Big news! On January 20, 2015, Joe England’s film The Last Man(s) on Earth will be released on iTunes, Xbox, Hulu, Amazon, Amazon Prime, GooglePlay, Dish Network Video On Demand and Vimeo Video on Demand. England (Screenwriting – M.F.A. ’16) is the producer and co-creator of this action-comedy film which began as a series of nine webisodes on YouTube in 2011. The film was an official selection at the 2012 Austin Film Festival, and also screened at the American Film Market, QuirkFest and Salt Lake Comic Con.
In The Last Man(s) on Earth, Kaduche and Wynn are survival experts who share their tips–learned primarily from disaster movies–on YouTube. The film follows Kaduche, Wynn, their nemesis Marcus, their dream girl Violet and the visionary known as Oracle. Together, the team must fight groups such as terrorists, Russian communists and zombies to save the world from destruction. However, they soon realize that they may be doing more harm than good.
The film features several familiar faces. Brady Bluhm, who plays Wynn, played the role of Billy the Blind Kid in Dumb and Dumber and was the voice of Christopher Robin in the Winnie the Pooh movies. Andrea Ciliberti, who plays Violet, is the former Miss Missouri USA and has starred in the reality TV show Beauty and the Geek.
In addition to VOD, The Last Man(s) on Earth will be available on DVD through a deal with Wal-Mart and Amazon, beginning April 1, 2015.
Christopher Helkey (Production – B.A. ’15) is having a great senior year. His film, The Magic Moment, won a best documentary prize at the 2014 Film Outside the Frame awards, and soon after, he took his film to the Berlin Short Film Festival.
It’s exciting for any filmmaker to attend a festival and get the chance to see their work on the big screen. For Helkey, Berlin was also a homecoming. “I made the film while studying abroad in Germany, and I felt very blessed to be able to go back there to attend the festival,” he said.
The Magic Moment (7:30 mins) is the story of a paper engineer from Dortmund, Germany, who creates magical moving three-dimensional objects from paper. Helkey made the film while enrolled in SFTV’s International Documentary Program, based in Bonn. The festival was also an opportunity for Helkey to reconnect with German composer Steven Settinger, who created the music for his film. Click here to watch Helkey’s film.
“Meeting other directors and filmmakers was a very important part of the festival and I made many great connections,” he said. “It was inspiring to watch some of the best short films from around the world, ranging from documentaries to intense mystery dramas to horror films, and I was lucky enough to see all of them.”
The Berlin Short Film Festival is a platform for new talent and a celebration of cinematic creativity and innovation. The festival prides itself in providing opportunities for talented filmmakers from all over the world to learn together and exhibit their work in a stimulating, international environment.
“The whole experience was fun, interesting and professionally rewarding,” said Helkey. “I felt very honored that my short documentary was selected.”
This Narrow Ledge–a performance of spoken word by Screenwriting Professor Marilyn Beker, premiered at the Fountain Theater in Hollywood on November 3. The collection of deeply personal yet issue-driven pieces were performed by a troop of six gifted actresses and covered an impressive array of topics–among them the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, shock therapy, plastic surgery and the worth and politics of women’s work. Though all the pieces are intense, many of them are also downright funny. Visiting Screenwriting Professor David Clawson said the filled-to-overflowing theater “pulsed with pathos and humor.” Subsequent performances are planned.
The LMU Center for Excellence in Teaching named Adriana Jaroszewicz, assistant professor of animation, one of five Master Teachers. The program acknowledges teachers who excel in inventiveness and effectiveness in the classroom and provides opportunities for them to mentor and share expertise with instructors across campus.
“I believe that in order to be an effective teacher one needs to constantly pursue professional development in both pedagogic literature and practice in the discipline,” said Jaroszewicz. Recently, she presented groundbreaking research on the application of Laban Movement Analysis-based methods as animation pedagogy at the Carnegie Academy, Lilly West Conference and the Society for Animation Studies. She also is offering a new course this spring, Programming 3D Animation Tools (ANIM 340).
She continues to develop her skills in the field by pursing professional projects. Her most recent film, the animated short El Botin (The Looting), which combined 3D computer animation and miniatures, was selected for the Women’s Independent Film Festival and won the following awards: Best Animation, Best Directing and Best Visuals. El Botin was inspired by the stories of the Mexican Revolutions she heard from her grandparents and parents.
Before joining Loyola Marymount University, Jaroszewicz was senior digital trainer at Sony Pictures Imageworks. “I hope to keep bringing my enthusiasm about animation to my students and share with them best practices in this field,” she says.