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Cabarrus Magazine

Central Cabarrus Student Talks Filmmaking Dreams & Community Support

Mar 27, 2017 03:00PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Kaitlin Gaspar is a local Central Cabarrus County High School junior that has always dreamed of being involved in film. She was recently accepted into a prestigious summer film program, the Tisch Summer High School Filmmakers Workshop, an exciting step forward toward her goals. 

Unfortunately, her scholarship wasn't accepted, and Kaitlin was left with a $6,000 cost to get in. Not wanting to be discouraged, Kaitlin put together a GoFundMe page and reached out to the community to help her reach her goal. The community has responded with resounding support, but she still needs some help!

Not only will donating go to a driven and inspiring high school student, Kaitlin has also decided to donate her time to the community and volunteer an hour with every $10 donation. With every $50 dollar donation, the donator will have the ability to choose which organization she should volunteer. 

We reached out to Kaitlin wanting to learn a little bit more about her goals and passions as an aspiring filmmaker, as well as how we can help. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Have you always been interested in film?

When I was really little I used to love running around the house with a video camera shooting film, but didn't think of it as a career. I’ve been in the STEM program in Cabarrus County schools for six years (since the program started). My mom studies Biology, so I had been exploring biology and even made my way to the State Engineering and Science fair for some research I had done. But, I never really felt passionate about the field, or any of the classwork that I had in STEM. 

Once I started high school I switched gears and got really interested in theatre and have been an active part of my school’s theatre program for my three years there. I gained an interest in film when a few of my friends and one of my favorite teachers at Central Cabarrus High School (CCHS), Mr. T, started a Film Club. Before I joined Film Club I had enjoyed watching films, and spent a lot of time doing this with family, but had never considered that working in the film industry could be a possible career choice for me. 

Film has become a way for me to combine the creative aspects of theatre that I love with the more technical aspects of my STEM education. Once I considered it as a career option I got really excited about it and started reviewing programs. This is when I found the program at Tisch.

Tell us a little bit about the Tisch Summer High School Filmmakers Workshop at New York University. What is it about the program that draws you to it?

The Tisch Summer High School Filmmakers Workshop is a four week college credit program that introduces students into the world of filmmaking. During the program, I will be enrolled in a variety of filmmaking courses offered to NYU students and receive a total of 6 college credits that will transfer with me into college. I will also be in charge of writing and filming a short 2-3 minute film that will be shown to family, friends, students, and staff at the conclusion of the program. And many of those films make it onto the NYU website for viewing by a national audience. 

The Tisch School of the Arts is the number 2 film school in the nation and attending this program can be a huge advancement into the world of film. Not only is the program incredible, but I will also make connections that are priceless while there. Several well-known celebrities and film producers have come through NYU including Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, M. Night Shyamalan, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Adam Sandler, and many more. Just this year, Mahershala Ali, a graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight.

How can someone help you reach your goal of going?

I have a GoFundMe fundraiser set up where people can donate, and any amount helps! Sharing my story would also help me reach my goal! 

Another way people could help would be if someone works for an airline and could offer a friend/family ticket to me for travel costs. 

Businesses looking to use the donation as a write-off could email me at to make arrangements for a meeting. I am able to list them as a sponsor in the film credits and have some other business advertising options so it will be a valid deduction.

Is there a time limit?

I have to have the final payment to NYU by May 11, 2017 so I don’t lose my spot. I had to pay the deposit of $2000 by March 22, which I did. So if I don’t reach my goal, I stand to lose that money.

I heard you're giving back to the community through your GoFundMe page. What inspired you to do that?

For every $10 donation I receive, I will be doing an hour of community service, and for everyone who donates $50 or more, they can choose the nonprofit for me to volunteer at. 

From a young age, my mom (and biggest role model) made sure to stress the importance of giving back to the community and helping those who aren’t as fortunate as me. 

Some of my favorite memories include spending Easter mornings with my mom in Charlotte at The Harvest Center, serving breakfast for the homeless, and volunteering at the Ronald Mcdonald House hosting Bingo nights for the families, and countless other memories. I know that nothing in life comes for free, and so in order to prove that I will do anything for this program, I am combining my passion for helping our community with working towards this program.

What are your goals for the future? Do you see yourself being involved in making films?

Yes!!! Filmmaking is my dream, I will do whatever it takes to become involved in the film industry, which is why I’m doing everything I can to get into this program. I would love to be involved in narrative films that support needy causes and work towards helping make the world a better place, while still telling a compelling story. 

My goal is to use filmmaking as a platform for serving the community and spreading awareness about issues while telling an entertaining story. I want to help people see ways that positive change can be made.

What hobbies do you enjoy outside of school?

I was in competitive dance for 10 years, which met every night except Sundays, but this year I had to give up dance in order to pursue film, and save money for NYU. I have been working on a comedic screenplay with my friend (and amazingly talented writer), Savannah Bradley, who attends CCHS STEM with me, that I plan to begin filming at the start of summer this year. 

I also enjoy reading, camping, watching a good play, and spending time with family and friends.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I just want to take a moment to thank my tremendous support system, the people who throughout my life have always been here to help me reach my goals and push me onto the right path in life.

To my friends, who have to hear all my crazy ideas and support me anyways, to all my teachers throughout my education, who have seen potential in me and pushed me to my best, to the people in my community who I may have never met before, but hear my story and share and donate and believe in me anyways, and most of all, to my family, who have been here for me literally forever, and who do everything that they can to make my dreams a reality: thank you.

To help Kaitlin reach her goal you can donate through her 
GoFundMe fundraiser or send her an email at if you are a business interested in being a sponsor. 

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