The One Race Foundation is dedicated to fostering the skills and talents of our students and providing them with a foundation upon which to build a meaningful career in filmmaking, so we are always thrilled to be able to share personal updates from our amazing students with our dedicated supporters.
Here is one such letter from Suleiman Salem (Palestine, SII 2011):
I hope you and your loved ones are doing well and that this reaches you in the best of health and tranquility.
I want to thank you and everyone involved in ORGFF for everything. I know I should have sent this earlier, but the impact of the entire trip just hit me.
When I came back from Dominican Republic, I switched one of my majors to Media & Information, Michigan State University's newest film major, with a concentration in TV, Cinema, and Radio. They invested x-million dollars into their new official "Media Sandbox". I never got an opportunity to work with any type of filming, television studios, etc. - and I had switched my majors thrice in the past because I liked and was skilled in so many fields (and I say this with utmost humility). So when ORGFF gave me that opportunity, I realized how much I loved the field and how useful it was for my future intentions. I discussed it with my family, some friends, a few directors with similar backgrounds to mine (Muslim American), and one whose film was actually chosen at Sundance Film Festival. I switched my major officially and enjoyed every class I took so far.
We covered camera basics that I had learned in DR, lighting, sound; we had small exercises to do with the cameras to focus on each element. Then for a final, we had to either make a music video or an interview-type film. I went around MSU campus interviewing different students about their thoughts on Islam and Muslims. The film went viral for a few hours, it was shared about 50 times on Facebook, then I took it down because of an audio issue that my professor later helped me fix. My group member lost points on the only thing I warned him about, lighting. I'm going to reupload the film again in a few days.
In the past 5 months, I've helped and worked with people in the community and distant friends with film editing, audio, and aftereffects. I haven't enjoyed anything in school as much as this and I have great plans for the future. I've already spoken to a father's friend who owns a tv studio that sells content to cable companies and might visit him at the end of the year for a winter internship. I've also taken 20 credits last semester and this semester and although I changed majors, I should be done in two more semesters if all goes according to plan. I've also been running my own businesses on the side, one individual and one with a close friend, and have been doing really well, so I've managed to focus on media and information and working simultaneously.
I feel like I've rambled a bit, but I just wanted to update you on how things were going with me. I really, really enjoyed everything ORGFF organized and - in regards to conflict-stricken countries - I've given a lot of people in the community a bit of a different insight on how we should think and act towards people opposing us. I give sermons and lead interfaith discussions with a crowd of about 700-1200 at times, again with all humility, and the topic of forgiveness has never meant more to me than after the 6-week program in DR.
I hope all is well with you and your loves ones and I'll try to stay in touch more often! I did intend to visit in the summer but I had to resolve some issues with university housing and didn't get the chance after the semester began. Hopefully soon!
Again, from the bottom of my heart - thank you for everything!
ORF Founder, Vin Diesel, will be honored with a tribute as a film icon, a contributor to the development of the Dominican film industry, and as a promoter of the Summer Intensive Institute / Global Filmmaking for Peace and Development program - an initiative developed and realized by One Race Global Film Foundation and FUNGLODE with the support of the UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
For more information on this tribute, please visit the Dominican Republic Film Festival website here.
Violeta Lockhart’s “Cara // Escudo” is one of the 11 finalist of the 3rd short films competition at the Dominican Republic Film Festival 2011. Nearly 100 shorts were submitted, 44 were selected and 11 made it to the finals. “Cara //Escudo” will be playing throughout the festival. The 3 winners will be announced on Sunday, November 20th.
For more information on the festival, please visit the festival website here.
You can also watch Violeta's SII Short film, Permiso, here.
Moises won the 2011 “Yo amo el Cine” (I love Cinema) contest, which is part of the DR Global Film Festival 2011. Participants had to make a 2 minute unedited creative video establishing what cinema meant to them, the importance of the festival to the country and their film industry and why they wanted to be part of the festival in 2011. Moises won an Ipod, access to online film contests on video2brain; and received tickets to all screenings and festival workshops. Moises will be a guest of honor at the opening night of the festival.
Watch Moises' winning video here.
Cesar Leon, from the 2006 Summer Intensive Institute, will make his debut as a scriptwriter at the opening night of the DR Global film Festival 2011(November 16th), with the film “Jaque Mate.”
The film tells the story of a TV host, David, who is surprised by a viewer’s call claiming he has kidnapped his wife and son. Jaque Mate, directed by Jose Maria Cabral, who also co-wrote the script, is filled with Dominican and Caribbean talent.
For more information on the opening night festivities, visit the Dominican Republic film festival website here.
For more informaiton on Jaque Mate, visit the film website here.
Marcel Founder (SII 2007)
On June 30th, 2011 SII Alum Marcel Founder won the “Dominicans Have Talent,” first shorts writing contest sponsored by The Indomina Group. The contest was presented at the 2010 DR Global Film Festival and was created to inspire young Dominican talent to write and produce films. Marcel was awarded $15,000.00 towards the production of his film plus the opportunity to participate in various film workshops.
You can get more information on the Dominicans Have Talent competition here.