CELEBRATING 20 YEARS
Honoring Ghetto Film School's 20th anniversary by presenting stories and art that reflect our evolution as an organization
GFS AT 20
2017/16: THE LONDON THESIS FILMS AND PARTNERSHIP WITH NEUEHOUSE
The 2017 GFS International Thesis Team in London
We asked Class of 2017 GFS Fellows,
Kyra Peters (L) and Niko Baur (R) about their GFS stories, and how they approach making art now.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned from being a Fellow at Ghetto Film School?
Kyra, GFS NY Alum: In 2016, I was directing the New York International Thesis Film in London, and I had also written the Frick Film Project - "Little Things" that year. It was intense to write and direct separate films at the same time - learning how to direct a story I hadn't written, and giving up control of the story I had written. The only way I got through both projects successfully was with my peers on both the crews, who were incredible.
Filmmaking is a very personal act, and it can be emotional and stressful. My time at GFS taught me time management, how to keep my cool, and the importance of community, self awareness, and accountability.
I'm in the Undergraduate Film and TV Program at New York University Tisch School of the Arts right now, and I feel like my time at GFS has given me a huge upper hand - both in terms of technical know-how, and finding my voice. Now, instead of starting from square one, I'm diving right into experimenting and evolving as a filmmaker. Even after the Fellows Program, GFS has always been an incredible filmmaking resource - a place where I can rent out equipment for free, where I can hold rehearsals and shoot, and have access to a wide network of creatives for crew calls - they’re always there for you, whatever you need.
Niko, GFS LA Alum: As soon as I heard about GFS, I realized what a great opportunity it would be. The other Fellows in my class came from all over the city, from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some of them were even in college, which is huge when you're still in high school!
This was very critical for my development. It solidified my belief of what I was capable of. It forced me to communicate with people of all ages, backgrounds, and artistic tastes. That's the coolest thing about GFS - it's kind of a melting pot for different personalities and you're forced (in the best way!) to communicate and collaborate, so you can create art together.
In the case of London, we were pushed to take all the theoretical skills we had learned and actually put it into action. You don't get that opportunity a lot, and that's how you learn - by doing. I'm a senior at USC (University of Southern California) right now, and the 'production mindset' I picked up at GFS continues to be useful, even in daily life. No matter the challenge, I tell myself, "here are the things you can control and here are the things you can't. Just prepare as much as you can, adapt quickly, and even if you fail, make sure you learn something from it".
What does it mean to be an artist right now?
Kyra: Earlier in the year, we suddenly had time to ourselves without the insistence to keep producing, which was good in a way. But now I think all artists are united in a desperate need to create. Everyone is leaning into collaboration, and I find that so positive and inspiring. My dream is to write for children's TV. Television is often the first point of cultural contact for most of us, and it can have so much power especially when you're young. That's what I'd like to harness, and what I'm working towards right now!
Niko: With filmmaking, I'm always trying to showcase human experience, and it's kind of hard to make films when you're not having any new experiences. In the beginning I felt very let down. I had come off an extremely busy semester of school, and was looking forward to more of that. But when everything slowed down, that really re-focussed how hungry I am to do this thing - to be a filmmaker for real. When I couldn't make films I felt desperate to get out there and work, and that's how I know I’m doing what I'm supposed to be doing. For now, I'm taking the downtime to rework my scripts, recharge, and consume more art, so that whenever I do head back out, I have a larger source of inspiration to draw from.
Partnership with NeueHouse and the London International Thesis Films
London International Thesis Films - Overlap Days
In 2016, Fellows from both GFS New York and GFS Los Angeles converged at the same international location -London - to shoot the International Thesis Film Project. Our Fellows used this day to meet their cohorts from the other GFS location, take in London and its rich history, visit our partners at Sky Studios, and more.
GFS Fellows at Sky Studios offices in London
Our core funders and partners at 21st Century Fox and Sky Studios including Olivia Bonner (then SVP Brand and Social Impact, now Group Culture and Transformation Director at Sky Studios) Miranda Higham, (SVP Corporate Communications) and Bee Devine (Director of Operational Transformation at Sky Studios) were instrumental in creating this day of cultural immersion for our students.
The 2019 GFS LA Table Reads at NeueHouse, LA.
GFS Partnership with NeueHouse
Beginning in 2016, our collaboration with NeueHouse has grown to be one of our defining partnerships in Los Angeles and beyond.
NeueHouse is a private workspace and cultural home for creators, innovators, and thought leaders. With iconic buildings, timeless design, thought-provoking cultural experiences, and elevated hospitality, NeueHouse has reimagined the ideal environment for creative potential and progress.
From our earliest days working with incredible NeueHouse staff like Meredith Rogers (then VP of Cultural Programming) to current leadership like Josh Wyatt (Chief Executive Officer) and Jon Goss (Chief Brand Officer), the partnership has been pivotal to the work we do at GFS.
They graciously extended membership to GFS executive leadership and provide unique access for staff, students and alumni to attend world class events and cultural programming, act as a hub for the workshops and training GFS offers, and also as an incredible resource for hosting capstone GFS events like the 2019 Table Read which brought our students together with A-list stars and industry leaders like David O.Russell, Taika Waititi, Alfre Woodard, and more.
During a very challenging 2020, our partners at NeueHouse have shown bold leadership, safely reopening their venues and expanding to two new locations in Venice and Miami. We raise a glass to their very bright future, and providing access, training, and education for artists all around the country. We're thrilled to build on this forward trajectory and continue this very exciting partnership.
GFS Film Highlights
"Ghost Of A Chance"
by Niko Baur
(2017 London International Thesis Film Project, GFS LA)
by Kyra Peters
(2018, London International Thesis Film Project, GFS N)