We were honored to attend the screening of 16yr old Anthony Conti’s “The Black Ghiandola” this past weekend at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We left the event in awe of Anthony’s creativity and inspired by his strength and courage. We encourage all to learn more about Make a Film Foundation and how it exists to empower young filmmakers with serious or life-threatening illnesses by teaming them up with esteemed actors, writers, directors and producers to help young filmmakers create “film legacies”. According to Tamika Lamison, founder and executive director of MAFF, “Make A Film Foundation teams critically ill children with notable actors, directors, producers and writers. We believe that the art of filmmaking not only helps children make a personal statement about what they are going through, but it is also offers them a sense of hope, while also building their self-esteem.”

The Black Ghiandola is about a boy who risks his life to save a young girl he has grown to love – after his family has been killed in an apocalyptic world of Zombies. Anthony starred in the project along with Johnny Depp, J.K. Simmons, Laura Dern, David Lynch, Chad L. Coleman, Richard Chamberlain, Penelope Ann Miller, Keith Allan, Jade Pettyjohn and Pritesh Shah. The film was directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures) and Sam Raimi (Spiderman Trilogy).

At the event, J.K. Simmons was honored with a the MAFF Mentorship Award for his continued support dedication to the organization and young filmmakers that Make a Film Foundation partners with. Also honored was Mohamed Bzeek who was the recipient of the MAFF Humanitarian Award. Mohamed received a standing ovation for his life that has been dedicated to caring for terminally ill children in the foster care system. Read more of Mohamed’s story here from the Los Angeles Times.

The event ended with a panel discussion of various cast and crew Members. We were touched by the stories that were shared in which painted a picture of Anthony that will live on and inspire forever.

We are proud of all our Members that helped make this film a reality dedicating their time, talent and equipment. We would like to thank Local 399 Transportation Coordinator Lance Cherniet for connecting us to this amazing organization and for his work in recruiting Drivers willing to donate their time and/or equipment. Lance was first introduced to Make a Film Foundation in 2012 when he worked on a film called “The Magic Bracelet.” After his first project working with MAFF he was dedicated to helping the organization should they ever need his assistance, equipment, or crew again. As Tamika stated from the stage at the screening this Saturday night, Lance was the “Transpo Angel” that showed up to ensure this project was completed in the short timeframe.

Here is what Lance had to say about the experience from our January 2017 Newsreel:
We are fortunate people to be working in this Industry. We make good money. Giving your time or equipment doesn’t hinder anything and is very easy to do. It was great to show my kids the importance of giving back and involving yourself in something that is bigger than yourself. Using your professional skills to help someone out, even in a small way makes a difference. It is important to look for these opportunities and consider getting involved. It can make the world of difference to someone else going through a difficult time.”

We encourage our Membership to give back when they can, whether donating time or making a financial contribution. Make a Film Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that is entirely run by volunteers and financed by donations and in-kind services. Learn more about Make a Film Foundation and ways to get involved and donate here: http://makeafilmfoundation.org