Photo: Heather Fipps

Cal State LA Community Impact Media Spring 2019 Documentaries

On 19 May 2019, the Cal State LA Television, Film and Media Department’s Student Production Unit premiered four student-directed documentaries at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles.

The culmination of the course Community Impact Media, the spring semester documentaries showcased LA-based nonprofits dedicated to arts advocacy: Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory, Everybody Dance, Music Mends Minds, and Painted Brain.


Photo: Heather Fipps


Photo: Heather Fipps

During the course of the semester, student groups and their paired nonprofits collaborated to create short documentaries. The resulting films communicate how the local organizations use the arts as a means to encourage positive change across diverse audiences, from underserved youths and individuals with neurodegenerative diseases, to communities facing mental health challenges. As a call to action, the organizations plan to use these films to share their message to a wider network and to support fundraising activities.

HWLA CSLA MD 190504_0617

Photo: Mario de Lopez

HWLA CSLA MD 190504_0337

Photo: Mario de Lopez

Mentorship for this semester took shape in the form of expert feedback from film director Gina Angelone and Hammer curator Erin Christovale who joined the class for a special workshop session at the gallery. During this workshop, students received first-hand guidance from working professionals and learned new techniques to advance the stories of the nonprofits.

Andre Moore, student director of the Music Mends Minds documentary states the benefits of hands-on learning and professional mentorship:

‘For new filmmakers this is a great experience to learn because you get advice from professionals while going out and doing the work yourself. Before I took this class I did not even touch a 4K camera or know about that workflow, I have never worked with a client only my own personal projects, and I have never received as much advice from professionals. Everyone was supportive and helpful and I could not be more thankful.’

HWLA CSLA MD 190519_0349

Photo: Mario de Lopez

HWLA CSLA MD 190519_0180

Photo: Mario de Lopez

The partnership between Cal State LA and Hauser & Wirth began in fall 2017 with the development of the Community Impact Media course. This innovative course led by Professor Heather Fipps provides student filmmakers with hands-on experience and storytelling mentorship to guide them through creation of original short documentaries for different local nonprofits each semester, encouraging the students to reimagine film as a tool to catalyze social change.

View the student-directed documentaries:

Music Mends Minds, directed by Andre Moore

Everybody Dance!, directed by Zulema S.M Mirand

Painted Brain, directed by Luna Vargas

Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory, directed by Daniel Rivas

Related Resources