Sat. Jun 10th, 2023

“At the core, the programs are designed to provide youth with new economic pathways and the tools to share their voices with the world,” said Liliane Calfee, a faculty member at DePaul and director of the program. She and others from the university will serve as chaperones and guides. 

Chaz Ebert, president and CEO of Ebert Digital and the film criticism website, lived in CHA housing as a girl and has been a longtime supporter of Become a Filmmaker. She sparked the idea to send students to film festivals and is co-sponsoring the trip.

“This is the type of transformational experience that breaks the sky wide open for what is possible,” Ebert said. “It is also an opportunity for them to feel that they are welcome and worthy of all spaces, even the most prestigious film festival in the world.”

Chaz Ebert. Photo by Jeff Carrion / DePaul University.

Along with crowdfunding, DePaul, CHA’s nonprofit partner, Springboard to Success (S2S), and Elevated Films Chicago are sponsoring the trip. Adding to the fairytale, Chicago celebrity designer Barbara Bates will provide each student with a custom red-carpet look. And while the students are looking forward to international adventures (and croissants), their focus is steadfast on filmmaking.

“This trip will be a really good opportunity to see what film could be for me and what type of career I could have,” Gullette said. “As young, Black filmmakers, the universe of possibilities in film for us is so bright.”

Together, the trio recently celebrated the completion of “I Am Not Your Token,” a short film written and co-directed by Gullette, 18. It is the program’s first professionally produced narrative short film; others have been documentaries. Over the course of 16 minutes, a Black high school student’s internal conflict with adapting her identity to keep her place among the popular kids is tested when her ex-best friend becomes the target of their not-so-subtle racism.

By admin