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Foundation Events

JRF Scholars Share Their Big Screen Experiences

JRF Scholars Share Their Big Screen Experiences

(Photo L-R: JRF Scholars Michael Tabb and Neima Patterson; Actor Andre Holland and JRF Scholar Kendall Putmon)

Seven Jackie Robinson Scholars learned first hand what it takes to produce a movie. This summer, they served as production assistants on the set of “42”. A few recount their life-changing experiences.

Name: Joel Boyd
School: Columbia College
Major: TV, Film & Radio
Year: Sophomore


I learned so much that I wouldn't have had the chance to learn from any class that I've ever taken or from any textbook. Being on the set was such an exhilarating experience. I was able to learn by "shadowing" some of the heads of the different departments and most days I got to help out the production team and learn about how a movie is produced, which was great because I am a producing major). There was even a day when Chadwick Boseman sat down with us providing advice on writing, acting, and other things that young, up-coming students may want to know about the industry. Every day was full of new experiences. We got to meet and get advice from so many professionals that have done some of the most amazing work in recent cinema history. Oh, and the food wasn't bad either!

Name: Michael Tabb
School: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Major: Business
Year: Senior


My experience working on "42" could not have been better. At first, I was able to shadow different departments to learn their specific role in the moviemaking process. For the last week or so, I worked with the production assistants in "locking up" the set or helping preserve the visual and audible integrity of the scene. I met almost the entire cast and in some instances got to take pictures with them or have conversations with them. Although the work days were generally 12+ hours, I enjoyed every minute of it and am glad that I got this opportunity.

Name: Lauryn Nwankpa
School: University of Chicago
Major: Comparative Human Development
Year: Alumnus (’09)


Barely holding back my tears, my emotions poured as I read the last page of the script. I thought to myself how wonderfully this biopic film,” 42”, depicts the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Robinson. As a Jackie Robinson Foundation Alumni, I endearingly, and even protectively, refer to the pair as Jackie and Rachel; they are such an integral part of my life, and have been for the last 7 years that I feel an unspoken, but deep connection to them both. Brian Helgeland, beautifully and masterfully, weaves a story of a baseball maverick, his brave soldier, and the woman who kept Jack Robinson strong. Nicole Beharie, effortlessly captures the grace and elegance of Mrs. Robinson in a way that makes me regret not getting to set in time for Rachel’s visit. Before I even arrived, I hoped everyone involved in the making of the film would understand the significance of the story they were commissioned to tell. My hopes were realized when I discovered that absolutely everyone on set from the directors, to production assistants to the catering staff surpassed my expectations; the entire crew and cast seemed to understand the significance of this story. Everyone was passionately intent on making the finished product perfect and true to life.

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