Alum Derek Gordon (PROD – M.F.A. ’12) is to produce an unscripted hip hop docuseries being developed by Timbaland and La La Anthony. According to Variety, “Leftfield Entertainment’s CEO David George will serve as an exec producer with Will Nothacker and Derek Gordon.”
Set inside the New York City nightlife scene – where clubs have become the new boardrooms – the series exposes the cutthroat entrepreneurial side of hip hop, with models, DJs and social media stars “hustling” to break through as fashion, music and media moguls. The series will revolve around Face Time Agency, a top casting agency for booking music video and hip hop fashion models, whose clients include Drake, Kanye West and Robin Thicke.
Read more in Variety.
The prevalence and frequency of mass shootings, and the issues concerning our country’s gun culture, has been at the forefront of public consciousness for some time. This year, Sundance Film Festival presented several films dealing with the gun debate, including Speaking is Difficult, a short documentary produced by Will Lennon (Screenwriting ’13).
Speaking is Difficult takes its title from a 2013 plea to Congress for tighter gun laws by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The 14-minute short travels to more than 20 locations to cover and analyze the rise of mass shootings in America, blending everyday footage with 911 phone calls to provide emotional context and give viewers a sense of what the victims went through.
“The project was brought to me by my co-worker, and director of the film, AJ Schnack, in the fall. He, along with Oscar-winning documentarian Laura Poitras (Citizenfour) and Charlotte Cook, started an organization called Field of Vision, which is an outlet for short form visual journalism. I immediately thought the idea was super powerful, ” said Will. “Once the film was greenlit by FOV, we hit the ground running. I had to organize about 15 DP’s in 20 different locations to go film within a couple of weeks. We ended up adding five other locations as well. I had to do a lot of research on locations, events, 911 calls, etc. I went with our photographers on location several times as well, which was powerful and haunting each time.”
Speaking to the LA Times, Schnack acknowledges that the topic calls for a larger national discussion. “Clearly everyone’s been talking about the issue, but the hope is that by talking about it artistically we can have a different kind of conversation.”
When asked his reaction to the film being selected by Sundance, Will said, “Once we started editing, we knew something was there. Still, it never even occurred to me that we’d get into Sundance. I think AJ and I are still in shock.”
Will is also the producer for the Cinema Eye Honors, an organization that honors artistry/craft in nonfiction filmmaking.
Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television is pleased to announce the return of The Hollywood Masters, starting January 29 with writer-director-producer George Miller (The Road Warrior, Happy Feet, Mad Max: Fury Road).
Additional guests include acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs, The Social Network, The West Wing); actor-activist Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise, The Accidental Tourist); actor-songwriter-producer Ice Cube (Ride Along, Straight Outta Compton); Oscar-winning producer Irwin Winkler (Rocky, Raging Bull, Creed); and groundbreaking TV producer Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons).
“This season’s line-up of talent is incredible. We are thrilled that our students will hear from such prominent industry figures — many of them are trailblazers who have spent their careers promoting diversity and social justice, values that are hallmarks of our school,” said Stephen Ujlaki, dean of the School of Film and Television.
“This season’s guests represent everything that is best about film and television,” said Stephen Galloway, executive features editor of The Hollywood Reporter, and the Emmy Award-winning host of the series. “Norman Lear has created some of the most cutting-edge work in television and has continued to be a beacon for anyone who believes entertainment can have a social impact; and Ice Cube is proving that film and music are still at the heart of social change.”
The Hollywood Masters is open to the LMU community with priority given to SFTV students and faculty. Watch your lion email for exclusive invitations.
Watch and share clips of past guests of The Hollywood Masters here: http://bit.ly/1Cjw59B
Join the conversation: #hollywoodmasters
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Twenty-six SFTV undergraduate and graduate students were awarded scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year. Awards are based on merit and faculty recommendations.
At a recent scholarship breakfast hosted by SFTV Dean Stephen Ujlaki, he congratulated the students, saying, “We are extremely appreciative to our generous donors who make it possible for all of you to study at LMU.”
During the event, the students had a chance to mingle with fellow SFTV students, faculty and staff and speak about how their scholarships have impacted their education and work. “This scholarship has allowed me to pursue my passion with sound and music,” said Recording Arts freshman Ryan Hartnett. Second-year Production M.F.A. student Zoë Smurr shared how the scholarship enabled her to make a short documentary about her family’s journey navigating her father’s Alzheimer’s disease. “It is important to me to be able to share the effects Alzheimer’s has on family and marriage, and the scholarship made that possible for me.”
Congratulations to all the recipients!