Clark University students enjoyed the rare privilege of meeting an Academy Award-winning actress when Melissa Leo, who won the 2010 best supporting actress Oscar for her role as the mother of boxer Mickey Ward in “The Fighter,” visited campus as part of the ﬁrst Mobile Media Workshop.
But this was no star trip. Leo was a hands-on participant in workshops, screenings, and question-and-answer sessions, all of which received blanket video and photographic coverage from students in the Visual and Performing Arts Department. Joining her at the three-day event were L.M. Kit Carson, a legend in the independent movie scene; ﬁlm producer Cynthia Hargrave, and Cristine Garde, executive director of Could You?, an organization battling poverty in Mozambique.
The Mobile Media Workshop was sponsored by the communication and culture, music, and screen studies programs.
Sarah Harker ’14, a screen studies and communication and culture double major, said the workshop’s seminars and screenings tied directly into her interests and studies. “As a female looking to enter a male-dominated ﬁeld, I talked to Melissa Leo about being a woman in the ﬁlm industry and its implications. She had a lot to say on the matter, but what stuck with me was her advice about not being afraid to try the things that scare us, even if we are outnumbered.”
A highlight of the three-day workshop was a screening in Razzo Hall of the 2008 ﬁlm “Frozen River,” which earned Leo her ﬁrst Academy Award nomination, followed by a Q&A with the actress.
Among Leo’s stops was a session with 12 students from screen studies Professor Hugh Manon’s screenwriting class — a dozen aspiring ﬁlmmakers getting an Oscar winner all to themselves for an afternoon.
“This is way more than anyone can possibly expect from an Intro to Screenwriting class,” Manon said. “It’s really a golden opportunity.”