A Film Evolution! Filmbuilding Grid Pilot & Screening

Tuesday January 5, 2021 marked the first ever meetup of Filmbuilding Grid, an ongoing, innovative community for discovery-based filmmaking! Participants meet up to create various films, which they screen and share with the community. 

About the Grid

Filmbuilding Grid is a cross-cultural and ever expanding community of Filmbuilders that meet up to collaborate and create films! It is based on the same discovery-based Filmbuilding process as the workshops, but goes beyond, allowing participants to build on what they’ve learned and meet on a more regular basis. Filmbuilding Grid, hosted by UMA and in collaboration with Tom Flint, is an ongoing group, open to former participants, community members, UMA members and volunteers, international groups, youth groups and more. For Grid members there are no time constraints, so the possibilities are endless, they can create short films, try out unique challenges and build on previous projects to create. 


The Filmbulding Grid embraces a process involving discovery-based filmbuilding, project based learning, and intercultural exchange.Tom Flint, workshop instructor and creator of this program uses an illustration to expound upon the process. 

The lightbulbs at the top represent various ideas, coming from the participants. The lines show the exchange of ideas-  It’s more of a blending of ideas, not a systematic process, he explains. Finally, the film strip is the final result, which is your film, and the stars at the bottom represent  the viewer experience. 

Pilot Filmbuilding Grid

For our model filmbuilding grid,we started with a group of interns that met once a week in January and February, to build around the theme “Evolve” creating a new short film, which screened on March 4th! As the grid expands to and takes on new members, participants can break off into groups and meet whenever they choose! 

Themes and Challenges 

 For each project, Grid members decide on a theme- then embark on deeper conversations and an exchange of ideas inspired by the theme- and from that their film begins to take shape. For the first meeting on Tuesday, after conversations around struggle and personal growth in dark times, Grid members settled on “Evolve” as their theme. From there imagery came to mind- such as a baby scallion growing from with rotting scallion, or a flower growing from cold frozen ground. Challenges inspire creativity and vary with each session. For the first week the challenge may be to listen to a specific song and create a video for that song. Another week the challenge may be to look at a series of images and rearrange them to create a storyline of your own. Challenges inspire new creative ideas and push participants to think outside the box while still keeping to the parameters of the theme. 

Check out our Video of Weekly Challenges


Because the filmbuilding process does not involve a script or typical pre-production, another important factor to address in the first session is personal resources. This includes anything that participants have at their disposal that may aid in the filmbuilding process- anything from a piece of equipment to a nearby park, to a collection of wigs. The resources help to inspire ideas and imagery that may go into the final film. There were some varied and intriguing resources available in this first session. Several members had final cut or adobe and editing abilities, one member lives near a church with vines growing along the side, another sings and plays guitar, while yet another participant has several furbies from the 90s and various antiques. In discussion these resources ideas started to take shape. 

The Future of Filmbuilding Grid


Filmbuilding Grid allows people in the community and around the world to connect with people from different backgrounds, cultures and generations, tell their stories, build partnerships, gain artistic and technical skill, and satisfy a creative calling!


Filmbuilding Grid exists first and foremost to act as a beacon of intercultural exchange, and collaborative artistic engagement. For those who have taken part in a filmbuilding workshop, the Grid is a way to continue those connections and continue to grow together. There is also a desire to engage with the current UMA community, entice new members, to strengthen and grow both Filmbuilding and UMA. The Filmbuilding Grid can also provide opportunities for young adults to develop the skills that can launch exciting careers, and provide a community for under-resourced youth and other groups 


Explorations, Film Screenings, Civic Engagement, Building Partnerships, Mentorship Opportunities, Guest Speakers, Newsletter, Free Resources

Meet the Team!

Tom Flint- Tom is the creator of Filmbuilding and head teacher/facilitator. “Film is a great tool for engaging people in collaborative experiences and getting to know people who are different from us.”

Masio Dotson- Masio is the Staff Coordinator- he works with the mentors of each group to help facilitate the Filmbuilding process. He is also the volunteer and intern coordinator at UMA. 

Ose Schwab- Ose is the Outreach Coordinator for Filmbuilding as well as the Director of Membership and Marketing for UMA! 

Amanda Hurley- Amanda is the Production Manager for Filmbuilding. She is also interim Director of Media Arts Education at UMA. She facilitated the intern Filmbuilding Grid pilot. 


Kamila Rodrigues, Sky Malerba, Saliha Bayrak, Amanda Hurley, Amanda De Rosa, and Allie Thompson

The Process-   (add quote and pictures here)

Participants work together to create short films around a different theme each time. For this first Grid session, they have chosen the theme “Home.” They chose a different challenge every week to mix up the style and feel. Currently the team is running with Avion’s challenge – “Someone or something that inspires you to be the person you want to be.” In our first official meeting, after the orientation, we talked a bit about this idea. Kamila envisioned pulling down her car mirror to see the eyes of all the women in her life flash before her- reminding her of where she’s going and where she wants to be. 

The Screening!

Check out our final film, “Evolve!”– which was completed for the March 4th Screening.

And pair that with our short compilation video of Weekly Challenges!

Link to full screening available shortly!:) 

Get more info about Filmbuilding here!