Matt Groening Endowed Chair in Animation at UCLA TFT
In January 2012, Matt Groening, the award-winning creator of Fox’s The Simpsons, pledged $500,000 to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television to create the Matt Groening Endowed Chair in Animation at UCLA TFT.
The endowment enables the animation program to bring master artists and working professionals with wide-ranging expertise to work with UCLA TFT students, some of whom would not normally be available in the animation curriculum.
At the time of the bestowal, Dean Teri Schwartz remarked: “Matt Groening is recognized globally as a preeminent and pioneering animator, storyteller, cartoonist, writer and producer. His groundbreaking animated series have changed the landscape of television and have become a gold standard for animation and great storytelling throughout the entertainment industry.
“We are so inspired by Matt’s vision, and truly honored by his remarkable generosity and support of our Animation Program,” she continued. “Our UCLA TFT animation program is known for its exceptional and diverse talent from across the globe who create outstanding, award-winning innovative works year in and year out. With this amazing gift, Matt has given our students enormous support and ensured that we will be able to take our program to even greater levels of excellence. Our animation students will benefit greatly from this endowment and it will reinforce UCLA TFT’s continuing position as a premier professional school of entertainment and performing arts. Thank you, Matt Groening.”
The 28-year series reign of The Simpsons makes it the longest-running television comedy of all time. Groening’s creative talents have resulted in his receiving 25 Emmy nominations, 12 Emmy wins, the 2002 National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and a 2004 British Comedy Award.
In 2007, Groening was ranked fourth (and highest American by birth) in Britain’s Daily Telegraph list of “Top 100 Living Geniuses.” In 2012, Groening received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His iconic brand of satire and social commentary is evident throughout dozens of Simpsons specials, spin-offs and feature films as well as the Fox series Futurama, numerous books, merchandising and more.
The Future is Now — Transmedia Hollywood 2
Professionals are growing accustomed to working with well-established Transmedia tools
The second annual Transmedia Hollywood conference, focusing on “Visual Culture and Design” this time, moved past the storytelling themes introduced in last year’s Transmedia Hollywood: “S/telling the Story,” which argued that even when media projects are spun out across several platforms (potentially migrating from novels to comic books to movie and TV programs to video games and beyond), the source of power, the “mothership,” is still the overarching storyline that plays out across all those interlocking mediums. A secondary question that year was who should be responsible for creating and managing all those additional storylines — the creators, their collaborators, digital producers, ARG designers?
This year, staying true to the goal of collaborating across previously dueling film schools, UCLA Producers Program head and associate professor Denise Mann once again joined forces with USC Provost’s Professor Henry Jenkins, moving the conference from its previous berth at USC to TFT’s James Bridges Theater.
In her introductory remarks, Mann referred to a line of inquiry that turned out to be a key theme of the day: the ways in which the members of the “production cultures” that comprise Hollywood (referencing the work of Mann’s TFT colleague Professor John Caldwell) are learning to navigate on a day-to-day basis the often choppy waters of transitioning from traditional industry practices to those embracing new media, social media, virtual work spaces, redefined job descriptions, and many of the bleeding edge technologies of visual design, including those that merge real-world and digitally reproduced spaces in entertainment worlds as vast as the Wizarding World Harry Potter and as imaginatively transporting as that of “Avatar,” “Spartacus” and beyond. TMH2 had a noticeably more practical approach to Transmedia as a work environment – and the Bridges Theater audience, made up predominantly of industry insiders, was riveted.
One goal of TMH2, Jenkins said, would be to get beneath the standard definitions, including his own (from his 2006 book “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.”) Panels would zero in on nuts-and-bolts topics such as character delineation, fan engagement as a precursor to (and extension of) transmedia, and the difficulty of planning and controlling a narrative, to explore how these activities have changed when these stories are transported to the virtual and physical worlds of theme parks.
A daylong event as wide-ranging at TMH2 can’t easily be summarized. But here are a few of the points of discussion that seemed especially noteworthy:
Taking a cue from the user experiences created of pioneering theme parks such as Disney’s Tomorrowland, scholar Scott Bukatman of Stanford (“Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century”) noted that in the era of Imax 3-D much of popular culture may no longer be primarily concerned with telling stories. Instead, its goal is a “kinetic, bodily, immersive experience.”
Theme park scholar Angela Ndalianis of University of Melbourne (Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment) and Thinkwell Designer Craig Hanna debated the social function of theme parks and amusement destinations from the past such as Coney Island and Atlantic City and how they fuse nostalgia and new technologies to create fantastic, baroque, alternative urban spaces (minus the crime).
Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering and a longtime Visiting Assistant Professor at TFT, says that while there can be a “narrative thread winding throughout the day,” the heart of all Disney theme park attractions is to create “a compelling collection of experiences” — each designed to take you through a set of emotions.
Thierry Coup, an imagineer-equivalent at rival Universal, captivated the crowd with a description of his latest design effort: the acclaimed new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in Orlando. When asked about the involvement of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and many of the creative personnel from the films, Coup explained that it’s nearly impossible to tell a coherent story over the three- or four-minute course of the typical theme park ride.
Fortunately, he explained, most “guests” come to the park with a full knowledge of the world of the novel and films, freeing the designers to concentrate on creating “experiences that engage all the senses.” Their goal is always, Coups says, to create a seamless experience for visitors, “to keep them in the world and not have them snap out of it.”
A recurring theme in all four panels was the need for creators to allow consumers to immerse themselves in the “world” of the theme park, video game, film or TV show. Production designer extraordinaire Rick Carter (“Avatar,” “War of the Worlds,” “Jurassic Park”) described how his work with such visionary directors as Cameron, Spielberg and Zemeckis compared with the experience of working with a next-generation director such as Zack Snyder (“Sucker Punch”), which replicates the experience of battling combatants in a first-person video game. While Matt Painter and UCLA alum Dylan Cole expressed relief that digital technologies have made it possible for him to keep pace with the demanding visual aesthetic of his visionary boss, James Cameron.
Geoffrey Long, a scholar associated with the Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT, where he studied under Jenkins, argued that the “negative space” of as-yet untold stories “makes the world of a project come alive in the viewer’s imagination.” These gaps provide opportunities for authors to come back later and fill in the spaces – though in a Transmedia-saturated world there is always the danger they will take matters into their own hands and fill the interstices with home material as interesting as any the original creators could devise.
Film studies Professor Francesca Coppa, both in her scholarly work at Muhlenberg College and as a board member of the Organization for Transformative Media, is a strong advocate for the mash-ups and other transformations perpetrated upon copyrighted IP (Intellectual Property) in fan fiction, fan art and fan video. “Fans pioneered transmedia,” Coppa declares, as recognizable characters were moved into different forms and contexts, often changing gender or race or sexual orientation in the process.
Kelly Souders, head writer and executive producer of “Smallville,” provided examples of ways in which mainstream entertainment has already been altered by Transmedia thinking. “Smallville” is a solid case in point because it was presented originally as an alternative, more down-to-earth version of the mythic “Superman” universe, an approach that could be seen as analogous to the context-shifting of fan fiction. Fans drawn to the show have enthusiastically embraced the notion that there could be distinct “Smallville versions” of established characters such a General Zod.
And “Smallville” has boldly gone where only Kirk/Spock soft-core “slash” fiction has gone before. The show’s writers spoke openly, Souders said, of the Clark Kent/Lex Luthor relationship as a love story. And in the current final season, a clone character has been introduced, created from a mixture and Kent and Luthor DNA – a character described by no less an authority than Lois Lane as “the genetic love child of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor.” Territory that George Reeves never explored.
Jeph Loeb brought his rock-star status in the comic book (Marvel and DC Comics) and television worlds (“Smallville,” “Heroes”) to bear on his new job as head of the Marvel TV division, vowing to tear down the walls previously separating comic book authors from animated, anime and live-action TV producers. He traded barbs and jokes with fellow TV writer-producer Steven DeKnight (“Spartacus,” “Smallville,” “Buffy”) about their early efforts to bridge the gap between the comic book and TV worlds and between his new cable series “Spartacus” and his visual predecessor, “300” — itself a graphic novel brought to the screen.
UCLA alum Craig Reylea, SVP of Global Marketing for Disney Interactive Media Group, celebrated the archival impulse behind Warren Spectors’ world-building wii game, “Epic Mickey” and the implications of choice and consequence when using a well-known imp like Mickey as your “first-person shooter” (with a paintbrush as his weapon of choice).
Again and again at “Transmedia Hollywood 2,” entertainment professionals acknowledged that they are already working in new media on a daily basis, living in the brave new world, absorbing a new perspective at the same time. The Transmedia future is now.
VIDEO: James Lapine on life in the theater
Writer-director's collaborations with Stephen Sondheim are classics of American theater
At a recent Masterclass event sponsored by the Los Angeles Philanthropic Committee for the Arts, Michael Hackett, chair, UCLA Department of Theater, interviewed James Lapine, a giant of the American theater. In 1982, writer-director Lapine and composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim launched one of the most celebrated partnerships in the history of American musical theater when they began working together on the path-clearing production that became “Sunday in the Park With George.”
Several other Sondheim/Lapine projects followed, including “Into the Woods” (1987), for which Lapine won both the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award, Best Book of a Musical. and “Passion” (1994). Their most recent collaboration is the revue “Sondheim on Sondheim” (2010), which won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue.
Lapine has also directed several other musical and also non-musical dramas, including “Dirty Blonde” (2000), nominated for the Tony and Drama Desk awards for Best Direction of a Play.
In 1991 Lapine directed his first film, “Impromptu,” from a screenplay by his wife, Sarah Kernochan. The story revolves around the romance of George Sand and Chopin, and starred Judy Davis and Hugh Grant. He directed the film version of the Anne Tyler novel, “Earthly Possessions” (1999) for television, with Susan Sarandon starring.
Lapine’s most recent project was writing the book and directing a musical adaptation of the Oscar-winning film “Little Miss Sunshine” at the La Jolla Playhouse.
Now Let’s Do Some Work
Education as theater, in acting giant Alfred Molina’s public Master Class
“I feel almost superfluous,” said legendary actor and veteran acting teacher Alfred Molina, shaking his head in amazement at the depth and persuasiveness of the student scene reading he just witnessed.
The young actor was pleased, and when Molina followed up with a suggestion that became the driving motif of the evening, “Now let’s do some work,” the student leaned forward eagerly. “Yes, please,” he said.
This was the scene kicking off the Los Angeles Philanthropic Committee for the Arts’ UCLA Theater Master Class Series, a major new enrichment program offered by the Department of Theater under Chair Michael Hackett. The three-hour public master class featured Molina and 13 of the MFA Acting Program’s finest on the stage of the Freud Playhouse.
The work Molina did with the students often consisted of simple, practical exercises that paid unexpected dividends in terms of deeper feeling and sharper clarity of meaning. Check out how scenes from Shakespeare, Shaw, and Chekhov evolved under his influence in the video segments below.
Molina, superfluous? Not a chance.
A passionate student of theater and of Shakespeare in particular, Molina spurs students to dig deeper into the meaning of lines, to discover what is concrete and “actable” in a scene. (“That makes sense to me,” he says at one point. “I understand that. I can act that.”)
Throughout an exhilarating evening of instruction, these MFA acting students matched and exceeded the expectations of the Theater department, which refers to them as “professionals in training.”
About Alfred Molina
Born in London in 1953, of Spanish and Italian heritage, Molina says he decided to become an actor after seeing Stanley Kubrick’s film “Spartacus” at the tender age of 9.
He attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at City University in London and found early success on British television, co-starring with Leonard Rossiter in the ITV sitcom “The Losers.” He made his feature film debut in 1981 as a short-lived native guide in the opening sequence of Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” His big break in films came with “Letter to Brezhnev” in 1985, followed by a starring role in “Prick Up Your Ears” (1987), in which played British actor-writer Kenneth Halliwell opposite Gary Oldman, who portrayed British playwright Joe Orton.
Molina has often played iconic villains, from Snidely Whiplash in “Dudley Do-Right” to the many-mandibled Doctor Octopus, aka “Doc Ock,” in “Spider-Man 2.” In 2002, he gained wide recognition for his portrayal of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera alongside Salma Hayek in the biopic “Frida.”
In 2006, Molina portrayed Touchstone in Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and appeared in Ron Howard’s adaptation of “The Da Vinci Code.” He appears as Stephano in Julie Taymor’s 2010 film version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
Molina’s ongoing and extensive stage work has included two major Royal National Theatre productions of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana and David Mamet’s Speed the Plow.
In his Broadway debut, Molina performed in Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning play Art, for which he received a Tony nomination in 1998. In 2004, he received a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal of Tevye in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof.
In 2010, Molina joined the cast of “Law & Order: Los Angeles.” His character, Ricardo Morales, recently left his post as a Deputy District Attorney to resume his former career as a homicide detective.
Videographer: Juan Tallo
Editor: Nolwen Cifuentes
— Posted Feb. 14, 2011
Peter Guber on the persuasive power of great storytelling
New book “Tell to Win” draws on the lessons of his work as a top film producer, popular TFT professor and leading motivational speaker
“The ability to move people emotionally is also the power to move them transactionally,” says Peter Guber, veteran film producer and longtime TFT professor and Executive Board Member.
In high demand nationally as an entertaining and inspiring motivational speaker, in addition to his work as an educator and as the CEO of the company he created, Mandalay Entertainment Group, Guber has distilled the hard-won lessons of a lifetime into those popular talks and now into an engaging new book, “Talk to Win: Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story.”
“The aim,” he says, “is to empower the reader to tell emotionally resonant stories, in order to persuade, motivate, excite and incite others to your goal for success. Most importantly, how it provides the impetus for them to viral market your concept or product for you, because a good story is something people can’t wait to pass on. I’ve designed this book to be exciting and inspiring to read and also to deliver tools and takeaways that readers can use today to change their tomorrow.”
TFT Dean Teri Schwartz calls the book “a page turner – certainly as entertaining and galvanizing as Peter’s talk at our 2010 Commencement, and totally grounded in the captivating concepts he presented that day.”
Guber began his ongoing exploration of the power storytelling at TFT in 2008. He taught a popular workshop course, “Navigating a Narrative World,” which studied the different types of narratives that permeate our work and everyday lives. Participants learned how to find and create their own narratives. Many of the same concerns later informed his 2010 commencement address and the writing of “Tell to Win.”
The wide variety of situations in which the power of narrative can be decisive is a cornerstone of Guber’s message. “Whether you’re a manager, housewife, entrepreneur, lawyer or nonprofit,” he recently told The Huffington Post, “you often must get someone or a group of people to do something – buy your product, adapt to your organization’s culture, invest in your vision, donate to your cause, meet a curfew – and embedding the call to action by telling purposeful stories, preferably in the room, face-to-face, is the most effective means of achieving that goal.”
To illustrate his claims about applying the power of purposeful storytelling to a wide variety of life situations, Guber includes the testimony of a diverse array of “voices” – master storytellers with whom he has shared turning-point life experiences.
“As you can imagine,” Dean Schwartz says, “Peter’s amazing professional experiences have played a big role in the development of his theory of ‘tell to win,’ which he has successfully tested both in the classroom and in the boardroom. The stories and the people Peter chooses to highlight in his book dynamically bring to life his wonderful ideas and insights.”
Highlighted individuals include former President Bill Clinton, record-breaking NBA coach Pat Riley and NBA star Magic Johnson, former South African President Nelson Mandela, film directors Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton and Curtis Hanson, actors Tom Cruise and Sidney Poitier, world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, novelist Alice Walker, rock legend Gene Simmons and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
Another key message is that often untapped persuasive power of narrative is available to all of us, even to people who do not see themselves as “natural storytellers.”
“Everyone is a natural teller of stories,” Guber has said. “The ability to tell purposeful stories for success isn’t a gift from me to you. It isn’t a special talent bestowed upon a select few. It’s hard-wired in all of us.”
Guber ranks storytelling as one of the core attributes of human nature, as ubiquitous across all cultures as language itself:
“The telling of stories was critical to the survival of our species. In order to compete and triumph against far more ferocious predators we had to develop rules, beliefs, values and strategies. This meant the development of the ability to communicate, remember, and act upon the information embedded in stories told around the campfire. This social cohesion allowed us to move from the bottom of the food chain to the top – from prey to predator.”
“Tell to Win” will be released on March 1 by Crown Business.
Peter Guber has served as Studio Chief at Columbia Pictures; Co-Chairman of Casablanca Records and Filmworks; CEO of Polygram Entertainment; Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures; and Chairman and CEO of his current venture, Mandalay Entertainment Group.
Among the award-winning films he has produced or executive produced are “Midnight Express,” “The Color Purple,” “Gorillas in the Mist,” “Batman” and “Rain Man.” Guber is the owner and co-executive chairman of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and oversees one of the largest combinations of professional baseball teams and venues nationwide. He is also a longtime professor at UCLA, a Harvard Business Review contributor, and a thought leader who speaks at numerous business forums around the country.
Peter Guber interviewed by UCLA Newsroom director Kevin Roderick:
A MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN – Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Dear TFT Community,
I do hope you are all well and flourishing in this new year. So many exciting things are happening at TFT and we all feel our future is looking very bright – and that includes all of you being a part of everything we do!
In addition to our new vision and launching exciting new initiatives, one of the highlights of this past year was our very own TFT professor and Executive Board member, Peter Guber’s, 2010 Commencement Speech. It was a galvanizing talk about the power of story and the concept of “tell to win.” Peter truly inspired everyone in attendance from faculty, students, staff, parents, alumni and friends.
Since Commencement 2010, I’ve been asked on numerous occasions by so many of you about Peter’s amazing speech and how you can hear excerpts and access the concepts in his talk. I am happy to report to all of you that you now have a way to share in the experience we had at Commencement 2010.
And here’s how: Peter has written a remarkable book called “Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story,” which puts forth, in an inspiring, entertaining and thoroughly engaging way, Peter’s unique and special concepts about the power of story and how it can inform and transform our lives both personally and professionally. I’ve had the good fortune to read an early galley (I’m quoted in the book!) and it’s a “page turner” – certainly as entertaining and galvanizing as Peter’s talk at our Commencement and totally grounded in the captivating concepts he presented that day.
For those of you who are not fully familiar with Peter’s legendary career, he has been an executive, entrepreneur, producer, UCLA professor, TFT Executive Board member, and a friend to me, and all of us at TFT. His films, such as “Batman,” “Rain Man,” “Gorillas In The Mist,” “Flashdance” and “The Color Purple,” to name but a few, have earned over $3 billion at the box office. He was the Chair and CEO of Sony Pictures, Studio Chief at Columbia Pictures, Co-Chair of Casablanca Records and Filmworks, CEO of Polygram Entertainment and now Chair and CEO of his current venture, Mandalay Pictures Entertainment Group, which includes movies, television, music, new media and sports properties, including his recent purchase of the NBA Golden State Warriors.
As you can imagine, Peter’s professional experiences have played a big role in the development of his theory of “tell to win,” which he has successfully tested both in the classroom and in the boardroom. The stories and the people Peter chooses to highlight in his book really bring to life his ideas and insights. When you have the likes of President Bill Clinton, YouTube founder/CEO Chad Hurley, Steven Spielberg, Deepak Chopra, Pat Riley, Famous Amos cookies founder Wally Amos, Lynda Resnick of POM Wonderful, Fiji Water and Franklin Mint and many others revealing their approach to using the power of story to achieve their goals, you can’t help but absorb their wisdom and be entertained at the same time by their journeys to success.
Without question, Peter’s new book fulfills its promise to empower you on how to tell emotionally resonant stories to persuade and motivate others to your goal for success and, most importantly, how it provides the impetus for them to enthusiastically viral market it for you. The book gives you specific tools and takeaways that I found really compelling. And I think you will, too.
It’s fun to share the experience we had at Commencement 2010 with all of you. Here is Peter’s website where you can find additional information about Peter and his new book, which will be published on March 1, 2011, from Crown/Random House.
Kindly let me conclude by congratulating Peter on this outstanding accomplishment and thank him for his continued friendship and support of TFT.
I hope you all enjoy “Tell To Win”!
Teri Schwartz, Dean
VIDEO: Editing the Legacy
Anne V. Coates' hands-on approach to the history of Women in Film
Anne V. Coates’ hands-on approach to the history of Women in Film
An Oscar-winner for her work on David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1962, Anne V. Coates ACE is still working on major feature films, at the age of 85, as one of Hollywood’s most respected film editors. When editing students at TFT were offered an opportunity to receive hands-on instruction from this meticulous craftsman, famed for her sensitivity to nuances of charater and drama, they jumped at the chance, making the Women if Film Legacy Series Film Editing Master Class an academic benchmark for the School.
Spearheaded by Barbara Boyle, chair, UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, in collaboration with Women in Film’s Legacy Series chair, Ilene Kahn Power, the master class with Coates was taught during the summer of 2010 by award-winning writer-director and TFT professor Felicia D. Henderson MFA ’04 (“Soul Food: The Series”).
The Women in Film Foundation’s “Legacy Series” of filmed oral history interviews documents the personal and creative worlds of exceptional Hollywood women. Their pioneering accomplishments, both in front of and behind the camera, helped pave the way for the many women working in the film and television industries today. Along with Coates herself, giants interviewed today include Eva Marie Saint, Fay Wray, Kathryn Bigelow, Gloria Stuart and Debbie Allen. The interviews are being stored as a special Women in Film (WIF) collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive Research and Study Center on the UCLA. Future plans include making the Women in Film Legacy segments available online.
Anne V. Coates ACE worked in the 1940s as an assistant for a British production company specializing in religious films, repairing film prints earmarked for tours of churches. This extensive experience splicing film eventually led to a job as an assistant film editor at Pinewood Studios, where her first experience was assisting film editor Reginald Mills (“The Red Shoes”). Coates later won an Academy Award for her work with director David Lean on “Lawrence of Arabia.” She has continued to do cutting edge work editing films such as “Out of Sight” and “Erin Brockovich” for iconoclastic film director, Steven Soderbergh. Coates is a member of both the Guild of British Film and Television Editors (GBFTE) and American Cinema Editors (ACE).
Felicia D. Henderson is the award-winning creator of the landmark Showtime hit “Soul Food: The Series,” the longest-running drama featuring African-Americans in the history of television. A successful writer/producer who works frequently on such high-profile shows as “Gossip Girl,” “Fringe” and “Everybody Hates Chris,” Henderson says she is most proud of the scholarships she has established at the School, the Felicia D. Henderson Screenwriting Scholarship and the Four Sisters Scholarship. “Giving back is really the best reward of success,” she says. “If people like us don’t step up, the creative minds of the underrepresented might not get the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”
Videography: Juan Tallo
Video Editing and Page Design: Nolwen Cifuentes
VIDEO: Teshome Gabriel Memorial
Gifted scholar, generous friend, dedicated teacher
Gifted scholar, generous friend, dedicated teacher
In remembrance of our beloved colleague, TFT alumnus, world-famous scholar and tireless Professor Teshome H. Gabriel MA ’76, PhD ’79, the community of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, with family members and friends, gathered at the Freud Playhouse on November 19, 2010.
Gabriel was an internationally recognized authority on Third World and Post-Colonial cinema. He had taught Cinema & Media Studies at TFT since 1974, and was closely associated with the UCLA African Studies Center.
In often tearful statements, Gabriel’s closest colleagues recalled his brilliance as a critic and teacher and his personal warmth and generosity. We are proud to present this complete video record of the memorial event.
Bambi L. Haggins MA ’96, PhD ’00, Director, Film & Media Studies, ASU:
Teri Schwartz, Dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television:
Gilbert Cates, Founding Dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; Producing Director, Geffen Playhouse:
Claudia Mitchell-Kernan, Vice Chancellor, Graduate Studies, UCLA; Former Director, UCLA Center for Afro-American Studies:
Barbara Boyle, Chair, UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media:
Professor JinSoo An, Hongik University, Korea:
Azadeh Farahmand, Doctoral Candidate, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television/TFT:
Felicia D. Henderson MA ’04, PhD ’08, film and television writer/producer; Lecturer, UCLA Producers Program:
Professor Robert Rosen, Former Director, UCLA Film & Television Archive; Former Dean, UCLA School of Theater Film and Television:
Dennis Lo, PhD candidate, Cinema & Media Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television:
Professor Janet Bergstrom, Cinema & Media Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television:
Luisela Alvarary, Assistant Professor, College of Communication, De Paul University:
Brian Clark, Administrator, Department of Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television:
Professor John Caldwell, Cinema & Media Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partnership with TFT
"Education Storytelling Initiative" Funds Education-Themed Student Films
“Education Storytelling Initiative” Funds Education-Themed Student Films
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with TFT to fund eight student films on the subject of Public Education, announced Teri Schwartz, Dean of the School.
“The Gates Foundation’s efforts on behalf of education are truly heroic,” said Dean Schwartz, “and no issue could possibly be more important. At TFT, we proudly share the profound belief of Bill and Melinda Gates in the power of education to not only vastly improve the lives of individuals, but also enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.”
Support from the foundation enabled eight UCLA film student teams to write, produce and direct three-minute films about pressing education issues in America. UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media Chair Barbara Boyle, who secured the financing, oversaw the project with support from Film Department faculty and staff.
The students selected were from the graduate programs of the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media and worked together in teams of three, including a writer, director and at least one producer.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting and funding this project,” Boyle commented. “Public education is one of the vital issues today as we must seek to provide educational opportunities to further generations. We are delighted that our young artists are a part of this effort.”
Boyle continued, “The student films explore the critical role of teachers, opportunities for the non-traditional student, and the role of inspired, forward thinkers in creating educational opportunities.”
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people — especially those with the fewest resources — have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. For more information, visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website.
Leveling the Playing Field – A former high school football star returns to school as an adult to become a teacher and football coach. Director: Jon Bryant
Voices – Spoken word poetry covering a variety of topics related to education. Director: Judy Phu
Greater Expectations – This performing arts school helps shift the question for students in South Los Angeles from “Are you going to college” to “What college are you going to?” Director: Vanessa Yee
Planting Hope – Pearl Fryar turned discarded plants into a topiary garden success. Moving forward from that success, he established a scholarship fund to nurture community college students. Director: Kimberly Townes
Detroit Summer – Detroit Summer is an program organized by young people to empower students through community based projects. Director: Jessica McMunn
Burning the Midnight Oil – Bunker Hill Community College in Boston offers midnight classes to provide adult students flexible options for education. Directed by Hanjin Park
Boyz Under the Hood — West Philadelphia Auto Academy – At West Philadelphia High School the West Philadelphia Auto Academy formed Team EVX to compete in the Automotive X Prize. Building a 100 mpg car created a project based learning opportunity that provided students with real world experience ranging from engineering to public relations. Director: Luke Slenderbroek
Docs Rock – Docs Rock is a project based learning class where students create a documentary and learn skills that transfer to the real world. Director: Susana Casares
VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes of "Cabaret"
"Cabaret" director and professor Jeremy Mann talks about the Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program, the UCLA Theater Department and working with Tony-nominee Jane Lanier who choreographed the UCLA production
The annual Ray Bolger Musical Theater Production is always a sold-out highlight of the end-of-the-year season at the School. In this exclusive interview, director and TFT faculty member Jeremy Mann describes the excitement of working with a cast of gifted student performers on the classic Broadway musical “Cabaret.”
“Cabaret” presents the onstage and backstage action at Berlin’s raunchy and satirical Kit Kat Klub in 1931 as a metaphor for the decline of German society during the Nazis’ rise to power. Iconic characters include the club’s sneering, prancing Master of Ceremonies and the 19-year-old performer Sally Bowles. This production is based on the 1998 London and Broadway revival co-directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, which added to the 1966 book by Joe Masteroff and the songs of Kander and Ebb, material created for Bob Fosse’s Oscar-winning 1972 film adaptation.
Video Above: Exclusive TFT Interview with Robby Dyess
Book by Joe Masteroff
Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood
Music by John Kander – Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by Jeremy Mann
Choreography by Jane Lanier
Featuring: Jordan Aragon, Hunter Bird, Katie Boeck, Camden Gonzales, Robby Dyess, Jonathan Roderick Eidson, Elizabeth Gonzalez, Mikey Hawley, Rachel Hirshee, Charissa Abigail Hogeland, Tatiana Mac Holthaus, Nora Hunter, Joanna Alexis Jones, Ian Mcquown, Angelica Richie, Brad Satterwhite, Clare Snodgrass, Clay Stefanki, Nicholas Tubbs
Assistant Director: Lane Williamson
Scenic Design by Nick Santiago
Costume Design by Raquel Barreto
Lighting Design by John Garofalo and Donald Jackson
Sound Design by Ross Goldman
Stage Manager: Elizabeth Boulger
Assistant Sound Designer: Roni Lancaster
Assistant Stage Manager: Liana Dillaway
Assistant Stage Manager: Andrea Gutierrez
Onward and Upward
AUDIO PODCASTS: Celebrating new beginnings at Commencement 2010
Tony Award-winning director John Rando and award-winning writer/producer/director Felicia D. Henderson were honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards at the UCLA School of Theater Film and Television’s 2010 Commencement Ceremony on June 11.
Producer, executive and entrepreneur Peter Guber delivered the Commencement Address, with the School’s dean, Teri Schwartz, presiding over the festivities.
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John Rando, MFA ’88, is a powerful force for change in American theater, known for bringing new sounds and new attitudes to Broadway. He won a Tony in 2002 for directing “Urinetown, the Musical” and an Outer Critic’s Circle Award for “The Toxic Avenger Musical.”
Felicia D. Henderson, MFA ’04, is the award-winning creator of the landmark Showtime hit “Soul Food: The Series,” the longest-running drama featuring African-Americans in the history of television. Henderson’s writing and producing credits in television also include “Fringe,” “Gossip Girl,” “Everyone Hates Chris.” She often notes that she is most proud of the two TFT scholarships she has established: the Felicia D. Henderson Screenwriting Scholarship and the Four Sisters Scholarship.