Camera Ambassador Announces Community Builders Grant 2021 Winner | Role Chicago


After months of careful consideration and hundreds of community votes, Camera Ambassador unveils this year’s winner of the Community Builders Grant 2021 Link Wolfe.

His team’s project Zero mile mark is a horror short film about a troubled teenager who is sent to a wilderness retreat program in the forest for “rehabilitation”. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to campaign for a film that boldly challenges the important but covert teenage industry, an industry to which Link’s family has a fatal and tragic personal connection.

“In my opinion [‘Zero Mile Mark’] can be a heart. I think it can be the emotion. You can read articles all day and some of them connect for you and others don’t, but if you can experience an emotional point of view then maybe it really matters to you. So this is the hope that I have. My film is not necessarily the whole movement, but can be part of it. “
Link Wolfe, 2021 Community Builders Grant winner

As this year’s winner, Link & his team will receive …

  • Equipment rentals valued at $ 5,000 from Camera Ambassador
  • $ 3,000 in film grants from camera ambassadors
  • 1 year membership at IFA Chicago
  • Painting kit from The Mill Chicago
  • Audio package from Noisefloor Sound Solutions
  • Casting Credit from Compass Casting
  • COVID security pack from Chicago compliance specialists
  • BTS photography by Emma Thatcher Photography
  • Free advice from the Chicago Film Office
  • Free submission to the Midwest Film Festival
  • Advertising interview with the Walkie Check Podcast

ALSO READ: Hayden5: Launches $ 15,000 Gear Grant For Filmmakers

Q&A with Community Builders Grant winner Link Wolfe

The Q&A were conducted by Connor Allen Smith on behalf of the camera ambassador, with some questions being asked by attendees at their live pitch event. (The following interviews have been edited slightly for brevity and clarity.)

CAS: I am very happy to have you and thank you for putting together your wonderful pitch video! I think you did a great job really getting us into the story and showing off some of your directing skills from the very beginning.

LW: Appreciate it. Two hours in the forest can go a long way.

CAS: Let’s jump back into the forest. They are literally created in the wild. Talk to me about the process. Talk about the idea of ​​the wild and talk about what you gain by creating in the wild instead of our city.

LW: This project is obviously based on some real-life events. Not just with my brother personally that I was talking about, but with those wilderness programs that are all over the ailing teenage industry that is made up of a lot more programs than just wilderness programs. But I wanted to draw from what I personally have the most experience with and know best about. I also think that isolation is the main part of the fear for me, to go somewhere where there are no people, where the only people who are there are [our characters] Andre and Leicester help us get into this mindset of essentially not knowing whether the reality we are seeing is true or whether it came from either Andre or Lester’s imagination.

CAS: Let’s talk a little bit about the genre. Why horror for this story as opposed to a traditional drama or tragedy?

LW: That’s a fun question. I think I’ll get this question a lot. I’ve already got it and I will probably get it if I keep raising funds for this project and promoting it. It’s interesting if you’re doing a drama, if I had come into play with a project that was a drama, I don’t think we’d be asking that question. It is what it is to be fair. I do not criticize. I think it’s a great question, but I think if we decide on a genre, be it comedy as the last two of my projects or horror for it, it almost has to be justified, right? Because it’s kind of different. It is not what was expected. It’s not what we’re used to. But when I think about these experiences, when I listened to these survivors, and when I think about how my brother looked and felt after coming back, the clearest feeling is fear.

It’s not sadness, it’s not drama, it’s fear. When I started writing this, I didn’t necessarily have the intention of writing a horror movie. I wrote a film in which I wanted to express and capture this feeling of fear. And I think this tool of horror is the best genre for that.

I don’t want to get too intoxicating with it. But when I first started filming, I really got into digging into film theorist Linda Williams, who wrote about body genres [horror, melodrama, & pornography]. We experience these stories beyond thinking – we experience them with our body. When you see horror: you sweat, your eyes get big, your blood pumps. If we can do that in the audience, that emotion, that real feeling with their whole body, we’re going to do more not only to help the cause we want to help, but also to have a real emotional impact on them.

CAS: Thank you for answering this question so holistically. I think it’s important that we diagnose a little bit how we perceive genres.

Plus, this fear is so generous of you as a creator and really brave as you draw from this autobiographical core.

LW: Thank you.

CAS: I don’t want to hack it any further, but one final question on the idea of ​​the genre since you decided to give it a name: are there certain devices or movies that you use as points of reference that you want to bring with you? to “zero mile mark?”

LW: I got really into horror a few years ago. I’ve suffered from some minor anxiety and in weird ways catharsis helps me relax when watching horror. There is a period of horror around the 70s, 80s that I don’t know if there is an official term for it, but I would probably call it quiet horror that I think is really inspiring [ for “Zero Mile Mark”]. The film Wicker Man and this film by Robin Hardy does an excellent job, not only the character, but the audience feels that they are being watched, even if you never necessarily see what the monster is.

Plus, Takashi Miike’s “Audition” is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. It’s an excellent example where the scariest parts aren’t when there’s a monster on the screen, it’s not when there’s a lot of sound, it’s not when there’s a lot of things. When the girl is around, the main fear factor is standing in the middle of the street staring straight at the camera.

The last thing I’d probably mention – and I know I’ll probably talk too long, but I love talking about movies – is Na Hong-jin’s “The Wailing”. It was shot in the wild. When I spoke to my cameraman Brendan Hoyt, we talked about it as a visual reference.

CAS: They have such a lush palette to start from.

We have a question from the community: With a story that is so personal and traumatized in different ways, how do you plan to make room for care during this process and on set? Even if you draw from this autobiographical core, that fear is so generous of you as a creator and really brave.

LW: Yes, absolutely. It was a tough movie to work on. And the person I want to take the time to scream out about is my producer Jody Bailey. Your care as a producer, as an editor, has enabled me to write and work on this film and, honestly, almost use it as therapy. There is a lot behind it [experience], I have not dealt with. And it was really healthy for me to find that space while writing.

In order to create space on the set, it is very important to us that the actor we use for Andre is not a minor. We want them to grow up. We want you to be someone who is in a state of mind and body where you can make that choice and feel safe and where you can access those emotions on set.

For everyday life on set with a movie like this, where we have access to painful emotions, I intend to schedule the schedule so that we don’t force our actors to take-to-take around the clock. We’re actually going to put time into the schedule so they can meditate, heal, and keep up the pace they need so we can move on. Of course, I think there is no way you can avoid the pain it will cause accessing some of these things. But I want to make sure we do this in an environment where our actors and crew feel safe.

CAS: Let’s close with another post from the community: Can you talk about the social impact that the spotlight and condemnation of these types of programs will have through a story?

LW: I want to start by creating an organization that is working a lot on it, #breakingcodesilence, which we talked about in the pitch video. They do a lot of the activist and journalism work around creating by essentially giving out material to the people.

I think the role of activism, journalists, and the role of documentary is to inform it, let people know and get them to act. I think that’s an incredibly important part of it. I think where my film can come from can be a heart. I think it can be the emotion. You can read articles all day and some of them connect for you and others don’t, but if you can experience an emotional point of view then maybe it really matters to you. So this is the hope that I have. My movie doesn’t have to be the whole movement, but it can be part of it.

COMMUNITY FARMERS GRANT is a short film and production equipment grant, sponsored by Camera ambassador. Their mission is to build bridges between filmmakers and the community while improving their production by providing them with the tools they need. This scholarship supports artists with different levels of experience in order to recognize accomplished personalities as well as to offer opportunities to young and emerging artists. Past winners have been shown at prestigious festivals such as the Chicago International Film Festival and the Midwest Film Festival.

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