Our Story

Our story started with a young boy, his parents' cell phone camera, and a vision.

September 2015
Our founder, Mark, was honored to be an inductee to the National Gallery for America's Young Inventors. During the induction ceremony, he met Mr. Frankovits.

Mr. Frankovits is a teacher who helps students find their purpose in life by introducing them to the process of being creative and inventing.
A photo of Mark Leschinsky standing next to Mr. Frankovits
February 2016
Mark joined Mr. Frankovits' other students in their learning under him. It was here that Mark observed the true positive influence of him on his students.

He saw how Mr. Frankovits guided his students in the correct direction in life, like a lighthouse guides ships, by teaching them to be creative and to invent.
A photo of a lighthouse shining light in the darnkess
October 2016
Inspired by his teacher's profound impact on his students, Mark set out to develop an educational documentary about Mr. Frankovits.

Mark had no experience in filmmaking, no expensive equipment, no help... nothing. But, he did have the motivation to make this film about a teacher who impacted him.
July 2017
With his parents' cell phone and some free editing software, Mark finished his first movie and called it "The Lighthouse."

Just a few months later, his film was an official selection of over 15 film festivals and it won 10 awards — he was amazed!
The Lighthouse movie poster
September 2017
Mark attends his first film festival, the
Newark International Film Festival, where
his work premieres and he is interviewed.
A photo of Mark Leschinsky at the Newark International Film Festival
July 2019
Inspired by his first success, Mark sets out to create a second film. This time, it's a movie about an unusual friendship of two children living in different countries and in drastically different time periods.

He called it "Tei Tei."
Tei Tei movie poster
February 2020
Mark attends and presents at the American Filmatic Arts Awards in New York, New York.
A photo of Mark Leschinsky at the American Filmatic Arts Awards
April 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mark realized how TV stations only ever showed perspectives from adults on the disaster.

Eager to spread positivity during a negative time, Mark produced an inspirational film about students' perspectives on the virus.

He called it "We The Children" and 21 students of different ages and backgrounds participated.
We the Children movie poster
September 2020
At the time of his first movie, Mark thought, as many today do, that filmmaking is only reserved for the wealthy and well-established who have resources to create professional films.

At this point, Mark realized how his experience has exemplified that this is untrue, and that filmmaking is for all.

He assembled a student board and started The Lighthouse Initiative to democratize filmmaking and teach students globally about the diverse art of moviemaking.
Today
Today The Lighthouse Initiative (TLI) is run by Mark and a group of driven students dedicated to making meaningful change in their community through their passion for filmmaking and creative expression. And, TLI is now fiscally supported by companies such as Microsoft, Canva, and Grammarly, among others!
Today The Lighthouse Initiative is run by Mark and a group of driven high-school students dedicated to making meaningful change in their community through their passion for filmmaking and creative expression.