Mariah Barrera, City High Middle School student, envisions a world with more empathy and fewer divides between people.

As the winner of the inaugural Spectrum Health Mosaic Mobile Student Film Competition, Mariah got the chance to sit down withOvell Barbee, diversity officer and senior vice president of human resources at Spectrum Health and Adam Russo, The Mosaic Film Experience, on The WGVU Morning Showwith Shelley Irwin to discuss her winning film in the Spectrum Health Mosaic Mobile Film Contest.

Shelley: Let’s talk to those doing great things on behalf of The Mosaic Film Experience. There’s a winner in the house, there’s a supporter in the house, and there is one certainly that is all about The Mosaic Film Experience. Let’s discuss, on behalf of Spectrum Health, Ovell Barbee, good that you are here.

Ovell: Thank you, Shelley. It’s really good to be here. We are excited to partner with The Mosaic Film Experience, part of our community engagement strategy, which is one of the pillars of my work as the Diversity Officer for Spectrum.

Adam: The Mosaic Film Experience is a nonprofit organization that uses the platform of digital media, to provide students, like Mariah, the opportunity to share their unique stories, and at the same time, provide them with the career preparedness skills… Things like creativity, critical thinking, collaboration. One of the ways that we do this is through our Mosaic Mobile film competitions…It’s really cool to see what they create. We have been holding this [mobile] film competition for about six years and this is the first time we’ve partnered with an outside organization, like Spectrum Health, to work with them and help them create and host their own unique Mosaic Mobile competition.

Ovell: We were excited to partner with The Mosaic Film Experience on many fronts. We have an emphasis on arts and culture, in terms of our community outreach and we felt that this would be a way to encourage students to utilize their creativity skills and really focus on being innovative with the parameters established… We were really pleased with the submitted videos as a result of the partnership.

Shelley: Very nice. So here we are, Mariah Barrera, City High Middle School and WMCAT as well. First prize, “Behind the Wall.” What’s your film about?

Mariah: Essentially the theme was ‘people first’ and when I think of ‘people first,’ I think of empathy. I used a wall in it [my film], and it’s about a little boy who goes to the wall and he has someone, like a mentor, on the other side of the wall. …Then he grows up and ends up being that mentor for someone else behind the wall. …Walls right now are kind of synonymous with divisiveness, and for me, I wanted to take that meaning and actually present walls or barriers in a metaphorical sense as an opportunity for people to have empathy and compassion. It’s almost like a domino effect. When someone shows compassion to someone in their lifetime, that person will be more susceptible to showing compassion to the next person later on in life… That’s kind of what I wanted the film to represent.

Watch Mariah’s winning short film,
Behind the Wall