Films by Pediatric Cancer Patients to Screen May 15

Spotlight on Hope Film Camp, created by UCR graduate student, aims to help young patients and their siblings

film reels

Films created by pediatric cancer patients and their siblings will screen on May 15.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Films created by pediatric cancer patients and their siblings in the UC Riverside Spotlight on Hope Film Camp will screen on Sunday, May 15, from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. at UCR in Watkins 1000. A reception will precede the screening from 4:30 to 5 p.m.

The Spotlight on Hope Red Carpet Screening is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested. RSVP to (951) 233-0577. Free parking will be available in Lot 6.

Films on the lineup will include “The Gem” and “A Day in the Garden,” produced at UCR using computer-generated imagery (CGI), and live-action films created in earlier film camps held at UCLA. Films produced in the UCLA film camps can be viewed on YouTube.

Spotlight on Hope, the UC Riverside organization that presents the film camp, is the creation of Cassie Nguyen, a brain cancer survivor, UCR alumna and first-year graduate student in the Master of Public Policy program of the UCR School of Public Policy.

Nguyen, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 16, said she wanted to help children diagnosed with cancer take their minds off of their illness and treatment. She suggested the film camp for young cancer patients while working as an intern for Think Ten Media Group, a production company based in Castaic.

With initial funding from family members and friends and faculty at UCR, Nguyen launched the first Spotlight on Hope Film Camp in 2013. Think Ten Media Group helped establish the program, which UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television hosted, and provided instruction for participating pediatric cancer patients from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

When the film camp proved to be successful, Nguyen applied for and won a $10,000 scholarship from the Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship Foundation in 2014, which funded 10 more film camps at UCLA.

In fall 2015, Nguyen established the Spotlight on Hope student organization at UCR and began raising money to fund a local film camp. Think Ten Media Group sent instructors to train UCR students who would teach CG animation skills to children.

Thanks to a graduate fellowship from UCR’s Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts this year and support from the UCR Associated Students Program Board, Nguyen was able to present film camps in February and April for pediatric cancer patients from Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital and the Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern California. Students in the UCR University Honors program assisted.

The Gluck program also provided Outreach Performing Artists (OPA!) fellowships to two undergraduate students who work with the film camp, said Christine Leapman, Gluck program coordinator.

“Spotlight on Hope Film Camp fit our mission beautifully in taking arts to the community and bringing children to campus to experience the college environment and learn filmmaking skills,” she said.

More than 20 patients and family members participated in the two film campus, learning CGI animation, story/character development and camera technique during two days of weekend classes.

Nguyen said she hopes to establish Spotlight on Hope Film Camp organizations at every UC campus as well as a nonprofit foundation that would offer film camps across the country.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-7847
E-mail: bettye.miller@ucr.edu
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Cassie Nguyen
E-mail: cnguy082@ucr.edu

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