One Day in San Diego

Meet the Ambassadors: Cy Kuckenbaker

Landings at San Diego Int Airport Nov 23, 2012 from Cy Kuckenbaker on Vimeo.

Cy Kuckenbaker is another on of our One Day in San Diego ambassadors. Recently, his "Landings at San Diego Int. Airport" video went viral, getting over 4 million views. He has traveled the world and produced some fantastic work showcasing the way people live in different places. He is currently working on a project called "the San Diego Studies" which, in a way, researches the way San Diegians live their lives. The most recent addition to this series is a composite of 4 minutes of San Diego traffic condensed and organized each car by color. It is an extremely interesting way to look at how we live here in San Diego. He also teaches at San Diego City College.

Who are you and what is your profession?
I'm a filmmaker, photographer and teacher. My film/video work is diverse in terms of genre but at the core of all of it is an ethnography impulse. I'm interested in large scale socio/political phenomenon and people. 

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing?
I grew up in Arizona, Central California, Texas and Alaska. I studied filmmaking first at Southwestern College then SDSU. After school I joined the Peace Corps and worked as a school teacher in Lithuania  I did my graduate film studies at CalArts following Peace Corps. I went back to Lithuania as a Fulbrighter then worked in Baghdad for two years before returning to San Diego. I'm currently adjunct faculty at SD City College. While abroad I also spent months in Malawi, Africa and have a special interest in that society.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
My father is a story teller and it's something I've always been interested in.

Who or what do you most admire?
Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Joseph Heller and Agnes Varda. 

What do you love about San Diego?
I've called San Diego home for twenty years now. I love this town for all the obvious reasons, but San Diego is also puzzle for me. I'm intrigued that a place with such a simple outward identity hides so many secrets.

What do you fear most for San Diego?
I think that our city has an under developed self-narrative that caters to a unique complacence. 

What do you hope for San Diego in the next 20 years?
I'd love to see the creative community develop a reputation such that claiming the city becomes an asset: Made in San Diego.


Check out more of Cy's work:

Sign up to participate on April 26th at

Have questions for Cy? Comment below.

Join the Conversation: What are San Diego's best kept secrets?

Email me when people comment –

You need to be a member of One Day on Earth to add comments!

Join One Day on Earth