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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation: Tarek’s Film Critic Journey


by Tarek Fayoumi

I am Tarek Fayoumi. I am not only a Turning Pointe Career College Alumnus, but I am also a true cinema enthusiast. I remember first being captivated by movies when I was very young. However, it was not until my teens where I became determined to write film reviews. I recently was accepted as an affiliate member of the Chicago Indie Critics (CIC). While it took time and perseverance to make it into this reputable organization, the skills I learned from Turning Pointe helped me significantly along the way.

I graduated from Turning Pointe Career College in 2018. I was already seeing films on a regular basis and writing reviews to post for my friends and family. However, during this particular time frame, my craft took a pause due to life struggles and concerns about my future. I suffered from writer’s block due in part to a lack of positive focus. The team at Turning Pointe kept encouraging me to pick myself up. After I graduated from Turning Pointe, I jumped back into the routine of writing movie reviews after watching films. This time around, I worked on taking my writing and craft to a whole different level. I kept looking for constructive feedback, helpful suggestions, industry connections, and unique ways to make my writing about cinematic experiences appeal to others. Without the positive encouragement of Turning Pointe, I do not think I would have stayed committed to develop and improve upon the craft of writing film reviews.

When I first learned about the Chicago Indie Critics (CIC), I knew this was the organization I was born to be a part of. The journey to achieve my goal was not smooth and I hit some plateaus along the way. Looking back, I realize that the setbacks I experienced kept pushing me to be a stronger writer and more than just a casual cinema enthusiast. The critics who were already part of the organization kept encouraging me and giving me pointers to help build my reputation which would ultimately allow me to be accepted into the organization. I applied two times (a year apart from each other) and both times I was rejected. Still, I did not give up. Instead, I pushed ahead and kept taking steps to grow my name and my brand in the Chicago film arena.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. During this time, many cinemas closed, movie releases were postponed, and streaming and digital movies were the only accessible options. Despite the frustration I felt and the negative mindset that the holding pattern of the pandemic had me in, it somehow sparked my creativity even more. During 2020 and 2021, I kept finding new virtual outlets to view movies, and more importantly, I kept writing. Turning Pointe also helped me market myself and expand my name recognition. I realized I had a voice to be heard and that one day my dream to make it into the Chicago Indie Critics (CIC) would come true.

In July of this year, I applied to CIC again. Although I was worried that I would be rejected again, I was determined to keep writing reviews. When I was notified that I had become an affiliate member of the Chicago Indie Critics (CIC), I was absolutely thrilled and so proud of myself. I am grateful for all the support and guidance that Turning Pointe and the Chicago Indie Critics have given me to support my passion for cinema. My dream finally came true! Through the process, I realized that commitment and hard work really does pay off. Being rejected once or twice or more should not mean it’s time to give up. To me, it meant that I needed to keep pushing myself to prove that I can do what I dream I can do. That dream is now a reality and I am thrilled to have my film reviews published by CIC along with many other critics in an amazing organization.

Tarek Fayoumi is an avid film and entertainment enthusiast. His movie reviews can be found at https://movieswithtarek.com/. This passion and hobby buoyed his spirit long before the pandemic. Since his promotion from the Turning Pointe Career program, Tarek successfully independently secured full-time employment. We trust his colleagues rely on him for regular movie insights now, too!

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PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.