Programs Thu 8.7.2014

Project Involve Kicks Off Free Screening Series in South Central


This summer, Film Independent and Project Involve are bringing independent film to South Central Los Angeles with Summer Movie Nights, free community screenings presented in collaboration with A Place Called Home (APCH), a dynamic youth center in the neighborhood that offers a range of educational programs, along with counseling and mentorship for youth from 8 to 21.

Last week, the series kicked off at APCH when 270 people arrived, mostly children with their families—many in colorful pajama pants with fluffy blankets in tow. Everyone settled in to enjoy a fun and festive evening in a safe environment. Prior to night’s feature presentation of The Lego Movie, Project Involve Fellow Rachel Rosenberg screened her short, Rosita Lopez For President, which she made while participating in the program. Following the short, APCH youth showcased their short film projects as well. Several media arts students (ages 8-15) had worked for the past three months creating their own short films. The kids did everything from acting to editing and their films displayed an impressive amount of creativity. During a Q&A one student described what a wonderful time she had making the films, and how much she would miss everything.

During Rosenberg’s Q&A, she described what an incredible experience Project Involve was and how highly she would recommend it to any filmmaker who’s likely to be impacted by the lack of diversity in the industry. (Project Involve is an artist development program open only to filmmakers from communities under-represented in the industry: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, women and LGBT.) Rachel mentioned how exciting it was to be screening her film at A Place Called Home, and how lovely it would be to get the reactions from the audience, which included more children than she had screened it for in the past. (The story focuses on a young girl’s political aspirations.) One student asked how long it took her to make the film, and she told him that they wrote for a few weeks, shot in four days, and edited it in a month, which was “super fast.”

A child interested in acting asked how long it took Rachel to find her lead actress. Rachel said it took her a month, with the help of a friend who is a casting director. Because of the hours she knew the actress would have to put in, she had to hire a 20 year old, to play the bubbly 14-year-old character. She knew that the actress had to be “someone who could handle it.”  Another student asked what Rachel’s inspirations were for the film. She responded by explaining that Project Involve has a prompt, and theirs was democracy in California. She wanted to illustrate the “power of democracy,” and she wanted the character to be young, because she feels, “they have the power to make that change.”

The next free community screening is 8 pm Friday, August 8 at Gilbert Lindsay Park, 425 E. 42nd Place. The Lego Movie will be showing again, preceded by another Project Involve short, To The Bone. Filmmaker Erin Li and her cast will be on hand for a Q&A.

Kaia Brink Placa / Intern Blogger