‘We the Internet TV’ Hits YouTube Milestone

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MPI’s comedy news channel We the Internet TV has just surpassed 100,000 subscribers on YouTube! 

Every week our favorite equal-opportunity offenders, helmed by comedian Lou Perez, tackle current events, politics, and culture in satirical sketches, roundtable discussions, and one-on-one interviews.

We the Internet TV has over 226,068 followers/subscribers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With more than 76 million video views to date, the channel has logged over 103 years of watch time.

Check out We the Internet TV’s latest, in which organizing-guru Marie Kondo helps a Republican and a Democrat tidy up their House...of Representatives.

And don’t forget to subscribe to We The Internet TV’s YouTube page here.

Cinematography Workshop Provides Hands-On Experience

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Last month, in MPI’s immersive four-day cinematography workshop, Moving Picturecraft, twelve participants worked alongside acclaimed cinematographers to learn how lighting, camera, and lens technology can create a compelling visual story that evokes a range of emotions from viewers. 

Led by award-winning cinematographer Benjamin Gaskell, MPI filmmakers listened to lectures and studied scene set-ups from working cinematographers Peter Moss (Race), Amy Vincent (Black Snake Moan), and Natasha Braier (Neon Demon). Participants then put the lessons to work, composing, lighting, and filming scenes.

Held at the historic Mole-Richardson Sound Stage in Los Angeles, the workshop provided participants with industry-standard cameras and lighting systems. The chance to do guided work with high-quality equipment allowed participants an unmatched opportunity to experiment and innovate. 

Here is what they had to say about the experience: 

This cinematography workshop was especially wonderful because of the facilities, the equipment, and the industry connections that MPI rolled out for our benefit. It was amazing to have so many talented people brought together through MPI to advance our critically important mission in the world.
By forging personal relationships with like-minded filmmakers, this workshop has not only given me a great education, but also an arsenal of highly skilled future collaborators.
This taught me an enormous amount about what tools are available to a cinematographer and the variety of ways in which they can be used in order to tell a story. It also gave me hands-on experience with many of them and introduced me to a lot of fantastic filmmakers.

Learn more about our cinematography workshop here and keep a lookout for application deadlines to participate in our expected summer 2020 workshop.

Filming Wraps on New MPI Original Comedy Short

Last month we completed production on the MPI Original short film A Piece of Cake. This comedy comes from writing and directing duo Austin and Meredith Bragg, who work as award-winning video producers and editors at Reason TV.

The short originated in a 2018 MPI concept development screenwriting workshop. MPI worked with the Bragg brothers to turn their concept into a completed draft and shortly thereafter, acquired the film for production. 

The film follows a desperate father (Rich Sommer, Mad Men; Glow) who discovers his daughter’s favorite cake decoration is illegal. He descends into a confectionery black market and must make the ultimate parenting choice: break a birthday promise or break the law? 

While the film centers on family dynamics and the outrageous twists and turns that unfold to fulfill the birthday girl’s request, it also shines a light on policy themes such as the overregulation of ordinary actions. 

The Braggs have worked with MPI for many years, participating in our cinematography workshop, screenwriting workshops, and our Business of Film program. They also created original sketches for MPI’s comedy news channel We the Internet TV. Now MPI is proud to enable the Braggs to take their careers to the next level with this compelling calling card short.

“The ability to work with such an accomplished cast and crew was not just an education, but a revelation,” they wrote. “The practical on-set skills and insights we've gained through this process are already having a positive impact on our work. We can't say enough about the talent and energy that MPI has devoted to this production.” 

The film is now in post-production and will screen in festivals next year.

This Fourth of July Celebrate Freedom Through Film

At the Moving Picture Institute we are proud to create and support powerful stories about human freedom—stories that wrestle with the very ideals that America was founded on such as free expression, human rights, and resistance to tyranny. 

This Independence Day we encourage you to take some time out of your planned celebrations and spend it watching a quality film that reflects on the many dimensions of freedom. Maybe it’s the powerful documentary Incarcerating US from MPI filmmaker Regan Hines or 2081, our adaption of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron.” If you’d prefer to keep it light, check out We the Internet TV’s latest video Marie Kondo: Tidying Up Washington, D.C.

Whatever you watch, we hope you will be entertained and inspired. 


‘We The Internet TV’s’ Mini-Doc Featured in ‘Forbes’

Forbes health contributor Nicole Fisher cites the We the Internet TV mini-doc, How Instagram Hacks Your Brain, in her recent column on the effects of social media on today’s youth. 

Does spending 6-10 hours a day on social media cause anxiety and depression? Could the onslaught of perfectly filtered images and algorithmically contrived pleasure be causing irreversible psychological damage? Rob Montz explores these questions and more in the mini-doc above, arguing that social media apps such as Instagram engineer addiction. 

Watch more videos from We the Internet TV’s mini-documentary series here.

MPI Partnership Creates Golden Opportunities

Former MPI intern Carly Hicks attends the Academy Awards thanks to MPI’s relationship with Academy Gold.

Former MPI intern Carly Hicks attends the Academy Awards thanks to MPI’s relationship with Academy Gold.

Last year MPI launched its partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to participate in Academy Gold, a seven-week entertainment industry-wide internship enhancement and mentorship program that gives our interns access to special panels with Academy members, screenings, and countless career advancement opportunities. 

June marked the beginning of this summer’s program with two MPI interns participating. Former MPI intern and 2018 Academy Gold alum Carly Hicks gave us an idea of what they can expect out of this summer:

“MPI’s partnership with the Academy Gold program placed me in the very center of the film industry—from panels of filmmakers, tours of studios, and one-on-one mentorship with an industry veteran and Academy member. The Gold program gave me an inside look at the moving pieces that come together to make the movies and TV we love.”

For more information about MPI’s talent development programs, visit our filmmaker opportunities page.

MPI Filmmaker Premieres New Film

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In the spotlight: Rob Smat

Since 2015, filmmaker Rob Smat has participated in MPI programs ranging from an internship to our Mindful Editor seminar to a screenwriting workshop. Today he premieres his first feature film, The Last Whistle. Starring Brad Leland (Friday Night Lights) and Jim O’Heir (Parks and Recreation), the film follows the head coach of a successful Texas high school football team through the chaotic aftermath of his all-star player dying during practice. 

“From my start as a marketing intern at 20th Century Fox, to my participation in workshops and masterclasses, I have been set up to be the best writer, director, editor, and overall filmmaker I can possibly be,” Rob says. “MPI is a talent development machine like no other, and I owe a great part of my first film, The Last Whistle, to what I've learned and gained from the MPI.” 

Coming off a successful festival run, The Last Whistle is now showing in theaters across the US. You can find the full list of theaters and watch the trailer here. The film is also available for download on iTunes

Inspired by Rob’s success? MPI is currently accepting applicants for its 2019 screenwriting workshops. Find more information and apply here

MPI Cinematography Workshop Kicks off Tomorrow

Ramping up for our 3rd Moving Picturecraft

Tomorrow, MPI kicks off our third annual cinematography workshop, Moving Picturecraft. Led by award-winning cinematographer Benjamin Gaskell, this Los Angeles-based workshop educates filmmakers about how lighting, camera, and lens technologies can help them achieve their artistic intentions.

Throughout the week, our cinematography fellows will learn from award-winning American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) members, while getting hands-on experience with industry-standard camera and lighting systems.

Take a peek inside our cinematography workshop and see what it’s all about:

MPI Hosts Masterclass with Peter Billingsley

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Behind the Scenes: Producing FIlm & TV

You might know Peter Billingsley as Ralphie from the iconic 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story. But his childhood acting roles were just the beginning of his impressive Hollywood career. He has achieved success both in front of and behind the camera, most recently executive producing the Jon Favreau blockbuster Iron Man, executive producing IFC’s Dinner for Five, and making his directorial debut with  Couples Retreat, starring Vince Vaughn. He currently serves as executive producer of the Netflix series F is For Family.

In May, Billingsley joined us for an evening masterclass, sharing over four decades of industry experience with a room of MPI filmmakers, producers, and screenwriters. Filmmakers in attendance had this to say:

“I learned a more effective way to ask for and use feedback on my film projects.”


“I really appreciated how candid and open he was. He was lively, engaging, and seemed to take a genuine interest in everyone at the dinner.”


“Peter's career and outlook on life are so varied and deep that everything he said was incredibly informative and ridiculously entertaining at the same time.”


“Each MPI Masterclass is like a shot in the arm of inspiration and encouragement, pure motivation to forge your own path.”

Learn how to apply for MPI masterclasses and other filmmaker opportunities here.

From the Set of 'The Perfect One'

MPI filmmaker Matthew Szewczyk on set.

MPI filmmaker Matthew Szewczyk on set.

A Morality Tale About Innovation in the Free Market

In 2018, after years of participating in MPI programing, earning acclaim at festivals, and doing impressive commercial work, filmmaker Matthew Szewczyk participated in MPI’s Calling Card workshop to develop a new short film that could showcase his storytelling and directing skills. There, he developed The Perfect One, a script about a young painter who revives his family’s failing business by taking an innovative risk. After the workshop, MPI acquired the script to produce the film as an MPI Original with Matthew directing.

The three-day shoot took place last month in New York. MPI would like to extend a special thanks to the cast, crew, and everyone who made this film possible.

More updates are on the way, but in the meantime, enjoy these behind-the-scenes shots from photographer David Moriya.

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