Every year, a select number of screenwriters are invited to participate in Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab, a four-week program that helps writers take their current scripts to the next level in a nurturing and challenging creative environment.
This year, SFTV alum Tom Huang (MFA – ’02) has been one of seven fellows selected into the Screenwriting Lab. He has also been awarded the LMU SFTV Screenwriting Fellowship, a $10,000 grant that will allow him to develop his script, Dealing with Dad. According to a press release sent out by Film Independent, “Dealing with Dad follows the story of a slightly dysfunctional family dealing with the clinical depression of their Dad…whom everybody happens to hate.”
To learn more about the Film Independent and the Screenwriting Lab, visit filmindependent.org.
What do you get when you ask creative people from all over the world to collaborate on a project within their first week of meeting? Well, one might think you’d get a catastrophe, but here at SFTV we call it 10:1 Film Rush. The program is unique in that it allows all of the film school’s incoming graduate students to work together on a hands-on project immediately upon arrival.
Sixty-six students from three programs – Writing for the Screen, Film Production, and Writing and Producing for TV – were split into 11 groups and given a mentor (of which I was one. Go Team 8!). Tasked with developing a film project from concept to completion in one day, teams were provided with a specific prompt, this year it was a clock, and creative limitations were imposed – only 10 shots in the film, no on set recorded sound, three-minute run time.
It can be dicey asking any creative group of people to trust each other with no prior knowledge of each other’s skills. However, it does allow for new bonds to be formed. I’m still friends with the folks in my group when I went through Film Rush in 2013. Alex Dudley, a first year WPTV student, mentioned that it was an especially great program because it allowed her not to “start in a WPTV bubble. I liked getting to know people from different programs and work with them early on.”
It’s very fulfilling now as a mentor to have watched other grad students enjoy themselves at the event. Throughout the process, I saw that everyone was willing to work together in a unique and interesting way. The collaboration within the student groups was easy and the creative juices were flowing. Even if there were the inevitable mistakes, everyone was willing to help.
At the end of the day, while each film varied in tone and in subject matter, they had one major thing in common: each was the original work of some talented artists who have bright futures ahead of them.
Director and SFTV production alum Jason Mann (B.A. ’07) was named the winner of HBO’s recently revamped show Project Greenlight. The show, produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, gives one talented director the opportunity to create their first feature film.
Mann and Project Greenlight producer Marc Joubert came to campus for an advance screening of the first two episodes of the show followed by a Q&A session moderated by SFTV Professor Gregory Ruzzin.
As part of the selection process, Affleck and Damon held a comedy short film contest to find a director who would create a feature film from a provided script. During the Q&A, Joubert revealed that he was “blown away” by Mann’s short Delicacy, saying it was the only film out of hundreds of submissions that he actually sent to Affleck and Damon during the process.
Mann spoke about his experience on the show, and how LMU prepared him for his career, saying “LMU was such a formative time for me. LMU lets you do a big things and maybe you fail, but you learn from the process.”
SFTV alum Effie Brown (B.A. ’93) is also featured in the show, serving as Mann’s producer and mentor.
Project Greenlight premieres Sunday, September 13 at 10 p.m. on HBO.
Read the Loyolan’s piece on Mann’s visit here.
SFTV’s Monday Nights Series kicks off August 31st in Mayer Theater with a screening of We Come as Friends followed by a Q&A with Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker Hubert Sauper.
We Come as Friends is a moving and surreal journey into the heart of Africa. At the moment when the Sudan, the continent’s biggest country, is being divided into two nations, an old “civilizing” ideology re-emerges – one of colonialism and a clash of empires – with new episodes of bloody wars over land and resources. Hubert Sauper takes us on a voyage in his tiny, self-made aircraft constructed from tin and canvas, leading us into the most improbable locations and into people’s thoughts and dreams in both stunning and heartbreaking ways. Variety described the film as “a masterfully composed and suitably outraged look at the neocolonialist exploitation of South Sudan.”
The film has already won multiple awards, including the Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery and the Berlin Film Festival’s Peace Film Award.
Start the year off right and head to Mayer Theater next Monday. Be sure to RSVP and grab your tickets here.