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Cal State LA Community Impact Media, Fall 2018. Photo: Heather Fipps
23 Jan 2019

Cal State LA and Hauser & Wirth Partner to Support Diversity in Filmmaking

Hauser & Wirth is proud to partner with Cal State LA, who today announced a grant of USD 1,000,000 from Hauser & Wirth to support the undergraduate Television, Film and Media Studies program. The gift is a major part of an ongoing five-year partnership between the university and the gallery, illustrating each organization’s shared commitment to advancing the use of film as a tool for social change and to developing a positive, lasting relationship with the LA community.  

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA is committed to engagement and service for the public good. The university is ranked number one in the nation for the upward mobility of its students, many of whom are first-generation college students.

The partnership began in 2017 with the creation of the course Community Impact Media. This innovative course provides student filmmakers with hands-on experience in media production and offers storytelling mentorship to guide them through creation of original short documentaries about the inspiring work of local nonprofit organizations.

About Cal State LA Community Impact Media

Now thriving in its third semester, over 50 students have participated in Community Impact Media, resulting in ten short documentaries about the work of nonprofits and initiatives that address issues such as homelessness, mass incarceration, and environmental justice. At the end of every semester, the students premiere their documentaries at Hauser & Wirth for the public. On the occasion of announcing the ongoing partnership, we look back at the last three semesters, hearing from the students and their experiences with the course.

‘This production taught me more than any classroom environment could have, and I think of it more as my first professional directing job.’

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Cal State LA Community Impact Media, Fall 2017. Photo: Heather Fipps

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Student Director Tiffany Washington, Cal State LA Community Impact Media Fall 2017. Photo: Sean Shim-Boyle

In the first iteration of Community Impact Media, which began Fall 2017, students focused on the meaningful work of LA-based nonprofits Piece by Piece, Learning Rights Law Center, My Friend’s Place, and Girls Today Women Tomorrow. Through collaborative workshops students learned how to share the stories of the nonprofits and the communities they serve. ‘I care about the undocumented community and I plan on creating minority inclusive films and television series.’ states Jennifer Delgado, student of Community Impact Media, ‘I want everyone to feel well represented without stereotypes.’

Additionally, the course paired students with established filmmakers and public relations professionals, who provided a wide range of feedback from editing, direction, and visual effects, to story building and marketing techniques. Andre Moore, student of Community Impact Media, notes the benefits of the hands-on teaching: ‘I have never touched a 4K camera before this class and now I know how to put one together, film with it, and edit the footage.’

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Cal State LA Community Impact Media, Spring 2018. Photo: Heather Fipps

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Cal State LA Community Impact Media, Spring 2018. Photo: Heather Fipps

For the Spring 2018 semester, students focused on the work of Cal State LA Prison Graduation Initiative, Project Rebound, and Youth Justice Coalition, three local initiatives that have been affected by funding constraints. The resulting documentaries from this semester were a call to action for public support – they communicate how these initiatives provide educational support for incarcerated people, combat recidivism, and impact juvenile and criminal justice policies. The organizations worked with the students to use these films in their fundraising and outreach activities.

Kelli Quock, student director of the Project Rebound documentary states the benefits of creating the film and its ability to raise awareness: ‘This experience has taught me about the direct impact that filmmaking can have in creating positive change within our communities. Working on this documentary was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences that I’ve had, and it has sparked some new inspiration by showing me that I’m able to create art that can help people and programs get their message out into the public.’

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Students at Cal State LA Community Impact Media Documentaries Premiere, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 15 December 2018. Photo: Sarah M. Golonka

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Cal State LA Community Impact Media Documentaries Premiere, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 15 December 2018. Photo: Sarah M. Golonka

The Fall 2018 semester drew attention to regional nonprofits that are developing solutions to address environmental challenges in California and beyond:  Green Technology, Grades of Green, and Communities for a Better Environment. The students worked directly with the organizations and received one-on-one mentorship from local filmmakers throughout the process of making the documentaries. By forming relationships with the organizations, students were able to gain professional experience outside the classroom. Sean Nesler, student direct of Green Technology states, ‘This production taught me more than any classroom environment could have, and I think of it more as my first professional directing job.’

Watch the student-directed films: 

Cal State LA Community Impact Media Fall 2018 Documentaries

Cal State LA Community Impact Media Spring 2018 Documentaries

Cal State LA Community Impact Media Fall 2017 Documentaries

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