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Filmmakers Get Hands-on Experience Helping Local Nonprofit

COM students’ PSA wins local competition


Six COM students recently won four awards from the Rhode Island International Film Festival for a PSA they produced. Photo by Goril Furu

Six College of Communication students recently received four regional awards for a public service announcement they produced for North Charles, Inc., a Cambridge and Somerville nonprofit behavioral health care service specializing in mental health and addiction services.

The graduate students’ project was part of a regional competition sponsored by 7DayPSA, which seeks to bring together local filmmakers and nonprofit organizations. The goal of the program is to provide nonprofits with limited budgets with broadcast quality PSAs while giving young filmmakers a forum to showcase their work. Commitments are obtained from local media outlets to air the winning spots for a year.

“It was very hectic,” recalls Jeanne Herring (COM’12), one of the BU filmmakers. “We had to come up with a way to symbolically portray what North Charles does, and we only had six hours to shoot the film at a BU studio.”

In addition to Herring, the BU team comprised Kemi Azeez (COM’12), Goril Furu (COM’12), Hao Wu (COM’12), Janice Young (COM’12), and Peter Santana (COM’12).

The students, operating under the moniker Castle 4 Productions, were among eight teams producing PSAs for three nonprofits in the regional competition: North Charles, Foxboro, Mass.-based Birthday Wishes, which holds birthday parties for homeless children, and Elders Living at Home, a Boston Medical Center program that provides temporary and emergency housing and services to elderly men and women in danger of becoming homeless.

In Castle 4 Productions’ PSA, titled Fragility, a voiceover intones “Life takes twists and turns. The human mind can be fragile. Addiction can take a devastating toll on your life. Before you know it, you are by yourself.” The piece continues: “You are not alone,” and concludes with the assurance that North Charles “can steady you again” and “help you regain control of your life.”

The BU-produced PSA recently won a Creative Impulse Award for best PSA and three other awards, all from the Rhode Island International Film Festival: Best Voiceover, Best Actor, and Best Editing. “You should have seen us when it was announced,” says Herring. “It’s great to make something that will help people and show you can work under pressure.”

Fragility will begin airing on WCVB Channel 5 in the coming weeks. The COM students plan to submit their work for consideration for a New England regional Emmy Award.

View Castle 4 Productions’ PSA here.

Find out more about the 7DayPSA competition here or contact Duncan Putney at duncan@ocda.biz.

John Fichera can be reached at jfichera@bu.edu.

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