»Press Releases

Current Dodge College press releases announcing the latest big news.

+-CHAPMAN FILMED ENTERTAINMENT Ready to Begin Production of Micro-Budget Films



Orange, CA – June 6, 2012 – Chapman Filmed Entertainment, the first-of-its-kind micro-budget production company launched by Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, announced today that its first film production will be the thriller “Trigger.” The company has optioned the script from Max Enscoe and tapped Chapman alumnus Basel Owies, ’10 M.F.A. Film Production, to direct the feature. The announcement was made today by Bob Bassett, Chapman Entertainment CEO and Dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

A character-driven thriller, “Trigger” examines two men fixated on what triggers the enormity of evil: a father whose life is destroyed in pursuit of a monster, a son caught in a deadly charade as he tries to unravel his father’s obsession.

Principle photography is scheduled to begin in late summer in Orange, CA.

Travis Knox, formerly senior vice president of Storyline and executive producer of “The Bucket List,” handles all development and production for Chapman Filmed Entertainment while Barbara Doyle, a former production executive with Tri-Star, oversees physical production.

“Trigger” will be produced by Knox. Bob Yari and William Immerman will serve as executive producers along with Adam Rosenfelt and Brian Pitt.

Director Basel Owies graduated from Dodge College’s Conservatory of Motion Pictures in 2010.  His short films have won several awards including Best Featurette at Red Rock Film Festival for his thesis film, “Forced Perspective.”

Writer Max Enscoe won The Christopher Award for his screenplay “The Ron Clark Story” as well as The Humanitas Prize and a WGA Award for “Johnny Kapahala: Back On Board.” His deal was negotiated by Jordan Bayer of Original Artists and attorney Scott Whitehead of McKuin Frankel Whitehead.

Chapman Filmed Entertainment is a sustainable, fully-functioning film production company designed to produce four to six pictures per year in the micro-budget range (budgets in the $250,000 - $625,000 range). Utilizing Chapman University's unique film resources the company is at the forefront of the emerging trend of micro-budgeted films in the independent film arena.

Current constraints of the traditional economic models of independent filmmaking, combined with enhanced and increasingly accessible technology, make Chapman Filmed Entertainment the answer for a new era of filmmakers and storytellers. 

The company was developed over many months during discussions with a wide range of faculty and a variety of friends of Dodge College, in particular, alumnus Tim Kashani, ’08 M.F.A. Film Production, and former faculty member and president of Element Pictures, Adam Rosenfelt, and his business partner Brian Pitt. 

Chapman Filmed Entertainment will produce a slate of independent films while creating a new paradigm that will not only significantly increase the exposure of Chapman University but also enable the company to control content at a time when multi-picture deals for independent films are limited yet emerging distribution technologies are becoming increasingly viable.

Employing a unique hybrid of Dodge College post-graduates and a select group of established industry professionals, the productions are designed to keep costs low while maintaining high creative standards and serve as a means of building a bridge into the industry for talented Dodge College students and alumni.

+-Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Announces Participants for 13th Annual WOMEN IN FOCUS Film Industry Conference

Orange, CA (March 26, 2012) – Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, recognized as one of the premier film schools in the United States, proudly presents the 13th Annual Women in Focus Conference on Friday, April 20, 2012, where top female directors, producers, writers, and executives share their experiences in Hollywood with both students and industry professionals in attendance.

The Women in Focus panel is designed to build a dialogue between emerging and established women in the film industry. This year’s panel includes such highly accomplished individuals as producer and former Walt Disney Motion Picture Group President Nina Jacobson (“Hunger Games,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Remember the Titans,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”); Dreamworks Studios Co-Chairman and CEO Stacey Snider (“The Help,” “War Horse”); Plan B Entertainment President and 2012 Academy Award® nominee Dede Gardner (“The Tree of Life,” “Eat Pray Love,” “A Mighty Heart”); Academy Award® nominated director Jessica Yuh Nelson (“Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Madagascar”) and acclaimed producer Debra Chase Martin (“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “The Princess Diaries,” “Courage Under Fire”).

The esteemed panel will be moderated by Dawn Taubin, Professor of Public Relations and Advertising at Dodge College and former Head of Marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures, who recently consulted for Dreamworks on the academy campaigns for The Help and War Horse.  

The conference, which is open to the public, highlights the independent film industry and features an afternoon of activities, including panel discussions with some of the most prominent women in the business, as well as a scholarship presentation, luncheon and networking mixer.

The conference commences at 1:30 p.m., when participants will screen clips from their work, and discuss breaking into the industry, building the relationships necessary for success, and obstacles they have faced throughout their careers. The discussion will also explore their perspectives on unique challenges women face in the independent film world. The conference concludes with a formal mixer beginning at 4:30 p.m.

“It’s so important for students who are passionate about the entertainment business to understand the challenges associated with making great movies that are also commercially successful,” says Robert Bassett, Dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. “Fostering a conversation between accomplished women in film and our students supports Dodge College’s goal of arming the storytellers of tomorrow with the knowledge, tools and know-how to make it in the business.”

The 2012 Women in Focus Conference is sponsored by Tricia Berns, Eve Kornyei Ruffatto, Twyla Martin, Laurie Rodnick, Harriet Sandhu and Bonny Schumacher.


Event Location:

Paul and Daranne Folino Theater in Marion Knott Studios is located at 283 N. Cypress in Orange, Calif.  The conference is free and open to the public. 

For more information and to RSVP, please visit www.ftv.chapman.edu/WIF or call 714-997-6515.

+-Mofilm Live LA Announces Grand Prize Winners At Chapman University

Orange, CA – (February 20, 2012) – Five film students from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, recognized as one of the premier film schools in the United States, has won the grand prize for MOFILM Live’s first U.S. college competition for an ad they created for Campbell Soup, depicting a child feigning sickness to get a bowl of soup. The team beat 12 other competing schools/ organizations, including Pepperdine, UCLA, Los Angeles Film School, and the New York Film Academy to win the top prize – a trip for two of the winners to attend the South-By-Southwest Film Festival, including air, hotel and festival passes.  

“I’m really proud of our students, says Frank Chindamo, associate professor at Dodge College and student mentor for the event. “I suspected they had a good chance to win the second I heard their concept.”  Avatar and Titanic producer Jon Landau spoke at the event, encouraging students with his own climb from film student to film mogul.

The MOFILM competition started with a contest among teams at each school, with the grand prize winner then selected from among the winners of the 12 competitions. In September 2011 Chapman students Sten Olson (BFA/FP’15 , Adolfo Kahan (BFA/FP’14), Jonathan Amato (BFA/FP’15), Jordan Evans (BFA/FP’15), and Hannah McDonald (BFA/FP’15) each won a high-definition camera presented by MOFILM president and co-founder Andy Baker for their winning thirty-second spot selected from work created by countless Chapman teams. When awarding the group Baker classified the spot as “totally TV-ready.”

At each school, student teams were provided with cameras, laptops, and a “live brand brief” from Campbell’s Soup Company to produce a real television advertisement – from  brainstorming, pitching, filming, editing, and screening thirty-second spots - over the course of a nine-hour day.

MOFILM, a company which links independent filmmakers’ creativity with name brands and social causes, runs major video competitions around the world each year with sizable cash prizes, travel opportunities, and chances to be recognized by name brands. MOFILM winning contestants also become part of MOFILM:pro, MOFILM’s production arm that directly commissions filmmakers with briefs from outside brands like Campbell Soup Company and Chevrolet.

Watch the winning commercial.

+-Academy Award® Nominee Joanne Sellar Named Spring 2012 Filmmaker-In-Residence At Chapman University

Orange, CA (February 7, 2012) – Academy Award® nominated producer JoAnne Sellar (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, Magnolia) has been named Spring 2012 Filmmaker-in-Residence at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, recognized as one of the premier film schools in the United States. The announcement was made today by Dodge College Dean Bob Bassett.

Every semester, Dodge College hosts an expert filmmaker to meet with and counsel 10 selected scholars , as part of its Filmmaker-in-Residence program. The popular program includes regular, bi-weekly meetings with the filmmaker in a one-on-one setting where the student and mentor have the opportunity to creatively develop a specific project throughout the semester. In addition, the filmmaker interacts with the larger Dodge College community at weekly dinners with the filmmaker open to students and screenings of the filmmaker’s films followed by an in-class Q & A.

Sellar is currently working on her sixth collaboration with writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson on his latest film The Master starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. Her previous collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson include Boogie Nights (nominated for three Oscars®), Magnolia (nominated for three Oscars®), Punch-Drunk Love, and There Will Be Blood, which was nominated for eight Oscars® including Best Film and won for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Cinematography (Robert Elswit).

Sellar’s repertoire of feature film producing credits began with the sci-fi thriller Hardware. She went on to produce such notable films as Richard Stanley’s Dust Devil, George Sluizer’s Dark Blood, Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions and the critically acclaimed The Anniversary Party starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming.

Prior to working in the film industry, Sellar had a successful career producing music videos for the likes of U2, Elvis Costello and Iggy Pop. Her diverse experience also extends into television, where she co-produced “Red, Hot, & Blue,” a worldwide tribute to Cole Porter benefiting AIDS research.

Her career began in the early 80’s, programming a repertory cinema in London called The Scala, which won acclaim for its diverse, original and alternative film selections.

“Dodge College is delighted to host an accomplished producer such as JoAnne Sellar, whose ongoing partnership with Paul Thomas Anderson has helped bring into existence some of the edgier, more interesting fare of recent years,” says Dean Bob Bassett. “I’m sure she will contribute a great deal to our students’ understanding of how that critical director/producer partnership works.”

 "I'm excited to be sharing my experiences of making movies with students who have a genuine passion for filmmaking,” says Sellar.”

+-$3.6 million gift will establish the Dhont Family Foundation Doc. Film Center in Dodge College

ORANGE, Calif. – A $3.6 million gift from the Dhont Family Foundation of Santa Ana, Calif. to Chapman University will establish the Dhont Family Foundation Documentary Film Center in the planned Millennial Studios expansion of Chapman’s Marion Knott Studios, as well as supporting an innovative Chapman documentary film project that is assisting local community organizations.

Three million dollars of the gift will go to the $50 million Millennial Studios Campaign to create the documentary center, augmenting the already robust documentary film program within Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. The center will dramatically enhance the university’s resources and facilities for student and faculty documentary filmmakers.

In addition, the gift also includes $600,000 to expand the university’s current “Community Voices” program, a unique initiative in which Chapman students create films about local non-profit organizations. The films are then screened publicly and provided to the organizations, helping them to draw the public’s attention to the community’s most challenging and important social, political and environmental issues.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to the Dhont Family Foundation for this transformative gift, which will add an advanced, state-of-the-art workspace and center for student documentary filmmakers to our plans for Dodge College’s Millennial Studios,” said James L. Doti, Ph.D., president of Chapman University.

“This gift will make possible the expansion of student and faculty documentary exchanges with domestic and overseas film schools, help us grow our database for documentary jobs and internships, and assist us in developing a roster of documentary events that will benefit our students and appeal to public audiences,” added Bob Bassett, dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. “These offerings will no doubt include special screenings, panels, film festivals, award events, lectures and hands-on demos by some of the world’s leading practitioners of the documentary art form.”

Community Voices, said Bassett of the documentary program’s signature initiative, is much more than just a classroom experience or everyday student film project. “It’s an agent for social change, a wide-ranging forum for talented Chapman students to create powerful works that address social justice, poverty and discrimination, public health, the environment and other relevant issues that plague our communities.”

The Dhont Family Foundation began its support for Community Voices in 2009, making it possible for 50 students to produce 15 documentaries since then. The experience is often a life-changing one for students. Mauri Zingarelli, who participated in the fall 2010 Community Voices class, said, “The documentary genre can and will make the world a better place. I now know what I want to do with my life: spread knowledge and power through documentary filmmaking.” Zingarelli worked on the film “Breaking Through,” which focused on Girls, Inc., a non-profit organization aimed at empowering young girls.

Dodge College enrolled its first Community Voices students two years ago, with a class of 15. The class is now so popular that students have to go through an approval process to become one of the 21 or 22 students accepted into the program each semester.

“All 15 films produced so far by the Community Voices program have gone on to earn critical acclaim at film festivals around the nation,” said Bassett, “and many will be broadcast in the next few months on several different PBS stations, including PBS SoCal, SOPTV in Oregon, KET in Kentucky and potentially on PBS nationally through the National Educational Telecommunications Association. Collectively, tens of thousands of people will be seeing our students’ documentaries via broadcast.”

+-Sikh group looks to build awareness in Hollywood through partnership with Chapman’s Dodge College

Orange, CA (November 16, 2011) – SikhLens today unveiled details of its annual Sikh Art and Film Festival (SAFF) to be held from November 18-20, 2011, at the prestigious Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.

SAFF provides a venue for artists to present their “Sikhcentric” films, art, and music to the broader community with the intent of showcasing their talents and generating increased awareness of Sikh culture. SikhLens showcases work from artists in a variety of fields, including but not limited to film, books, music, and art. It creates avenues for this work to be shared with the rest of the world with the aim of getting more exposure for the artists and writers and at the same time creating awareness and a better understanding of Sikh culture, heritage and values.

It was also announced that The SikhLens Award, underwritten by The Bhathal Family Trust and Sandy and Harriet Sandhu, is providing two Dodge College student documentary groups $5,000 each to produce their films about Sikh themes. The student filmmaking teams are:

Team 1:            Ruth Paul (BFA/TBJ), Brendan Nahmias (BFA/TBJ), Jacob Taylor (BFA/TBJ), Bobby Moser

Film:           Humble, the Poet documents the life of a Sikh rapper wrestling with his art and his Sikh identity.


Team 2:            Matt Diamond (MFA/FP/CR), James Parker (BFA/FP), Ruby Stocking (BFA/TBJ)

Film:            documents a Sikh family trying to bridge the vast geographical and cultural differences between India and America.

The three-day Sikh Art and Film Festival will kick off with a red-carpet Opening Night celebration on Friday, November 18th at 7:15 pm. Guests will be welcomed and introduced to the Festival with a series of short films, live entertainment, and the launch of the 2012 SikhPoint Calendar. Attendees will enjoy Sikh artwork and books in a cultural setting, while mingling with featured artists, writers, and the local community. The evening will then continue with a dessert and dance reception.

Actress Camilla Belle and actor Vinay Virmani will be in attendance for Saturday night’s red carpet U.S. Premiere of “Breakaway” and will take part in an audience Q&A following the screening.

The schedule of events for Saturday and Sunday includes special film clusters and programs focusing on igniting passion, creating discussion, and instilling inspiration. Among other activities, there will be youth-focused film and book panel of Sikh artists telling their stories and exhibiting their talents, a “Sikhs Across the World” film cluster, and a panel focused on the discussion of social issues affecting the Sikh community

Ticket pricing, and more information on SikhLens and the annual Sikh Art and Film Festival (SAFF), is available at www.sikhlens.com

+-Busan West Asian Film Festival, November 11-13

Orange, CA (October 5, 2011) - Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, recognized as one of the premiere film schools in the United States, in continued partnership with South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), Asia’s largest film festival, is proud to announce the Busan West Asian Film Festival, November 11-13 in Orange, Calif. Busan West presents a unique filmmaker showcase that brings select Asian films and filmmakers from BIFF to the U.S. to create a new platform for heightened recognition outside of Asia. This year the festival organizers are excited to welcome internationally acclaimed writer/director Bong Joon-ho (Mother, The Host, Memories of Murder), as the Busan West Icon Award recipient.

Over the course of three days, Dodge College will host a showcase of contemporary and classic Asian films selected primarily from the 2011 Busan International Film Festival by Dodge College Professor Nam Lee, an expert in Pan-Asian film. The Busan West program features a special opening night event and a closing night reception, all designed to showcase Korean and Asian culture through food, music, and décor. Q & A sessions led by notable film scholars will guide the audiences in conversation with several of Asia’s top film directors who have committed to participate at Busan West and personally introduce their films.

Bong Joon-ho will be honored with the Busan West Icon Award for his career that is not only seminal but has also influenced other filmmakers worldwide. Bong Joon-ho is one of Korea’s most celebrated filmmakers, whose popularity and acclaim in the U.S and Europe has elevated his stature in the global landscape and earned him icon status among fans and peers in the industry.

Bong Joon-ho will present his hit film The Host in 3D to open Busan West on Friday, November 11th, following the award ceremony. The screening marks the North American premiere of The Host in 3D. He will also participate in an exclusive Busan West Master Class where he will discuss the crafts of writing and directing with Dodge College students.

Constantly working to be a hub of cinematic education and exploration in Southern California, this is just one of many steps for Dodge College to bring one-of-a-kind opportunities to students and other film enthusiasts in the area. By celebrating the cinematic accomplishments of the vibrant and emerging Asian cinema, the school aims to contribute to the growth of international understanding among nations.

“In our increasingly interdependent global society, the language of film offers one of the most direct ways in which peoples of different cultures can come to know one another, both in their differences and similarities,” says Robert Basset, dean. Thus the growing popularity of international cinema is no surprise. Audiences worldwide hunger for the visual and visceral experience of other cultures that-short of the experience of travel itself-only film can provide.”

The event marks the second venture between Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and BIFF to introduce the culture, look and feel of Asia’s largest film festival to an American audience and celebrate the vibrant and emerging Korean and Pan-Asian cinema. In 2009 the two parties united for the inaugural “Pusan West.” The popularity and success of this first-of-its-kind event planted the seeds for its return in 2011 with an expanded scope.

Busan West events will be held at Marion Knott Studios on Chapman University’s campus in Orange, CA.

Additional Busan West announcements will be made in the coming weeks. For more information on the event and tickets please visit www.busanwest.com.


About Bong Joon-ho


Born and raised in Daegu, Bong Joon-ho decided to become a filmmaker while in middle school, perhaps influenced by an artistic family (his father was a designer and his grandfather was a noted author.) He majored in sociology in Yonsei University in the late 1980s and was a member of the film club and studied the works of filmmakers such as Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Imamura Shohei. In the early 1990s, he completed a two-year program at the Korean Academy of Film Arts. While there, he made many 16mm short films and his graduation works Memory in the Frame and Incoherence was invited to screen at the Vancouver and Hong Kong international film festivals.

In 1994 he directed the short film White People and his first feature film was Barking Dogs Never Bite -- part comedy and part cruel social satire, shot in 2000. He became widely known in his home country for his next film Memories of Murder, based on the true story of the country’s first known serial murders. He attained both commercial success and critical acclaim through this film. The Host in 2006 was seen by a record ten million people in the country and was well received by the Cannes Festival.

In 2008, he participated in the omnibus movie Tokyo ! (segment “Shaking Tokyo”) with Michel Gondry and Leos Carax.

His most recent film is Mother, the story of a mother who struggles to save her son from a murder accusation, which premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes Film Festival in 2009. He is planning to direct Le Transperceneige, an adaption of Jean-Marc Rochette and Jacques Loeb’s graphic novel of the same name.

Bong served as a member of the World Dramatic Jury for the 27th Sundance Film Festival and was the head of the jury for the Caméra d’Or section of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

+-Betty Thomas joins Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

Orange, CA (September 21, 2011) – Accomplished director and producer Betty Thomas (Dr. Dolittle, Private Parts, The Brady Bunch Movie, 28 days) will be mentoring students and screening her work as the O. L. Halsell Filmmaker-in-Residence this fall at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

“We are thrilled to have one of the most commercially successful women directors in the world here to work with our students,” says Dean Bob Bassett. “Her incredible filmography, which includes acting, directing and producing, gives her a depth of experience that our students will find fascinating.”

“The students are more diverse, mature, sophisticated, and open to critique than I anticipated,” says Thomas.  “Their questions are on target and focused on the how and why of filmmaking.  I’m hoping that I can be a valuable source of examples from my experience in the business of filmmaking.”

Thomas’s impressive filmography includes directing Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, The Late Shift, John Tucker Must Die, I spy, and many TV shows and pilots as well as producing such hits as Can't Hardly Wait and both Charlie’s Angels films.

Like many, Thomas’s entry into the film business was indirect. Although she studied painting in college, a dare led her to attend improv workshops that eventually led her to Chicago’s The Second City improv on the main stage, where she performed with other (then unknown) actors such as Bill Murray and John Candy.

Having moved to Los Angeles to open a The Second City theater there, Thomas did a five-line audition for Hill Street Blues. “Five lines,” she says, “that changed my life.”  Her breakthrough role as a police officer named Lucy Bates earned her six Emmy nominations and one win for “Best Supporting Actress” in a drama.

When the show ended in 1987, Thomas returned to The Second City in Chicago where she directed the next show, starring Bonnie Hunt and Mike Meyers, eventually leading to her first TV directing job on Hooperman, starring the late John Ritter. After a few years of directing TV and winning an Emmy for a Dream On episode, she directed her first movie, Only You - an indie film starring Andrew McCarthy, Kelly Preston and Helen Hunt.  

Following her stint at Chapman, Thomas will go back to directing a film for Universal and will look to direct a television pilot as well.

For more information on Betty Thomas and all Dodge College faculty members please visit http://ftv.chapman.edu

+-Sundance Preps for Dodge Invasion

Orange, CA (December 15, 2010) – The 2011 Sundance Film Festival will be the brightly lit stage for eleven Dodge College alumni who collectively have four films screening at the marquee U.S. film festival held in Park City, Utah from January 20-30.

The Sundance Film Festival’s selection of Like Crazy, Ex-Sex, Stones and The Woods expands the ever growing footprint of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in the ultra-competitive independent film landscape and reinforces its position as a premiere institution for the best young filmmakers and storytellers.

Supported by the nonprofit Sundance Institute, the Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades. A defining year for Dodge Alumni at the Festival, the four aforementioned films are poised to become the latest discoveries and break-out hits, generating buzz from Park City screenings that hit Hollywood and film hubs around the world.

About the Dodge Alumni Films:

Writer/director: Mike Mohan, BFA ’02
Cinematographer: Elisha Christian, BFA ’02

(U.S. Narrative Shorts)

 Kristen Riley and Jacob Womack star in Mohan’s short about a one night stand between two people who used to be in love (or so they thought). The film is produced by Jennifer Cochis.

Co-writer/actor: Ben York Jones, BFA ’07

(U.S. Dramatic Competition)

 Like Crazy is a film from and about the heart. Jacob, an American, and Anna, who is British, meet at college in Los Angeles and fall madly in love. It’s the purest kind of romance—they’re each other’s first significant attachment. When Anna returns to London, the couple is forced into a long-distance relationship. Their perfect love is tested, and youth, trust, and geography become their biggest enemies.

Taking a complete tonal departure from his last film, Douchebag, which screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, cowriter/director Drake Doremus poetically reveals the intimate details and daily struggles of Jacob and Anna’s love affair as it stretches across time and distance and changes course. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are enthralling in their sweetness and honesty as the young couple. An original, contemplative look at first love, Like Crazy strikes a universal chord as it explores the bittersweet beauty and impermanence of relationships

The film is directed by Drake Doremus and stars Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead. Producers are Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling. Zygi Wilf and Audrey Wilf are executive producers.

Writer/director: Ty Sanga, MFA ’09
Producer: Jessie Creel, MFA ’09
Cinematographer: Richie Yau, MFA ’09
Editor: Dennis Alaniz, MFA ’09
Production designer: Sarah Pott, MFA ’09
Sound Designer: Mark Hawkins, MFA ‘09

(Indigenous Shorts Showcase)

According to legends, Nihipali and Na’wii are the last of their people on their island. The legend states that they can only come out at night, because the sun’s harsh rays would turn them to stone. Nihipali is tired of living alone with her husband. She believes they should befriend the newcomers to the island. Her husband forbids it. Na’iwi blames the newcomers for their people’s departure. But the loneliness is unbearable for Nihipali, and one night she befriends a young girl from the village. They spend the night enjoying each other’s company, but will this truly make her happy?

 Produced at Chapman University as a 2009 graduate thesis project, Stones is a mythical Hawaiian tale about a family torn between preserving their native land and life and embracing new people and cultures. Cast includes James Bright, Briana Garrido, Moses Goods, Brendi Heresa, Kawai Hoe, Kawai Lui-Koko and Rava Shastid.

Writer/director: Matthew Lessner, BFA ’07
Producer: Max Knies, BFA ’07

(New Frontier

 We were promised change, but it never came. Our cities crumbled around us. Our streets ran red with Hawaiian Punch. Our country was no longer our own. Under Daniel's guidance and leadership, we agreed to take action into our own hands. We preset our DVRs and ventured out of the city limits united. In the woods, we will be safe. In the woods, we will start anew.

This satirical attack on young, modern, globally conscious citizens tells the story of eight grown-up American children creating utopian society as best they can. With gorgeous super-16 footage and an eclectic soundtrack featuring Dirty Projectors, Sun Araw, and Lucky Dragons, filmmaker Matthew Lessner playfully subverts counterculture films of the seventies while questioning the shortcomings of his own complacent generation. In a world where new technologies merely distract us from reality, the greatest revolution can only begin by leaving everything behind.

The Woods stars Justin Phillips, Toby David, Nicola Persky, Brian Woods, Lauren Hamersmith and Anne-Sophie. Producers are Jett Steiger and Max Knies.

For more information on these films and their Festival screening times please visit http://www.sundance.org/festival/article/2011-competition-film-announcement/.

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