Film2Feature will celebrate its 2020 class of emerging filmmakers and with an upcoming virtual gala in November. Rachel Miller, the founder of the diversity-focused professional filmmaking program, said that as odd as times may be, the celebration of this year’s group of young creators couldn’t come at a better time.
“I couldn’t think of a more important time, truly as far as I’ve been alive, where our students’ voices need to be told and their stores need to be told by themselves for themselves,” Miller told Deadline.
The non-profit, which seeks to provide young filmmakers from underserved communities with the resources to jumpstart their film careers, will continue to highlight students’ accomplishments and connect them with industry figures at its Nov. 19 gala. However, process of getting to this point was far from normal this year, Miller said.
Coronavirus shutdowns prompted the annual program, which typically runs from March to November, to go virtual. To ensure that the eight month-long program ran as smoothly as possible, Film2Future provided its students fresh produce and the necessary gear (WiFi, headsets, cameras, etc.) to complete their projects. COVID-19 modifications, however, weren’t only in place during instruction.
The class of filmmakers created their short films in compliance with COVID-19 production protocols, which meant wearing layers of PPE and maintaining as much social distance as possible when filming. Miller said that while the appropriate measures might stump some industry veterans, the students’ drive to complete their projects is worth celebrating.
“I think teenagers are resilient and they’re eager to share their stories and share their voice,” she said. “I found my students, specifically, were open and ready for a challenge.”
While the COVID-19 restrictions brought out the young creators’ determination to complete their projects, Miller said the shutdown also gave students’ time to reflect on meaningful topics and allowed them the opportunity to express themselves. The virtual gala is set to premiere five shorts that explore varying subjects including as sexuality, grief and domestic abuse.
After witnessing how the filmmakers’ worked to complete their projects in the middle of a pandemic, Miller said she hopes that Film2Future’s students and the program itself will set Hollywood on a new path.
“There is this huge ability, especially from emerging film makers, to just make it work in whatever way they can,” she said. “They’re not stuck in any old system.”
The virtual Film2Future gala will take place November 19.
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