MARCH 2021

Film at Mason Stands with our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Community

"Over the past few days I’ve found myself at a loss for words at the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes. The racist, verbal and physical assaults have left my community fearful to step outside. These hate crimes have spiked since COVID and continue to increase even though we ask for help, even though we ask our fellow Americans to be outraged for us, even though we ask for more mainstream media coverage. To simply exist as a minority in this country is seen as a protest to some. We need help amplifying the outrage. We need help to feel safe in our country. We need help to be safe in our country."

While she felt at "a loss for words," Olivia Munn's words are everything. Writing on Instagram on February 10, before the murders in Atlanta, Olivia Munn -- along with many others -- identified the increase in violence for what it is, underlined what's at stake, and asked for support.

What happened in Atlanta ignited the attention of the rest the nation and the world, including media. The history of this racist trauma is long and deep. This history is intersectional, violent, and painful. It's bolstered by media, and by political and educational institutions. It's history that is ever present.

Film at Mason supports our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community members. We are outraged, and we are committed to amplifying the outrage. We must work against racism, to be aware and to create awareness of its many contexts and effects. But it is not enough to be aware. We can speak out, we can intervene. Artists have a particular part in this work. We respond to and shape our cultures, often at the same time. In the stories we tell, we can be anti-racist, actively, persistently, and effectively. We can work to make everyone feel safe.

In a recent letter to students, Vice President for University Life Rose Pascarell and Interim Vice President for Compliance, Diversity and Ethics, & Special Advisor to the President Dietra Y. Trent addressed hate crimes against people of Asian descent.

President Washington: We stand with our Asian community after senseless act of violence in Atlanta.
Visiting Filmmakers Series Online:

Black Lives Matter

The Visiting Filmmakers Series (VFS) is online this spring.  Since 1995, the Series, curated by Interim Program Director Cynthia Fuchs, has featured a variety of films and guests at the Fairfax campus. This semester, the Series is focused on social justice, racial equality, and Black Lives Matter. 
For more information and to register for the Series on Zoom, click on the below images. The Visiting Filmmakers Series is free and open to the public.
Joyce Sherri with “Beauty” and "Forever"
Friday, March 26, 2021 6:00 PM EST

Award-winning Filmmaker and Virginia native Joyce Sherrí earned her MFA in Filmmaking from the Tisch Graduate Film program at New York University in 2016. Mentored by Kasi Lemmons, she made “Beauty,” a Southern gothic reimagining of “The Beauty and The Beast.” Host: O.Funmilayo Makarah, a member of the legendary LA Rebellion.

Ekwa Msangi with Farewell Amor
Wednesday, April 7, 2021 6:00 PM EST 
Ekwa Msangi’s award-winning and critically acclaimed feature film Farewell Amor premiered in competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Farewell Amor tells the story of Walter and his family, reunited after 17 years apart, when he is forced to leave Angola for New York City.  Host: Maori Karmael Holmes, founder of BlackStar Film Festival.

Donovan Jones, Film at Mason alumnus 2018
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 7:00 PM EST
Watch live on the Center for the Arts webpage, Center for the Arts Facebook page, or on YouTube.

Join Donovan Jones, a Mason alumnus and a 2020 winner of the Young Alumni Creative Development Award, for a presentation of the music video, “Do Better,” and a live conversation about this work, as well as his general advice to young filmmakers. Host: Hans Charles, Film at Mason.

Student Advisory Council Workshops 

The Film at Mason Student Advisory Council will be hosting several virtual workshops throughout the semester. Meet with fellow film students and get your questions answered by Film at Mason staff, faculty, and alumni. Topics include resume building, job searching, film festival strategies and more! Check your Mason email for Zoom links.

Chesapeake Film Festival: The Journey of a Hollywood Idea Virtual Speaker Series

Aspiring filmmakers wondering how to get their film made, seasoned pros and film enthusiasts alike, are invited to get some online face time with five of Hollywood’s most knowledgeable studio executives.  Explore the five stages of Hollywood production in an exciting new seminar created in partnership with The Oxford Community Center and The Chesapeake Film Festival. The Journey of a Hollywood Idea, a virtual two-day interactive speaker series is set for April 17 and 18, 2021.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the workshop will be online both days.    

Tickets are $75 for the two-day series.  Student tickets are available for $60.   

*Note: Film at Mason board member Ted Adams has a limited number of free tickets available on a first come, first served basis. For those interested, email Sam Beach Sinagra at with your name and email address.

EDIT Media Roundtable
Film and Media Education: The Student Perspective

Friday, March 26, 2021
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST

Hear from students – undergraduates, graduate students, and recent grads – about their experiences studying film and media at a variety of institutions. What do they wish we, as faculty, better understood about their needs and goals? What have instructors done well to encourage their success and confidence? What adversity have students encountered? What barriers have programs thrown up, unwittingly or not? What would they like to see instructors and programs do better for all students? Join us for this invigorating conversation which will include an open Q&A at the end.

Registration is required. Register at:

For more information, visit EDIT Media's website.

Film at Mason

Script Lab

Interested in getting feedback from fellow storytellers? Bring your script and story ideas to the Film at Mason Script Lab on Friday, April 2nd at 3 PM EST. Students and the film community are welcome. Check your Mason email for Zoom link information.

Faculty Achievements

Professor Hans Charles (Cinematographer) and Professor Russell Santos (Digital Imaging Technician) recently worked on set of the film Death Saved My Life. They worked as well with Film at Mason alum Meagan Arnold ’18, as Camera Operator. The movie, loosely based on true events, took four months to complete from start to finish. It premiered on Lifetime on February 13 and stars Meagan Good and Chiké Okonkwo. Watch the trailer here.
Further congratulations to Professor Charles, who is credited as cinematographer on the award-winning documentary, Mr. Soul! Featured in our Visiting Filmmakers Series last semester, Mr. Soul! has been sweeping awards this season, including Best First Documentary Feature by the Critics Choice Documentary Awards. The documentary had a recent PBS broadcast. You can check out the full film on the PBS website here

Alumni Achievement

Film at Mason alumna Erica Reynolds Marchenko ‘13 is in her 6th year of teaching grades 9-12 at Patrick Henry High School in Hanover County. She teaches Introduction to Mass Communications, Television and Media Production II, Television and Media Production III, Television and Media Production IV, and a 2-year IB Film course. After graduation, she worked as a production assistant and trained to be a producer at NBC12 in Richmond, VA. Then her high school broadcast teacher called her and asked if Erica would be interested in teaching. She now teaches everything from the history of broadcasting and video production to film analysis. 
Alumna Katy Crain ’18 was featured in The George talking about her experience in the Film at Mason program and how it prepared her for her career at a number one talent agency in Los Angeles. After graduation, Katy landed a production assistant gig working on Wonder Woman 1984, which led her to move out to Los Angeles, where she pursued her desire to work in the film industry. To learn more about Katy’s experience and find out more information on our Television Business and Producing Concentration, read the full article here.

Filmmaker Fridays

March is Women's History Month. We are highlighting the work and legacy of women filmmakers and their impact on society and the history of art. Check out our social media pages.
Chloe Zhao is a Chinese filmmaker who became the first Asian woman to win the Golden Globe for Best Director, for her new film Nomadland (which also won Best Motion Picture-Drama). Zhao is also only the second woman to ever win Best Director at the Golden Globes in the program's 78-year history. She is now nominated for a Best Director Academy Award. She is directing Marvel Studios’ "Eternals," which is expected to release later this year.
Jac Schaeffer is a writer, director, and producer, who is best known for being the showrunner on the hit Disney+ series, WandaVision. Her sci-fi rom-com film, "TIMER," debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009. She is also a writer of the new Marvel film, Black Widow, which is slated to release on May 7th of this year.

Radha Blank is a writer and filmmaker who's worked on the Netflix series, She's Gotta Have It and Empire, but is best known for writing and directing her 2020 film, The Forty-Year-Old Version, in which she also stars. The film has been nominated for numerous awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actress. The Forty-Year-Old Version won the Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay and the Vanguard Award from the Sundance Institute.

Film Opportunities and Resources

Learning Resources
  • Current is sponsoring an online Public Media Career Fair on March 31. Fifty-six public radio and TV stations (and NPR, PBS APM) will be recruiting. To see a list of companies and to register, visit here.

Open Submissions
  • HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries is a short film competition sponsored by HBO that provides emerging directors of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent the opportunity to showcase their work. Submissions will be accepted until April 1st. For more information, visit HBO Visionaries website

  • Film submissions for the DC Palestinian Film & Arts Festival 2021 are now open. The festival showcases the diverse and creative work of Palestinian filmmakers. Submissions are due by May 31st. For mor information, visit their website.

  • National Academy of Television Arts and Science’s National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter is accepting applications for scholarships! Undergraduate students are eligible to apply. The deadline is Thursday, April 15th. For more information, visit here.

  • The Annual Flamingo Film Festival is calling for films. The festival is dedicated to exhibiting the international short films and videos produced by student filmmakers. Submission deadline is April 11th. To submit your film and learn more, visit their FilmFreeway page.

  • MACRO and The Black List have teamed with Warner Bros. Pictures to launch The MACRO x The Black List Feature Screenwriter Incubator, a new initiative that offers writers of color the opportunity to develop a film idea to pitch to a WB executive. The mission of the program is to discover and empower the next generation of writers in the studio system with creative tools, resources, and the access needed to help launch their careers by providing development and financial support. Submissions are due by August 1st. One screenwriter will be chosen to receive $10,000 to further develop their idea. Read about it here.

Film Festivals & Conferences
  • The Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world. The festival is free and available online until May 2021. To watch films, visit the festival website.
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