A uniquely inspirational 2020 Mosaic Event is in the books for hundreds of students across the country. Due to COVID-19, the Mosaic Film Experience (MFE) brought its annual event online to ensure students could both practice social distancing and still engage with world-class creative and digital media talent.

MFE, which celebrates a decade of celebrating filmmaking, digital media, and experiential learning next year, held its 9th annual Mosaic Event from 9 – 11:30 a.m. on November 4. The event was broadcast globally from Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In addition to a star-studded lineup of speakers, the event also showcased the winners of Mosaic Mobile 2020, MFE’s annual film competition where students shoot, edit, and submit a short film all on their mobile devices.

“This is clearly an interesting year, and we remain focused on the long-term because we believe in the importance of gathering around stories,” said Emily Loeks, Director of Community Affairs at Celebration! Cinema.

Hundreds of students from high schools and universities across the United States streamed the event live via Zoom and YouTube. Additionally, students from Grand Rapids Public Schools participated in an interactive watch party on November 13.

During the event, MFE announced a pair of new programming initiatives.

First, the Mosaic Youth Advisory Council seeks to empower high school students to learn about the creative landscape locally and nationally, collaborate with others to design a youth-centered program for future Mosaic Events, and influence the ways in which Mosaic connects to the community. Additionally, MFE previewed an online program coming in 2021 that provides quality digital workshops and collaboration opportunities to expanded audiences in new ways.

Many of the 2020 Mosaic Event speakers were introduced with a quick video, then interviewed by Mosaic Founder Skot Welch. Students submitted questions for the speakers over Zoom. Students will have a chance to win the new PlayStation 5 by answering Mosaic trivia questions on social media in November.

Mosaic Event speakers stressed the importance of students taking control of their creativity now, while they’re in high school.

Carlos Rosas, the chief of production at MUV – a transmedia company headquartered in Mexico City, shared with students how his love of animation started when he saw “Toy Story” as a child, encouraging students to think not just about jobs as the talent in front of a camera, but behind it too.

“I remember telling my mother, ‘Someday I want to be the guy creating this,” he said. “I think that is the most inspiring part of animation; you can create whatever is on your mind. You’re not limited by anything.”

One of the student’s favorite speakers was Costume Concept Artist Phillip Boutte Jr., who showcased his sizzle real from his costume designs for films like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Captain Marvel,” and “Black Panther.”

Philip used a video demonstration to walk students through a character design process using thumbnail sketches, 3D modeling, and photoshop.

“You can see that it’s really about building the mainframe of the character and then figuring out what looks good and what makes sense,” he said. “I wanted to show you the finished process.”

His work let students see the face behind the art and realize it’s a face that could be theirs someday.

This year’s Mosaic Event overcame the digital challenges of bringing the entire experience online. At the end of the day, it succeeded, giving students life- and career-impacting lessons in creativity.

“It exciting for me to watch ‘the lightbulb’ turn on for a young person,” Welch said. “Let’s help push our young people to the next level.”

New for 2020, Mosaic Event speaker presentations will be available on-demand via MFE website and YouTube channel.



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