Film Students Shoot and Direct ‘Stand Against Racism’ PSAs Airing on Local TV

RIT School of Film and Animation worked with YWCA to produce spots

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A. Sue Weisler

Behind the scenes as students from RIT’s School of Film and Animation shot a public service announcement with (left to right) WHEC-TV’s Janet Lomax, WROC-TV’s Maureen McGuire and WHAM-TV anchor Ginny Ryan. The three Rochester news anchors came to RIT’s studios to record the spot as part of the campaign “Stand Against Racism.”

Today is Stand Against Racism Day, a movement by the YWCA around the country to bring people together to raise awareness that racism still exists. Rochester community organizations and businesses such as RIT are holding events to promote diversity and dignity.

Students from RIT’s School of Film and Animation and their professor, Mark Foggetti, collaborated with the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County on a series of public service announcements for the campaign. The “Stand Against Racism” spots are currently airing on Rochester television stations.

Local religious leaders, business executives and members of the media were among the Rochester luminaries who recorded the PSAs in RIT’s film studios in Gannett Hall. The students directed, shot and edited the spots under Foggetti’s leadership.

“RIT made a real difference in the Stand Against Racism and I think it was a great learning experience for students to see their directing, shooting and lighting actually air on television,” says Carolyn Rankin, founder and president of Phinney Rankin Inc., who wrote and produced the spots and serves as a consultant to the YWCA for racial justice. “The YWCA, as a nonprofit, would not have been able to have these spots produced without the film and animation students and their fearless professor, Mark Foggetti.”

Students from Foggetti’s camera choreography class and his avid editing class worked on this project.

Aaron Gordon, a second-year film and animation student from Aberdeen, Md., says the crew worked well together and his work on the PSAs landed him a job.

“With a major like film, there’s only so much you can learn in the classroom,” says Gordon. “After learning basic technical skills, a lot of the creative aspect comes from experience. A real commercial set like this is the perfect opportunity for a group of students to both learn from and to realize their true ability to perform at a professional level.”