Class Visit Turns into Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

FSSA film senior, Jianna Kristine on set.

Her life would have been completely different if Derrick Cameron, Artistic Director at Ghetto Film School (GFS), did not visit her school, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), one day during sophomore year. She was a young aspiring filmmaker, but struggling to find her journey. Little did she know after receiving this new information about this exciting, rigorous, film program that she would meet her life long friends and potential future soulmate.

Jianna Kristine is currently a senior student at FSSA and is pursuing her passion and doing what she loves everyday as a film major.

However, she wanted more experience as a filmmaker. She looked into committing to a 30-month program of intense, hard-working classes that could help enhance her film knowledge and skills at the GFS in the Bronx. She accepted the challenge.

In the first year at GFS, students are required to attend during the summer, Monday-Thursday from 10am-6pm. Currently, she has to attend GFS on Wednesdays from 4:30pm-6pm and Saturdays from 10pm-5pm. Even though she doesn’t attend classes there everyday, she is still working on projects at home and in school alongside with her other homework.

Her first accomplishment at GFS was when she got the opportunity to write, direct, and shoot her own film and have it screened at the Landmark Theatre on West 57th St. in Manhattan. Ten films were selected and three were given $1,000 cash prizes and hers happened to be one of them. Her film was titled, “Of Hope and Grievances” and from there her journey began.

Jianna is currently collaborating with The Frick Collection as an editor for a film that her crew shot with the museum. Also, she is also working on a commercial for the brand, Sprite. Opportunities like this would have not come up if it weren’t for the Ghetto Film School.

Her next unit is an internship course and she hopes to receive a job relating to writing, editing, or as a director of photography. Jianna hopes to obtain one of these positions so she can learn new experiences and grow from her mentors along the way.

Ghetto Film School has its own production company called, Digital Bodega, where Jianna hopes to get a job. Even if she does not get a job there, she feels confident enough in the resume this program has helped her build  to land her a job somewhere else in the same field.

At the end of the program, Jianna will have full access to all of GFS’s equipment, which she can use whenever she wants to create whatever she wants. This will help her as an aspiring filmmaker with a short budget.

“In terms of friends, I’ve been able to connect with a bunch of people that are as passionate about film as I am. They love and care for the craft and want to be as much of a part of that world as I do,” Jianna stated.

Being able to connect with teens around the same age as you who also have the same passion and mindset is something Jianna is glad she found while attending the program. She even met her current boyfriend who is also an editor and writer just like Jianna.

“Most of my friends now feel like family since I spend so much time with them,” Jianna said.

– by Gabriella Yarczower19

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