Students in lead roles as Inclusion Films returns to Lodi

December 10 – The red carpet, limousines and students of the Lodi Unified School District dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns returned to Hutchins Street Square on Thursday night for an evening that could rival the best price cuts.

Joey Travolta’s latest Inclusion Films camp released the movie “Lost Luggage,” an hour-long still filmed at McNair High School in October and created with students from Lodi Unified.

“I am always excited about any of these events,” Travolta said. “The guys dress in their best tuxedos, the girls wear their favorite dresses and they can watch their movie on the big screen with family and friends.”

The film, Travolta said, is made up of a series of short films based on the principle of the types of items found in lost luggage.

He said the film took two weeks – at a rate of five hours a day – to create, starting with creating a theme, then writing a script and finally playing it on camera.

“We create one hour’s content in 50 hours,” he said.

“Which is pretty cool. I bring in a team of 14 people, and half of them are still students that we trained. We match them up with students from the neighborhood, and each group has had about a day and half to create a short film. “

Travolta hopes the film will help his company launch a television series with Cox Communications, the Atlanta-based telecommunications service.

“Lost Luggage” won’t be part of that series, Travolta said, but it will hopefully encourage Cox to consider partnering with Inclusion Films to create and develop the show.

Thursday’s premiere, along with the two-week camp at McNair High School, was among the first events hosted by Inclusion Films since the start of the pandemic.

“We have had a few virtual camps (last year),” Travolta said. “It was difficult because I love the in-person camps and the interaction with the teams and students. So this year we were able to run four full camps in Solano County and Livermore. Everything related to the filmmaking comes through in-person collaboration. “

Travolta first introduced Inclusion Films in Lodi in 2016 at the request of LUSD program coordinator Liz Zastrow, who is helping to set up vocational and vocational training for special education students.

Thursday’s premier was the fourth that Travolta and Inclusion Films had hosted in Lodi. In 2019, the company produced and screened “Carol of the Bells,” a film about a woman trying to reunite her husband and long-lost mother, the latter of whom was born with an intellectual disability.

John Travolta’s older brother, Joey Travolta received a special education degree from William Paterson University in New Jersey.

He founded Inclusion Films in Bakersfield in 2007 with a mission to teach filmmaking to people with intellectual disabilities.

The company has since expanded to studios in Sacramento, Livermore, San Diego, San Bernadino, San Jose and Stockton.

“I love this community,” he said of Lodi. “And with Dr (Cathy Nichols) Washer and LUSD, we have a great relationship. They love what we’re doing, and they love the idea that we’ve integrated some of their students into the community with what we’re doing.”


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