When Michael Raisler put together his Gold Medal-winning Art Portfolio for the 2003 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, he wanted to share his belief in mankind’s ability to change the world for the better and also his fear of losing that belief. He wrote, “I am trying desperately to believe that communication still exists, that people’s minds can be changed, and that hate can be conquered.” Over time many adults give up on trying to change the world…that is partly what Rings I Can’t Reach represents for me, this idealism that is always present in my life, but seems to be gradually slipping away.”
That year, only 6 portfolios out of the 2,500 submitted for national judging were given Gold Awards, and Raisler’s was one of them. During his freshman year at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Raisler expressed the impact of winning that Award in an email to the Alliance: “Receiving a Gold Medal has given me the confidence I need as an artist to allow me to continue making the kind of art that I want to make, the kind of art that needs to be made.”
Now, nearly ten years after receiving his Scholastic Award, his faith in humanity still stands, and he continues to journey to change t he world for the better. Raisler is now the Creative Director of Cinereach, which he helped to create in 2006. The nonprofit facilitates the creation of films that offer new perspectives and inspire action through grants, fellowships, and productions. Most recently, Cinereach produced Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is currently open in select theaters across the country, and is a great example of the kind of films Cinereach tries to get involved in. Check out the trailer here.