Students from four Grand Rapids high schools have planned, directed, shot and produced “Breathe, a public service announcement (PSA) in support of the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss’ Mayor’s Greening Initiative – launched to help the city reach its goal of a 40 percent tree canopy.  The PSA will premiere at the July 7 Movies in the Park screening of “Mrs. Doubtfire” (7 p.m.) and “Forrest Gump” (9:30 p.m.) at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.

“I had a sneak peek at the PSA and I was truly impressed with what our talented students created,” Mayor Bliss said. “I am encouraged that students are rallying around the Mayor’s  Greening Initiative and that so many of our great community organizations are supporting our youth.”

The Mosaic Film Experience facilitated the collaboration between the students, video production professionals and the City of Grand Rapids.

“This creative community collaboration was a result of an ongoing conversation between The Mosaic Film Experience and Mayor Bliss about how we can activate our city’s young people, engage them with real-world learning opportunities in digital media and engage them in sustainability,” said Skot Welch, founder of The Mosaic Film Experience.

In April, Mayor Bliss met with Gorilla, Carbon Stories and students who are enrolled in the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology’s afterschool program to discuss the greening initiative.  During the meeting, Mayor Bliss challenged the students to create something that encourages others to get involved.

Students represented City High, Grand Rapids Montessori, Innovation Central and CA Frost high schools.

The students met with Gorilla and Carbon Stories multiple times throughout April and May to develop creative and pre-production concepts.  Gorilla provided video equipment and engaged local professionals to volunteer.  Lowing Lighting and Grip provided lights and additional equipment.  Carbon Stories collaborated with students on developing creative ideas and produced a behind-the-scenes video of the process.

“After meeting with Mayor Bliss, the students were very inspired to create the PSA.  Our role was simply to provide technical education about the tools they were using, serve as professional mentors and then get out of their way.” said Eric Johnson, owner of Gorilla.

After the video was filmed, the students engaged with Gorilla on the post-production phase, which included editing the footage and reviewing music and color correction.

“It was an amazing experience to see our vision for the video come to life,” said Mariah Barrera, senior at City High and director Breathe.

In addition to the July 7 premiere, Breathe will be featured at the remaining 2017 Movies in the Park events.

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