By Lamar David Mackson

PLAINFIELD- 4 Plainfield Public School District students were chosen for a remarkable trip to attend the Sundance Film Festival this past month.  The purpose for the trip was to shoot documentary footage of PHS alum and award winning film maker Alrick Brown as he released his first feature Kinyarwanda.

PCTV Student intern Chanelle Sears interviews Alrick Brown before the World Premiere of Kinyarwanda during the 2011 Sundance Fim Festival in Park City,Utah

The underlying reason ,however, is a bit more complex than that.  In recent months, the city of Plainfield has been plagued with a series of shootings and violence involving teens.  Community concern and proactive response, created the concept of the Student Interns traveling to Park City Utah to participate in an eye-opening experience.  For more info on ” From Plainfield to Sundance” click here .

” The Students were a big hit with everyone!” said  Brown. “We were all so impressed with their professionalism and ability to get it done.  I am sure these experiences will have a lifetime impact on them.”  Brown added.

PCTV Student Interns pose with film maker Alrick Brown during reception for Kinyarwanda at the Sundance Film Festival

From random interviews and news gathering on the Streets of Park City to the exclusivity of the red carpet and invite only receptions, the students where flooded with stimulus.  Recounting a chance meeting with superstar actor Blair Underwood, intern Chanelle Sears said, ” I just wanted a picture with him ….but then I remembered why we’re here and we set up an interview instead.” Over the course of the 4 day trip the students interviewed Harry Belafonte, Erica Ringor, Richard Schiff, Blair Underwood and many others.

Funded from private sources with logistical support from Plainfield Public Schools, the Plainfield Area YMCA ,the City of Plainfield and the City Council- From Plainfield to Sundance was a true exercise in proactive community response to recent circumstances.  “Getting these kids out of the city to participate in something that only a few people get to do is tremendous.  I can guarantee that we will see great things from these students and maybe one day we will follow one of their journeys.”  said Brown, whose film  won the equivalent of an Oscar at the annual film festival in Utah.

PCTV interns pose with Legend Harry Belafonte after getting him to do a station ID for PCTV

The Plainfield Cable Television Advisory Board , which orchestrated the entire trip is looking forward to creating more opportunities for students and families to excel.  According to a spokesperson, “This is just the tip of the iceberg.  The Board is very committed to a focused effort on partnership and mentorship with the City’s youth.  If  we can impact one students life then we have chipped away at the problem surrounding young people.”

For more information on Kinyarwanda click here

For more information on Alrick Brown click here

From Plainfield to Sundance Departure footage click here



  1. Congratulations to the young people of Plainfield for representing themselves and their community so well. Congratulations to Parris Z. Moore and the entire team of Blok Box IMG for providing funding to support the youth with this experience. An investment in our youth always produces positive benefits today and in the future.

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