Past Success Stories and Major Champion Donors
Carl & Jacqueline Cafaro
Gary & Kellie Johnson
Ray & Kim McKewon
Power Twersky Derparseghian, LLP
Patrick K. Willis
Simply put, you empower us to help people in obvious and not so obvious ways. The obvious things are scholarships we’ve given to young student filmmakers that would come to our film workshops to learn throughout the years. We continue to mentor, write referral letters, and even reach out to fellow industry contacts to help place them into positions. Some have gone on to work with some of their film-making idols, others in big studios, and some have worked on independent films that have been accepted into ours and other festivals. Three freshmen high school students from Catalina that attended our first film workshop in 2012, Justice, Makenna and Alessia, are all graduating from film programs at Loyal Marymount and UC Berkley this year. We also just wrote a referral for Alessia to go work in New Zealand’s growing studio system. Our film grants go out to young and establishing filmmakers who’ve applied for short film projects and other promising scripts and film development packages (with financial and mentorship programs).
Nick LeDonne, our 2016 Animated film winner, has gained world recognition and just released his book on his triumphant victory over his suicidal struggles called From Hanging to Hang On. Not only did he put our laurels on the back cover, and photos of our festival inside the book, but he attributes our festival as the turning point in his life. We had no idea his mom sold her wedding ring to get him to the festival that year until we read the book. These aspiring filmmakers hold the Catalina Film Institute in such high regard… and that’s special. It makes our sleepless nights, financial concerns, lugging all the equipment and boxes to/from the island worth it.
And that’s the obvious stuff that can be tracked. The not-so-obvious are who we’ve been empowered to help with the countless VIP Passes and auction items we’ve donated throughout the years to other great non-profits; from terminally-ill children’s organizations, women’s empowerment groups, theatre groups, medically-needed reconstructive surgery organizations, high school arts programs, art associations, medical centers and hospitals, impoverished community relief worldwide, Catalina Island non-profits, and so many more that ask. We may say yes too much when asked, but what are we here for if we can’t help?
Your donation fuels that drive to continue to help others and put a spotlight on films/stories that need to be told; shaping the minds and thoughts of our audience.