As we head into summer, the School of Film and Television congratulates all of our graduating students and also recognizes those students among the class of 2015 who were honored with various academic awards. Pat yourselves on the back…or let us do it for you! Go Lions!
SFTV Student Awards (faculty selected awards based on department criteria):
Animation: Michelle Singh
Recording Arts: Gavin Finn
Production Undergraduates: Jessica Inyene Akpan, Matthew Law-Phipps
Production Graduates: Elida Portillo, Irma Puzauskaite
Ian Connor Cinematography: Laura Jansen, Shanhuan Manton
Undergraduate Screenwriting: Jess Ansik, Samantha Ring
M.F.A. Feature Screenwriting: Danielle Ownbey
M.F.A. WPTV Screenwriting: Bernard Badion
2015 Student Service & Leadership Awards:
Maya Ben Yair (Production – B.A. 17)
Garrett Harris (Production – B.A. ’15)
Trent Nakamura (Recording Arts – B.A. ’15)
Student Organization of the Year Award: Delta Kappa Alpha – Cinematic Artists of Character
Woody Woodpecker Award (faculty selected annual award for the Best Animator – winner receives a a Woody Woodpecker statuette and a $2500 check from the Walter Lantz Foundation):
Julia Vanderpoel (Animation – B.A. ’15) – Chasm Crossing
LMU Graduate Student Association’s On Campus Service Leadership Award:
Ebony Gilbert (Screenwriting – M.F.A.’15)
Cuba: The Forgotten Revolution, a documentary created by SFTV Professor Glenn Gebhard, is airing on PBS nationwide through American Public Television. The film amends history by telling the story of a school teacher named Frank Pais and an architecture student named Jose Antonio Echeverria, who were both critical figures in the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista y Zaldiva. Although not as well-known as the historically famous Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, both men played important roles in Batista’s eventual overthrow.
“My film is unique…a deconstruction of the well-worn myths about the Cuban revolution,” said Gebhard. “I’ve been on this film for five years and shot [it] from Cuba to Puerto Rico, to New York and New Haven to LA, Oregon and a few other places.”
Cuba: The Forgotten Revolution chronicles Pais’ and Echeverria’s roles through footage and interviews with family members, Cuban revolutionaries and a former CIA agent. It is commonly believed that Batista’s overthrow was a result of Fidel Castro’s actions alone. Gebhard’s documentary, however, illustrates how both Pais and Echeverria rallied for support against Batista. Above all, the film examines how we view and remember history and seeks to shed light on how Pais and Echeverria helped shape Cuban history.
While the film took Gebhard five years to complete, he had a little help from the LMU SFTV community. Alumnus Tim Guest (Screenwriting – B.A. ‘10) co-wrote the film and Lecturer Mario Congreve served as the film’s co-producer. The Recording Arts Department’s Associate Professor Kurt Daugherty recorded much of the sound and Professor Mladen Milicevic composed the music. The film has star power, too. SFTV Dean Stephen Ujlaki connected the actress and singer Rita Moreno to the project; she is the film’s off-camera narrator.
Clinical Assistant Professor Gino Brancolini, the Associate Producer, contributed to both the scripting and editing of the film. Brancolini also helped secure a partnership with WTIU Public Television, who he worked for in the past. WTIU Public Television shared the film with American Public Television, who selected it for national distribution. Sixty-five PBS stations across the country have agreed to air the film, including those in large metropolitan markets including New York, Boston, Chicago and Miami.
“This film was a joint project of all of us. I’m happy that we finally got this done, and have such wide distribution,” said Gebhard.
The film airs on the local L.A. PBS station, KCLS, Tuesday, April 28 at 9:30pm. All other markets, please check your local listings.
Watch the documentary trailer below. Congratulations Glenn!
This just in: visiting assistant professor Leena Pendharkar‘s short film Dandekar Makes a Sandwich won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short at the 2015 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles this past weekend.
Dandekar Makes a Sandwich, a dramedy written and directed by Pendharkar, tells the story of RK Dandekar, “a curmudgeonly retiree with a picky palate, [who] will stop at nothing to find just the right ingredients for the perfect sandwich.” This short film acts as a prequel to the feature film Days with Dandekar, and debuted on March 14 at CAAMFest 2015.
Ping-Wen Wang (Production – M.F.A. ’15) received the opportunity of a lifetime when she landed a position as a production assistant on a Martin Scorsese film, currently filming in Taiwan. The film, Silence, tells the story of two Jesuit priests (played by Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield) who endure violence and persecution while attempting to spread the gospel of Christianity in Japan during the seventeenth century.
While in Taiwan visiting her family, fellow student Kuan-Fu Lin (Production – M.F.A. ’15) recommended Wang to the production supervisor on the film. Two days before Wang was scheduled to return to LMU, she was offered an interview. After two rounds of interviews, Wang was offered the position of on-set production assistant in the assistant director crew. “I was unsure whether I should take it or not, but my parents, Assistant Professor Kennedy Wheatley, Associate Professor Swanson, Professor Gebhard and Dr. Shin gave me full support and encouraged me to take the opportunity,” said Wang.
As a production assistant, Wang’s primary duties include controlling noise on the set, helping the assistant directors, managing up to 200 extras and handling the crew’s walkie-talkies. She credits her education at LMU with helping her excel in the role. “The pre-production class in the first year at SFTV really helps. We use one-line schedule and breakdown from Movie Magic scheduling software in the AD crew. It’s easy to understand since we learned it at LMU. Also, the experience on LMU student sets made it easier to handle tasks and helped me be very proactive at work.”
Although days on set run anywhere from 16 to 20 hours, she has managed to work on her senior thesis during her days off. “Irma Pužauskaitė (Production – M.F.A. ’15) is editing my thesis film with me long distance,” said Wang. “On my days off we Skype, and I give her notes and we discuss the film. I also have my composer, sound designer and colorist in Los Angeles. They’re ready to work on my film once the picture is locked. It’s amazing that we can do everything long distance.”
When asked about what she has enjoyed most about the experience so far, Wang said, “My favorite days are when we’re shooting the big scenes. There was a day when we were filming the opening scene. They built the whole street to represent the seventeenth century and used special effects to create rain and smoke all over the street. I was assigned to direct a few extras. It’s really been unforgettable.”
Silence is set for release in 2016.