Brave Maker hosts their first private feature film screening


Evan Ajuria

Yuka Hazelton and Tony Gapastione pose on the red carpet.

Evan Ajuria, Staff Writer

Hundreds of people gathered in Redwood City for Brave Maker’s first feature film screening event at the Cinemark Theatre.

“For tonight, my hope is to create a conversation about immigration. It is something I have felt pretty ignorant about in the past few months, and I wanted to find ways to help empathize and humanize,” said Tony Gapastione, the CEO of Brave Maker.

After being in the works for many months, Brave Maker partnered with Box, Templo, and many other sponsors to assemble a feature film screening of the movie “Collisions,” directed by Richard Levien, a local filmmaker. The screening included a red carpet, a panel discussion, and a chance to meet the filmmaker.

Recently, Brave Maker’s team has been working to put together these screening events to not only create awareness but to also allow local filmmakers to promote their work by captivating audiences.

This is only the beginning for Brave Maker. As the new year rolls in, Brave Maker will continue to produce screenings.

“High schoolers are storytellers. You are engaging in culture and helping create culture by the way you see the world, by the things you are passionate about, [and] by the digital media you guys are using. I would like to see some stories made by high schoolers … in our film festival in June; we will have a student section,” Gapastione said.

As the film ended with the final scene, Gapastione invited Levien to sit in front of the audience for a compelling and provocative panel discussion on immigration.

Levien highlighted the many challenges faced by illegal immigrants, for many have suffered from the immigration process during raids, detention, and deportation; this was the main focus of the movie. He spoke about the many disturbing scenarios of this process that many American citizens do not think to consider, such as immigration raids on families where children are separated from their parents.

“Unless you know a family that is going through deportation of a family member or you are a family that is going through it, it is very hard to realize how much pain is involved in it, so it becomes easy to just read the headlines and be detached from the whole situation,” Levien said.

Due to Brave Maker’s efforts, a platform that creates an opportunity for unheard voices to tell their stories now exists.

“Whether you are an audience or a creator, I think Brave Maker helps all of us grow as a community by challenging and expanding our views of the world. It provides a new entertaining forum where people can question their predisposed notion on modern social issues and human emotions,” said Yuka Hazelton, a lawyer and member of the Brave Maker team.

With aspirations to build upon what they have already started, Brave Maker will continue shedding a light on controversial human stories like the one depicted in the “Collisions.”

Tony said, “I want to help give an opportunity for people to empathize with those who are dealing with immigration challenges and to really humanize the conversation so it is not just the red versus blue and divisive conversation that is all about politics and policies but is really about humans.”