Skot Welch had never been to a film festival when he decided to start one.

Nine years later, Skot’s Mosaic Film Experience (Mosaic) is coming up on a decade of beautiful creativity that’s brought the hands-on world of filmmaking to an entire generation of West Michigan students.

Mosaic’s three programs are:

• The Mosaic Event: the annual headline event filled with workshops, networking, and keynote speakers from all over the film and digital media industries.

• Mosaic Mobile: a mobile film contest where students shoot, edit, and upload a thematically-based short film using only their mobile device.

• Mosaic Community: community collaborations with local educators, nonprofits, and other organizations all aimed at helping students succeed in media literacy and technology.

As Mosaic’s founder, Skot hopes the true lesson students take away is how to “exercise this muscle of problem-solving.”

“I didn’t even know what a film festival looked like, but I got people around me who had,” said Skot, who also serves as one of the Commissioners for the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office and President of Global Bridgebuilders, an international consulting firm that helps companies innovate through the creation, development and leveraging of diverse workplaces. “My goal was to create a more engaged pipeline of young entrepreneurs and employees. I saw filmmaking as a platform for a very high-level of problem-solving.”

From his own expertise of working in diversity and inclusion, Skot knew Michigan’s pipeline for talent was sorely lacking. He wanted to introduce students to people at the top of their game, making careers and opportunities many students didn’t even realize existed, feel attainable.

Over the past nine years, the annual Mosaic Event brought leading talent to Michigan, including the Costume Concept Artist from Black Panther, the Vice President, POS Strategy & Education from HBO, professionals from Spotify and YouTube, and local creative professionals and filmmakers.

Mosaic also focused on bringing in professionals of color, connecting students of color with talent they could see themselves in and showing them that the industry is not monolithic, but a mosaic of diversity.

“When we say ‘Mosaic,’ we mean it,” Skot said. “It’s about making sure that our young people are able to be up close and personal with the best of the best. Our goal is not necessarily to create the next Steven Spielberg or Spike Lee. Our goal is to create the next transformational leader and thinker.”

Many students who’ve attended the annual Mosaic Event and participated in the Mosaic Mobile film competition have gone on to win scholarships and work in creative industries, a fact Skot’s very proud of. He believes the reason Mosaic has remained successful over the years – other than the “amazing, over-the-top team of volunteers” – is because of how it’s designed to helping students achieve their own potential in practical ways.

“This is something that was started where young people are at the center, grownups are not,” he said. “We come in with the belief that our students are exceptional, they have way more capacity than people give them credit for, and if we can support, equip, and resource them lavishly, they can do great things.”

As the world becomes more digitally reliant, Skot believes an educational platform like The Mosaic Film Experience is only going to become more necessary for the success of today’s and tomorrow’s students. With media literacy growing more relevant than ever, he wants more sponsors and leaders to help fund Mosaic’s next step to bring its mission beyond the scope of West Michigan and reach the whole planet.

“This is not just some cute film program,” he said. “This is the training of the next problem solvers to lead and work within the global marketplace of the 21st century.”

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Mosaic Film Experience is going virtual. The event will be broadcast globally from 9 – 11:30 a.m., November 4 from Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

If you want to support and be part of this event, register here:

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