Me & Morgan Freeman

March 4, 2020
Francine Gascon phptographing Morgan Freeman at the LACC inauguration

Francine Gascon photographing Morgan Freeman at the LACC inauguration.

yoram kahana/hfpa

By Francine Gascon

Pablove Shutterbug Photographer, Leukemia Survivor, age 12

I was invited to meet Mr. Morgan Freeman at the launch of his new theater, The Morgan Freeman Theater at Los Angeles City College campus in East Hollywood. His new theater building and dedication event was made possible by the HFPA. It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Never would I have thought that one day I would meet Mr. Freeman in person. I love watching his movies and then to get the chance to speak with him in person was such a blessing. 

During his speech, I was inspired by Mr. Freeman’s many character traits. I learned that he is a kind person with much wisdom. He inspired me to be a better, wiser and kinder person. My mom commented that he gave good advice during the Q & A session, and I had to agree.

Mr. Freeman taught me that if something is in my way, I should “DO IT OR DIE”.  He showed me it’s important to keep fighting and going forward, not just for my condition as a cancer survivor, but for life in general. Mr. Freeman faced many struggles, but he did not let anything get in his way or stop him from doing what he loved -- acting and performing. I won’t ever stop doing the activities that I love, such as dancing, singing, and photography. I liked how during the interview, Mr. Freeman was so humble yet so funny answering questions from the LACC students.

Mr. Freeman, while playing a part or just being himself, gives great advice that can apply to anyone in the world. In one of my favorite movies that he stars in, Dolphin Tale, his character has a line that says:

“In this changing world, it’s harder than ever to find something extraordinary, but every once in a while a symbol of hope breaks through. And this time, her name is Winter.”

I love this quote in the movie because it reminds us that our world is changing constantly and that it’s hard to find something special. But if we look closely we can find beauty.

Why was I invited to this event you may ask? I am a lucky student in the Pablove Shutterbugs program. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association supports The Pablove Foundation through grants, which in turn, helps kids with cancer like me get to experience these huge opportunities. Shutterbugs has given me a love of photography and helped me to grow as a person. The program helps me understand things from other people’s points of view and create new ways to express myself. I get to do that a lot through my camera. While Pablove provides photography classes to kids with cancer who need it, they also collaborate with researchers and doctors who are trying to find a cure for cancer. Pablove is a very important part of my life and I am grateful for them and the HFPA for all the awesome opportunities they have given me.

Right now, I am very healthy and enjoying school and my life. I still go to the hospital every 2-3 months for follow-ups. I want to be a pediatric oncologist someday and help kids who have been diagnosed with cancer like I was. I think it’s a good way to help people with a special place in my heart. At the same time, I want to be a photographer, thanks to the Shutterbugs program for making a huge impact in my life. I am so thankful for all you’ve done for me. Let’s spread LOVE. Let’s pabLOVE one another!