SRJC Digital Filmmaking Grad Wins $50,000 to Deliver Attribute Film | Bohemian

On June 10, filmmaker and Santa Rosa Junior Faculty graduate Miles Levin pitched his movie, Under the Lights, to AT&T’s Untold Tales judges at the Tribeca Movie Competition, and in a sweeping of supporter votes, was awarded $50,000. 

Untold Tales is an inclusive movie method in collaboration with the Tribeca Competition, that awards $1 million, mentorship and distribution guidance to enable systemically underrepresented 

filmmakers make movies.   

Levin’s idea was picked from the year’s submissions as a single of the five finalists. It landed the Supporter Award of $40,000 through a dwell voting approach, together with $10,000 from Untold Tales to even more the film’s reach and manufacturing possibility.

Underneath the Lights tells the story of Sam, a 17-calendar year-aged boy with epilepsy who, desperately trying to find to really feel typical, attends his higher faculty prom, even nevertheless he knows the lights will cause a seizure. 

Levin, who each wrote and directed the movie, life with epilepsy. He is 1 of 60 million individuals in the world who dwell with this issue. Levin sits on the board of the The Cameron Boyce Basis and the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California. His get the job done as a filmmaker is inspired by his objective of boosting recognition all over epilepsy and generating additional inclusivity in up to date culture for those people residing with the dysfunction. 

Levin came to the Santa Rosa Junior Faculty (SRJC) in 2013 and started taking digital filmmaking courses with instructor Brian Antonson. 

“Miles stood out pretty much immediately as a person who was extremely passionate about filmmaking, quite into the technological know-how and the mechanics of storytelling,” said Antonson. “All of his assignments he labored on with large levels of enthusiasm. He experienced now manufactured a element film when he was in significant university. He was really formidable.”  

Even though at SRJC, Levin took pretty much each individual output course supplied and became Antonson’s PAL—Peer Help and Leadership, the equal of a teacher’s assistant at SRJC—for a expression. 

“Miles was frequently pushing himself to make a lot more movies, to make them superior and greater. In retrospect, you can see him creating up these competencies which obtained him to the position wherever he is these days.  Filmmaking is so incredibly difficult—it needs an comprehension and a mastery of so a lot of various artwork varieties, and it demands the participation of massive groups of individuals (forged and crew) and assets (both of those monetary and technological). To be thriving, one particular desires to set in this form of long-expression expense of your time and targeted awareness,” stated Antonson.

Not only is filmmaking very rigorous, it’s also usually inhospitable to those dwelling with a incapacity. Levin has spent the past 10 many years curating sets that accommodate his incapacity and don’t compromise his filmmaking. 

But it was not generally simple to be an advocate for epilepsy. Levin, like many who dwell with the ailment, put in the first portion of his existence endeavoring to sense ordinary. The highly-stigmatized character of epilepsy created him fearful of sharing his tale and dealing with unfavorable repercussions. 

“Epilepsy really considerably stole my childhood. I did not get to be a kid,” Levin writes in his 2022 Untold Tales pitch. “So I wasn’t confident if I preferred to arrive out in entrance of the world-wide-web with my story, and it’s possible have it restrict my adulthood.” 

Then, Levin was approached by a 15-year-outdated boy with epilepsy, who told him he had in no way designed a close friend in advance of. It was a surprising wake up contact for Levin. 

“I became a filmmaker at 15 simply because I thought in the electricity of videos to place a particular person in a further person’s shoes and that that act builds a better planet. It took me 10 many years of creating films to understand that in putting my inner thoughts initially, and hiding my story, I was disregarding the reason I turned a filmmaker in the to start with place,” Levin stated.  

Underneath the Lights, the quick movie was released in 2020, starring Pearce Joza and Alyssa Jirrels and operating 11 minutes and 27 seconds. Pretty much quickly, it turned a image of hope and representation to the epileptic local community. 

Intercontinental admirer artwork was sent each day to Levin and his crew people today living with epilepsy utilised the film to occur out and just one group despatched Below the Lights prom kits to little ones who had been not able to show up at. Levin also acquired substantial video responses from those people with epilepsy, thanking him for his work and sharing how considerably the small film experienced altered their lives. 

The movie has acquired various awards and choices, which includes Best Humanitarian Short from Sedona Movie Pageant in 2021 Very best Alternate Film, Nominated Finest Small Film and Very best Director from the New Hope Festival in 2020 and Greatest Limited at SCAD Savannah Film Competition. 

This is maybe the initial film of its type, representing the epileptic local community in modern day media. 

“The journey of his protagonist is one particular that a lot of men and women are identifying with,” explained Antonson. “And the epilepsy neighborhood is finding guiding Miles’ film in a major way. So, in a way, Miles is on a mission, trying to have an affect on serious change and assistance other folks with epilepsy.” 

The objective of this movie, alongside with impacting transform in the life of these with epilepsy, is to spotlight the value of an often unheard point of view. 

Movies like Underneath the Lights and administrators like Miles Levin invite truth into the movie sphere, making use of cinema as a tool for information and facts, inclusivity and acceptance, as opposed to a car conveying hyper-perfectionism. 

This movie is an invitation to typically non-disabled persons to deepen their awareness and empathy. It is an invitation to these with epilepsy to be the key character, the protagonist. It is an invitation to any one struggling with a disability, physically, mentally or emotionally, to know that they are not on your own. 

Levin’s directing is paving the way for people with disabilities to make their mark on a world that is long overdue to listen to their voices in modern media. Levin’s belief is that a commonly-obtainable film about epilepsy could do far more to conclude the stigma than any marketing campaign in background. Beneath the Lights is the starting. 

“I want to make the factors that I’ve been by means of worthwhile. And that’s my path,” claimed Levin. View ‘Under the Lights,’ the short and find out additional about the characteristic film at