Child Star of The Florida Project receives scholarship to Rollins

Rollins gives a full scholarship to Christopher Rivera, a 10-year-old-turned-film-star from an underserved neighborhood in Kissimmee.

Chief marketing and community relations officer Sam Stark ’91 and senior associate director of international admission Brandy Fransen join the Riveras and The Florida Project’s producer Kevin Chinoy on a tour of campus. Photo by Phelan Ebenhack. Chief marketing and community relations officer Sam Stark ’91 and senior associate director of international admission Brandy Fransen join the Riveras and The Florida Project’s producer Kevin Chinoy on a tour of campus. Photo by Phelan Ebenhack.

A few months ago, 10-year-old Christopher Rivera was living in a motel in one of Orlando’s impoverished neighborhoods. Now he’s on the big screen and on track to chase his dreams at Rollins.

When filmmakers of The Florida Project, which follows a young girl’s adventures in the underbelly of the state’s tourism industry, were scouting locations, they happened upon the Riveras who live in Kissimmee. Christopher immediately won the heart of Patti Wiley, an Orlando casting agent, and he got the part of Scooty, a friend of the main character.

After Rollins administrators saw the film, they were moved and entered into a partnership with The Florida Project producers and its distributor, indie film studio A24. Rollins offered Christopher a full scholarship when it comes time for him to attend college.

Read more about the role Rollins is playing in Christopher’s journey in the Orlando Weekly.