Documentary Produced by Pitzer Professor and Students Premieres at Outfest/Fusion Film Fest

Claremont, Calif. (April 15, 2021)—Crystal Diaries, a feature documentary produced over three semesters in Professor Gina Lamb’s Media Arts for Social Justice course, will premiere at the Outfest/Fusion Film Festival, which runs from April 16 to April 20. The documentary, produced in collaboration with Encye Smith and Beyond the Runway, will be streamed at the festival. Professor Lamb and students plan to hold screenings and discussions for the Claremont Colleges community and with local social service agencies in fall 2021.

In Crystal Diaries, five members of the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ House & Ball Community share their experiences with methamphetamine addiction in response to the death of Ballroom community member Gemmel Moore, who died in the home of Democratic political fundraiser Ed Buck. The documentary portrays how the community banded together to heal and support one another, create awareness, and protest the justice system’s response to Moore’s death. Lamb co-directed the film with Enyce Smith and Ryku Bella.

Lamb said Crystal Diaries‘ collaborative production process over multiple semesters added up to something greater than each of its participants could accomplish alone—or in the span of a 15-week semester.

“Building trust relationships with community partners, especially when covering sensitive subjects, in this case, methamphetamine addiction, takes time,” she said.

She and Smith have worked on media projects with Pitzer Media Studies students for the past eight years. All the projects in the Media Arts for Social Justice course are rooted in, and initiated by, community partners, Lamb said. Students in Lamb’s Media Arts for Social Justice course collaborate with social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, and schools developing and implementing media projects that benefit community participants.

For Crystal Diaries, students worked on all aspects of production, according to Lamb—from pre-production research and planning meetings with community members to organizing tech for multiple-camera interview set-ups on location. Students transcribe interviews, help edit the feature draft and trailer, design support material for screens, and work on promotional material.

“Most importantly, students have an opportunity to learn by sharing in the responsibility of amplifying voices and creative projects of community partners who seek to make positive change within their respective communities andwho have been systemically marginalized in mainstream media,” Lamb said.

Over the course of three semesters, including a production delay caused by pandemic restrictions, more than a dozen students contributed to Crystal Diaries. They are: James Bauman ’22, Myles Bonadie ’21, Ada Cohen ’22, Henry Dolin ’20, William Dry ’20, Elle Griffin ’22, Maddie Green ’22, Gulniyal Guliniali ’22, Rachel Miller ’20, Olivia Mayron-Mort ’21, Danielle Payne CMC ’22, Jessica Sass ’22, Emily Sender ’20, and Dylan Siegel ’20.

For tickets and more information about Crystal Diaries, please visit: https://outfest.org/fusion2021/crystal-diaries/

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