was a member of the University’s dance company.  Though my passion was art, after graduation I pursued a career in sports. I applied as a diving instructor at the local YMCA and was hired as a gymnastic coach.  Three years later I became the gymnastic director and for the next 15 years I continued to work with children from preschool through high school and develop teams that competed regionally.

After marrying in 1985 my focus shifted to family and over the next decade I had four children.  While raising my children and staying home to be with them, my camera became my constant companion and rarely left my side. I spent school years capturing the snapshots of childhoods flying by and would replay them at the end of the year for the school. My creative heart beating I pioneered an annual fundraiser through my children’s elementary school called “Pulaski Heights Picassos” that afforded lower income children the ability to have art classes  for these programs had been cut out of the public schools.

My travels to Colorado started in the 90’s and over the years Colorado became a second home for me.  By 2001 I was able to make Sunshine Canyon in Boulder, Colorado my permanent residence and in addition to motherhood, make pursuing my activist and artistic endeavors my full time career.

In 2010 the Fourmile Fire ravaged Sunshine Canyon and I was one of over 150 families whose properties was damaged or lost in the fire.  My community was forever changed. With my property burned and my home partially burned I was out of my home for over a year.  In the re-building and healing process I became very involved with the community of families that had been burned out in the fire. I decided that my way to serve, was to spend the year documenting the decimation and rebirth of the canyon, which culminated in two short films . . . the destruction, the fire, “Changed”; and the recovery, “To Build a Home”.

Not long after the rebuilding of my home was when I first met Justine Sanchez, as my youngest daughter was attending high school with Justine & Roman’s son. I was friends with Justine for over a year before I really asked her what her connection to the Buffalo was and where it sprang from.  She invited me to a presentation that week that she was making at our kids school.  I walked in to a video documenting the abuse that was happening to the Buffalo.  When I saw the clip, my sense of justice that had been instilled so deeply by my Father, was immediately ignited.  That spring I was out in the field filming.  A fire ignited my call to film making and Justine was the spark to ignite my passion for the injustice enacted everyday on our National Mammal . . . the very sacred Buffalo.  I recently put this story together in short film so we can reach far and wide with this insane reality. There's more to come.  For the Buffalo!


Read about another BFC Advisory Board member - Doug Peacock >>