In 2020, Xiangyu Chen blended his interests in science and art to win a first-place prize in the 2020 Mosaic Mobile film competition. His short film “Possibility of Success” showcased Xiangyu’s love of math. It also challenged his family’s ideas of what they considered a safe career path for their son.

As the grand prize winner, Xiangyu was awarded $1,000. The win also provided mentoring sessions with Adobe professionals and the possibility of his work being screened at the 2021 Adobe Max conference.

“It’s especially important to have a second or third person to look at your film and your work and give you feedback,” Xiangyu said. “Having an expert in the industry giving that feedback was really valuable.”

The top three Mosaic Mobile winners also won a three-week summer course on Film & New Media at Interlochen Center for the Arts. It allowed Xiangyu the exposure to interact with other students as passionate about film as he is.

“We learned about screenwriting, we learned about editing, we learned about cinematography,” Xiangyu said. “And we got to work with industry standard equipment. So that was really an awesome experience.”

Xiangyu is now a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania. His love of math will come in handy as he is majoring in mechanical engineering. Xiangyu isn’t done making movies just yet. He will also be minoring in film.

“It takes creativity to make film. It also takes creativity to engineer. For film, I’m using my creativity to project my imagination,” Xiangyu said. “For engineering, I’m using my creativity by making that dream real in the real world.”

Mosaic Mobile is our annual mobile filmmaking contest. High school students shoot and edit a short film on their mobile devices. The films are between 2-3 minutes in length. The requirements for the short films are open-ended to encourage student’s creativity.

Mosaic Mobile is making the filmmaking process more equitable by empowering students to create films on phones and tablets rather than more expensive gear. The competition puts the focus on the story and on the storyteller.

“Humans are creative creatures. We can all make something wonderful,” Xiangyu said. “Mosaic’s mission allows students to go past that stigma that they need all that high-end equipment and think about the story, think about the message.”

What advice does Xiangyu have for this year’s competitors? He has a few thoughts.

“Start from themselves. Reflect upon themselves, “Xiangyu said. “See what they value and believe in and try and expand upon that in the film.”

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