The Mosaic Film Experience will host its 10th annual Mosaic Event on Wednesday, November 3, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. EST. Event speakers include leading national creative professionals in film and digital media hailing from Los Angeles; New York; Columbus, Ohio; Berkeley, California; Mexico City; Detroit; and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Mosaic Event will broadcast live from Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids. Students from anywhere in the world can attend virtually for free.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve been building a network of industry professionals to open students’ eyes to prospective career journeys and develop the creativity, collaboration and critical thinking skills that are required to be successful in any field,” said Skot Welch, founder of the Mosaic Film Experience. “We are once again highlighting a variety of diverse voices for our young people, including the founders of the first Black-owned concept art studio and a rising filmmaker from New York with roots in Grand Rapids. These inspiring creatives are challenging the status quo and making a place for diverse voices in the world of storytelling.”

In addition to the lineup of industry professionals, the Mosaic Event also serves as the culmination of Mosaic Mobile, a short film competition where high school students create films that are entirely shot and edited on mobile devices. The top 10 finalists will be screened throughout the event and winners will be announced. First-place will win $1,000 plus a scholarship to the Interlochen Center for Arts. Second place will receive $500. Third place will collect $250. In addition, the Rick Wilson Memorial Award winner, which was determined by public vote, will win $500.

One notable speaker is Mariah Barrera, a 2019 City High-Middle School alumna who is returning to the Mosaic Event after winning first prize at the Mosaic Mobile competition in 2017 and 2019. Barrera has been recognized with more than 30 awards for her art, including the 2021 National YoungArts Foundation Finalist Winner in the Film category. Her films contextualize social justice and equity themes through the lens of her family’s experiences in the urban Midwest.

A sophomore at Columbia University in New York, Barrera was awarded a Still I Rise Films fellowship for her short film “My Brother’s Keeper.” With help from the fellowship grant, Barrera expanded the film. “My Brother’s Keeper” has been selected to be screened at the 2021 DOC NYC film festival beginning on November 10.

“The Mosaic Film Experience gave me the confidence that, even as a young person, I have the power and means to tell my stories. That motivated me to apply for film programs and fellowships that I otherwise wouldn’t have,” said Barrera. “I feel so grateful to come back as a presenter and use my experiences to encourage students to pursue their creative endeavors, especially in a world that tells them to do otherwise.”

2021 Mosaic Event speakers include:

Founders of Los Angeles-based 9B Collective, the first Black-owned concept art studio. 9B Collective has worked with Netflix, Marvel, Lucas Films Ltd., Hulu and HBO.

Rolando Gonzalez, the creative director of the Mexcio City-based agency Runente. Rolando manages branding and museum projects using augmented reality, interactivity, installations, animation, virtual reality and video mapping.

Julien and Justen Turner, filmmakers and co-owners of Columbus, Ohio-based Dreadhead Films. The Turner brothers have produced works for Sesame Street, Nike, Air Jordan, and Amazon.

Robert Butler, the founder of Detroit-based Easy Breezy Productions

Lisa Oliver-King, Krista Suh and Andola Mathis, co-founders of Los Angeles-based Branch Out Productions, a company that is advancing diversity in the entertainment industry within the state of Michigan

Mimi Chakarova, a Bulgarian-American photographer and filmmaker and founder of Berkeley, California-based Still I Rise Films, a series of films directed and produced by women about ordinary people who, against all odds, continue to strive for dignity and justice

“My students have loved [the Mosaic Event] for the past seven years we have been attending. It has also been one of my favorites as an educator,” said Meagan Whittle, visual arts teacher, City High-Middle School. “We appreciate the opportunities you provide through the Mosaic Mobile competition, the inspiration from voices historically underrepresented and the passion this ignites in students to explore new ways of expressing their own creativity and voices.”

For more information about the Mosaic Event and to register, visit



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