Bursts of applause and cheers erupted from high school students at a showing of the “T-Rex” documentary during ArtPrize, an enthusiasm organizers hope will lead them to explore careers in the film industry.
“T-Rex” is the against-all-odds story of Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, a then 17-year-old girl from Flint who won the Olympic gold medal for women’s boxing in 2012, the first year the competition was included in the Olympics. It is an entry in ArtPrize, and in the Waterfront Film Festival being held in conjunction with ArtPrize.
About 400 Grand Rapids Public Schools students saw the film at the Ladies Literary Club in Grand Rapids on Sept. 25.
Skot Welch, founder of the Mosaic Film Experience, hopes what might have seemed like a way of getting out of class for a Friday field trip changes some of the students’ lives. Showing them the film was meant to get them to think about a profession they might not have known about, he said. Welch encouraged students to learn even more by entering the Mosaic Mobile 2015 film festival for students.
“A film festival made sense,” he said. “It has all the education disciplines: science, history, math, reading, teamwork and collaboration.”
The Waterfront Film Festival and the Mosaic Film Experience arranged the educational screening of the edgy, inspirational film that showed what determination and confidence can do.
Seeing it made the students part of a small group of people across the nation who have watched the award-winning documentary film, which so far only has been shown at film festivals.
After the movie ended, students were surprised with a Skype appearance by Shields, who is training for the 2016 Olympics.
The upcoming Mosaic Mobile 2015 film festival is open to students from all schools in Michigan. They are required to make a two-minute film using a cell phone or tablet, and diversity must be one of the topics of the film.
The videos will be shown at the Wealthy Theatre Nov. 5 and 6.
The Mosaic Film Experience is a volunteer group that teaches youth how to tell stories on filmwhile introducing them to the industry’s careers. It offers workshops on subjects like filmmaking and scriptwriting from professionals in the field.
“T-Rex” has been creating a buzz and winning awards since being shown at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March in Austin, Texas. It was selected as one of five pieces of ArtPrize’s time-based category short list for prizes and is one of 20 finalists in ArtPrize for the grand prize.