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Oct 28

Who is Malden Finale: Exhibition and Roundtable Discussion (Event #4)

October 28, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT


As part of the Filmbuilding Malden: Our City in Motion program, the City of Malden and Urban Media Arts (UMA) is pleased to invite the public to enjoy a series of free screening events that will showcase short films that offer a unique lens to Malden and its people, places, nature, culture, and history. Each film screening will include a time for interactive discussion.

About this event

The “Who is Malden Film Series” culminates in a two-hour exhibition and program that will showcase the films, display behind the scenes video and photos, and offer visuals of the basic impacts/statistics of the program. The public will enjoy a museum-style display, with rooms set up to loop the films; photos, maps, and visuals of program statistics; a roundtable discussion; and a collegial atmosphere that allows for informal conversation.

Program Schedule – 3:00 to 5:00pm

  • 3:00 – Doors Open to exhibition area
  • 3:15 – Films screened at various stations
  • 4:00 – Opening remarks by Mayor Gary Christenson
  • 4:05-5:00pm – Roundtable Discussion
  • 5:00 – Exhibition Closes

Download Program

Films Screened

Behind the Scenes Documentary by UMA Interns Sydney Roth, Zachary Bennett, and Yipeng (Nicole) Kong.


Footprints of MaldenBy Kobena Bonney, Pamela Bronder-Giroux, Maryanne Smith, Karen Lynch, and Hannibal Rosa, with assistance from Dan Girmus

A group of strangers all connected to the city of Malden band together to answer the question: Who is Malden? This short film is an exploration of places, people, and organizations that make up a diverse community. Through a tableau of colorful scenes and lively interviews, these filmmakers discover that the identity of Malden encompasses both the past and present, the individual and collective, and the simple and profound.


Green ElephantBy Doc Havey, Martha Bezzat, Alex Onuoha, Jessica Frazier Vasquez, with assstance from Nasara Hassan

In a collection of personal perspectives from current residents and dialogues with community leaders, the makers of this short documentary-style film examine the rental and housing landscape in the city of Malden. As the cost of living rises and home ownership becomes a distant dream for lower-income folks and communities of color, can Malden hold on to its celebrated history as a hub of cultural and economic diversity?


Malden, a Place to EatBy Rydia Vielehr and Nikita Sampath, with assistance from Asma Khoshmehr and Jozef Kobenoski

Join these filmmakers as they explore food and restaurant hidden gems and hotspots in the city of Malden. This culinary journey is rich with scenes from coffee shops, public gardens, bistros, and more. In celebration of Malden’s many different cultures and ethnic communities, this short film touches on one of the reasons for our collective fascination with food: it connects us to where we are, where we’re from, and where we want to be.


What Was, What isBy Ethan MacAdam, Mike Tessier, Jodi Moran, Parto Khorshidi, and Shiva Mishra, with assistance from Alex Nezam

With special attention to the visual poetry of natural and urban landscapes, this short film carefully strips down the character of the city of Malden to a brief snapshot of the past and present. These filmmakers curate moving image vignettes of sleepy suburban pockets, bustling downtown areas, and intimate interviews from long-time residents. What’s left is a subtle, poignant, and honest reflection on the people and places of Malden.


Understory By Yana Lapaix, Karen Buck, Bijay Ghising, Tai Lam, and CD Collins, with assistance from Bilal Sa’ed.

An educator gets in touch with her cultural origins. A young man searches for connection in a post-quarantine world. A poet reconciles her current life with her Southern roots. A painter explores environmental activism through her art. These deeply personal stories of four Malden residents are part of a short film that examines the relationship between nature, community, and identity.


River Ran Through HereBy Josh Perry, Mavi Ruiz, Conrad Mitala, and Sophie Trang Luong.

This short film was created by four Malden residents and first-time filmmakers for a weekend-long companion program called “Filmbuilding Blast” that took place in June of 2022. Together, they produced a tender, multilayered, and thoughtful reflection on the Malden River – its history, future, and significance as a metaphor for Malden’s cultural evolution and economic revitalization.

Roundtable Discussion Panelists

Kobena Bonney
Kobena Bonney is the Immediate Past President of the Ghana Association of Greater Boston (GAGB), a non-profit sociocultural organization of Ghanaians in the Greater Boston region. He also serves as the Vice President of the Boston Pan-African Forum (BPAF), an organization that creates widespread appreciation of current social, economic and political issues affecting relations between Americans and peoples of African descent around the world. Kobena currently works as an Assistive Technology Program Coordinator at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), which breaks down barriers and empowers people with disabilities to live life on their own terms. Kobena served as one of 24 project participants (aka Filmbuilders) for Filmbuilding Malden and was a co-creator of the film, Footsteps of Malden.
Tom Flint
Tom Flint is a moving image educator/maker whose interests meet at the crossroads of film and cultural exchange. Tom is the founder and creative director of Filmbuilding, an educational program which curates discovery-based filmmaking experiences to build bridges for change.  Filmbuilding runs workshops involving students from around the world, and has partnered with sister-city organizations, public schools, arts nonprofits and museums. Flint holds an MA in Art + Design Education from the Rhode Island School of Design with a particular interest in alternative approaches to moving image education and creation.  Tom worked as the Artistic Director of Filmbuilding Malden, and continues to explore how the co-creative process can empower youth, engage real-world issues and strengthen communities.
Mina Kim
Mina Kim is an independent consultant who codesigns shared learning opportunities, cross-sector relationship-building, and strategic planning with wide-ranging partners. As an advisor for Filmbuilding Malden, she has supported the development of community-based connections between community members and the Initiative, including engagement projects such as Memories of Malden. Mina is also a Resource Team member and project manager for the Our Town Creative Placemaking Technical Assistance Program, in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Previously, Mina has worked at the Mass Cultural Council, Fenway Alliance, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Amanda Linehan
Amanda Linehan has served as Malden’s Ward 3 City Councillor since 2019. Amanda has championed arts and culture policies and programs throughout her time in office, sponsoring the creation of Malden’s first “poet laureate” position this past year and leading efforts to convert the former Malden District Court on Summer Street into a Center for Arts and Culture for the entire community. Amanda works full-time as Director of Communications for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in Boston, which is guiding Malden’s Climate Action Plan and has played an instrumental role in the Malden RiverWorks project. Amanda resides on Blomerth Street with her husband Mark, a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), and daughter Georgia, a student at the Beebe School.
Alexander Nezam
Alexander Nezam is an avant-garde filmmaker that has produced experimental, documentary, and narrative films about migration and social integration. His award-winning 2019 feature documentary, We Are Not Together, has premiered in 7 countries and screened at NYU, Harvard, and University of Milano. He was the recipient of the 2021 Creative Fellowship from the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Film and Media Art at Emerson College.  Alex served in the Filmbuilding Malden program as the Mentor for the group which co-created, What Was, What Is.
John Sarrouf
John Sarrouf is the Co-Executive Director and Director of Program Development of Essential Partners. John’s work focuses on facilitating dialogue across differences, mediating conflict, and managing interpersonal as well as intergroup challenges in their lives, communities, and workplaces.  With Essential Partners, he has helped found sustaining, independent dialogue programs at universities, museums, and civic organizations across the country and has also supported civic participation projects in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Florida, and Utah, among other locations.  Essential Partners organization facilitated the Filmbuilding Malden Orientation in May, 2023, and acted as an official sponsor of the initiative.

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About the Film Series

Though Malden is a place, one can ask “who it is” as if it breathes and has a story. This is the idea behind the prompt 23 members of Malden’s community explored together through film as they participated in the Filmbuilding Malden: Our City in Motion program that took place this summer and fall. As part of their collaborative filmmaking process, they shared their films with the public at a series of free screening events held in September and October 2023. 


Image credit: graphic design by Grace Julian Murthy; artwork by Grace Julian Murthy and Gallery @57 Artists.


This program and screenings is funded by City of Malden and the Massachusetts Cultural Council



Malden Senior and Teen Center
7 Washington Street
Malden, 02148
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City of Malden
Filmbuilding Malden