IPR: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE EDU FILM FESTIVAL MEANS TO THE MINNESOTA FILM COMMUNITY?
JV: The EDU Film Festival receives film submissions from high school students all over. These are short films, PSA, documentaries and everything in between. Students are producing, directing and acting. These are one of a kind films crafted by students that get screened in a theater and in-front of an audience. It’s a real experience that gets these guys ready and excited for their next steps. The film community in our area thrives off the energy of these youngins’ making film. They show up and support. That’s all we ask for. With an audience, we’re able to give students hope and help them break out of their shells. It’s hard and it takes bravery to showcase a film not only to classmates but to family and friends as well.
IPR: WHAT ROLE DO YOU PLAY IN MAKING THE FESTIVAL HAPPEN?
JV: I spread the word about our festival. I hop on our social media channels to keep EDU engaged with the community and with potential participants. I coordinate volunteers for the festival, and I am an active person on the ground when the EDU is happening.
IPR: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE EDU FILM FESTIVAL?
JV: My favorite part of the festival is viewing the films. To anyone who submits a film, know we love watching it!
IPR: WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU HOPE FOR THE FESTIVAL’S FUTURE?
JV: That it keeps going. With so many schools cutting art classes of all kinds, and even school music programs, we want to share our platform to keep the arts alive. With the help from IPR, we can show these students that they can take their craft and run with it. And they can further their education in something that they already enjoy doing.
MORE ABOUT JAKI
Jaki Velez is an alumna of the Music and Entertainment Business student at IPR. In addition to handling social media and data management for EDU, she works for the Northern Film Alliance, serves as a member of the Soundset Street Team – a part of the Rhymesayers Entertainment Organization. In high school, Jaki participated in the professional/student collaborative music video for Atmosphere‘s single “Became,” which received national recognition and critical acclaim. As a student in the BrandLab program, an organization whose mission is to guide and prepare underrepresented young people to careers in marketing and advertising, Jaki was awarded a prestigious scholarship and internship package. She served her internship with Target Inhouse, where she worked with the art department and assisted in talent acquisition. At EDU, Jaki manages the social media accounts and receives, organizes, and preps the hundred plus short films that are digitally transferred to the festival each year.