Blue Light Arts Retreat
In an effort to build a community for young women and gender non-conforming folx in the early stages of their careers, Mastrodimos and Karl-Mary Akre co-founded and organized the Blue Light Arts Retreat. Central to this idea is giving young folx who struggle to balance their creative process with the demands of urban life a quiet place to focus on their art. For the inaugural retreat in June 2019, a half-dozen artists gathered in Kerhonksen, NY, to spend a weekend working on a variety of projects and collaborating.
Mastrodimos and Akre have already started planning a winter retreat and hope to continue growing the Blue Light Arts Retreat.
The 1 Train is Delayed
In Fall 2018, Mastrodimos developed a new production initiative for Barnard students interested in creating a freeform web series. Under her guidance as staff-supervisor, the students spent that semester learning how to use advanced production equipment, editing techniques, and preparing sketches and scripts. The result is "The 1 Train is Delayed," and during the Spring 2019 semester, the team of approximately 26 students produced and released five 20-minute episodes, each with a musical guest. By the end of the show's first "season," students who in September had never stepped foot on a set or held a camera before were directing episodes and teaching their peers how to use the equipment; they are now working to organize next fall's shooting schedule.
All five episodes can be viewed on the official "The 1 Train is Delayed" YouTube channel or on the Media Center's website. The program was also featured in The Columbia Spectator in February of this year.
Emerging Filmmaker Hannah Ahn and cinematographer Kyra Chen on set. Photo by Ruby Mastrodimos
Emerging Filmmaker Mentorship Program
In December of 2018, Mastrodimos was part of a team which was awarded the Barnard Inclusion Grant from the Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for after proposing the Emerging Filmmaker Mentorship Program. The initiative is a semester-long intensive intended to encourage young womxn interested in careers in filmmaking but who feel discouraged due to their race, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic background.
The three mentees chosen for the Spring 2019 semester represented a wide array of identities and narratives. Mastrodimos served as a mentor for Barnard senior Hannah Ahn during the production of her first short film, "Poisonberries," the story of a young girl whose larger-than-life anxieties may not be unfounded.
Read more about the Emerging Filmmaker Mentorship Program here.