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Film and Television Students Will Use 20K Grant from Newman’s Own to Inspire Inclusion, Diversity

Students, alumni and faculty create and develop ‘slice-of-life’ stories promoting acts of kindness

Sacred Heart University’s Film and Television Master’s Program (FTMA) has received a $20,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation to develop a series of one-minute films promoting inclusion and diversity.

Newman’s Own Foundation is a nonprofit organization that actor Paul Newman formed in 2005 to sustain the legacy of his philanthropic work. “Paul Newman’s dream of changing the lives of those less fortunate can only be fulfilled through the dedication of committed organizations like yours,” wrote Kelly Giordano, managing director of Newman’s Own Foundation, in a letter to SHU.

For this project, students, alumni and faculty will work together to create a narrative series with a unifying message. Students will learn by executing all stages of creative development, from concept to production to post-production. The process will serve as model for students in their professional and creative careers.

“Everyone who contributes to these commercials will learn how to tell stories with inclusion and diversity of perspective,” said Damon Maulucci, visiting assistant professor.

Maulucci said the short films will depict “slice-of-life” moments when people subvert our expectations. Spots will promote acts of kindness and will aim to invoke compassion and inspire people to help and serve others. “Our hope is that everyone can relate to these spots,” Maulucci said, adding that he’s excited to show off the students’ work.

Students will be assigned roles such as producer, writer, editor, or director of photography and will be mentored by faculty and alumni. Stipends will be paid accordingly.

So far, the group has filmed in Brooklyn and at Sacred Heart University’s Center for Healthcare Education. “Students are taking ownership of these productions,” Maulucci said. “They will have them to add to their portfolios or reels.”