The Grizzly Growl

The Best Storytellers are Better Listeners

Torben Bernard presenting to Copper Hills students.

Karlee Jacobson

Torben Bernard presenting to Copper Hills students.

Hala Louviere, News Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

On Friday, September 15th, Copper Hills students learned Torben Bernhard is much more than his Wikipedia page; he is an excellent storyteller, listener, and inspiration.

Bernhard spoke to our newspaper, CHTV, and yearbook staff members about how to become better creators ourselves. His main focus was on listening – the key to good storytelling. True listening isn’t just with the ears though, it uses the whole mind and body. To tell a story accurately, he looks for its essence. “I do cut downs of what I think is the very best stuff and then I look at that stuff over and over and over again,” Bernhard says. “A lot of times the stories change a lot. I thought it was one thing and then I started arranging pieces and it’s like this isn’t working for a reason – and the reason it’s not working is because that’s not actually where the most meaning is.” His advice was to look for the essence and have an openness to the world.

In high school, Bernhard took a film class – but failed it. He said the school system didn’t work well with him, but once he got to college, his life drastically changed. “I had the opportunity to reset when I went to college and I was a very serious student. When the opportunity came to film again…I had grown up a lot…and I was figuring out where I actually fit into society.” Many years after college, he watched a documentary and a play, both of which inspired him to turn back to film. This career change helped him to do great things with his career. His award-winning films include “Transmormon” (about a transgender member of the LDS faith), “Oxygen to Fly” (about a mute aspiring rapper), “Scavenger” (about a Thai trash collector), “Tarkio Balloon” (about his brother dying from SIDS), and “The Gospel According To Ralphael” (about an artist in the Salt Lake area). He has won multiple short film awards in Utah and Vimeo staff pick awards. In addition to film, Bernhard dabbles in hip hop music and writing. He has always consumed a lot of media and art, and since a young age has wanted to become more of a creator.

During his presentation, Bernhard talked about his film “The Gospel According to Ralphael.” It tells the story of an artist using an old warehouse for his art, and poses the question, “Why do we do what we do if it could be torn down at any time?” In the end, Bernhard says, “We all waste our life, it just is a matter of how we choose to do it.” He encourages all Copper Hills students to waste their life in a way that they can be passionate about. “Just do it. Get out and make whatever you want to make. Don’t wait for permission; don’t wait for money. Just do it.” Visit to watch his films and find inspiration for your creations.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
The Official Student Voice of Copper Hills High School
The Best Storytellers are Better Listeners