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Award-Winning Student Film Addresses Coronavirus Stigma


In a film lasting less than a minute, two Fordham student filmmakers captured the impact of the stigma surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The film “MASK,” produced by Yang Xu, FCLC ’21, and Mengxuan Annie Du, FCLC ’20, portrays a private phone call between an Asian mother and daughter who live on opposite sides of the world. In their conversation, they ruminate on the coronavirus-related racism and xenophobia that many people have been experiencing. 

“The film speaks to the racial prejudice so many Asians are experiencing in real life, and it does so in such an intimate and personal way,” said Jacqueline Reich, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of communication and media studies. 

Xu and Du’s film won “Best Drama” in Fordham’s inaugural One-Minute Film Festival, a student competition sponsored by the Department of Communication and Media Studies and Fordham’s chapter of the New York Film and Television Student Alliance. Their film was among six award-winning videos that were screened at the Story 2020 Summit on March 7. The all-day summit at the Lincoln Center campus featured panels and Q&A sessions with leading entertainment industry professionals.

“It was an accomplished film that showed real storytelling talent as well as a passion for speaking out against social injustice,” said screenwriter James Jennewein, a senior lecturer in Fordham’s communication and media studies department who helped spearhead the conference. “At times like these, we must be more vigilant about racial and ethnic bias than ever.”


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