Documentary professor Kristy Guevara-Flanagan talks about UCLA TFT’s collaboration with KCET and UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies
By Noela Hueso
The documentary short Taylor Yard: A Change of Heart in Los Angeles, which recently went live on public television station KCET’s website, sheds light on a parcel of land adjacent to a portion of the Los Angeles River that at one time was a site for Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroad yard functions. It is significant not only because the land, located in northeast Los Angeles and owned by the City of Los Angeles, is polluted with contaminants that have been linked to cancer and learning disabilities in children, but also because of the efforts underway to restore it to its natural state as part of the larger L.A. River Project. Under the umbrella of UCLA’s Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) and in partnership with KCET, the story of Taylor Yard is one of three topics that UCLA TFT Assistant Professor Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and graduate student filmmakers Stefan Wanigatunga, Yubo Wang and Jonni Tecle are working on as part of a year-long project alongside other UCLA students and faculty from across the campus. The team, representing the areas of documentary filmmaking, English, anthropology and environmental science, aims to educate the public about regional environmental issues with not only the shorts but faculty- and student-authored articles and interactive web features as well.
Guevara-Flanagan, who heads the documentary program at UCLA TFT, recently sat down to discuss the project and how the collaboration came into fruition.
Were you familiar with the story of Taylor Yard prior to working on the project?
Kristy Guevara-Flanagan: I grew up in Los Angeles adjacent to the Los Angeles River and yet, I didn’t know much about the history of the river nor the industries that once flourished near it. When you grow up in L.A., the “river” assumes a mythic quality because of its intensely un-riverlike and cemented visage. I was very interested in revisiting the river and learning more about its history at a time when the river is such a heated topic of debate.
How did UCLA TFT get involved with LENS?
KCET’s Chief Creative Officer Juan Devis is a friend of mine. He had been trying to get TFT involved in KCET projects but we hadn’t yet found the perfect fit. After a time, he said, “Why don’t you talk to Allison Carruth?” Allison is the faculty director of LENS and an associate professor of English here at UCLA. She and I spoke and became excited about the possibility of bringing my documentary students to help with this narrative strategy, making visible the work that they’re doing on environmental writing and thinking. Then Allison and I applied and received a UCLA trans-disciplinary seed grant that would bring us into their already existing KCET-LENS collaboration.
How long was LENS working with KCET before your department got involved?
The partnership between LENS and KCET goes back to Fall 2016, but Allison has been collaborating with KCET in different capacities since 2012.
Up to this point LENS has never done anything with film?
This is a first and it just seems like such a great fit.
How many people are involved?
We brought about 20 mostly graduate students and six faculty together. It’s a small-scale project but it means that each student gets to work very closely with all these faculty.
What are the roles of the UCLA TFT students?
Stefan is our lead producer. He schedules the meetings, shoots and deliverables, coordinating between the students, faculty and KCET and works with the various faculty liaisons. The other two students, Yubo and Jonni, are filming and editing. Stefan also does some editing and sound work.
Is this project being done for a specific class?
Some of the English students are getting credit for it but we decided not to structure this as a class for TFT students, but more of an independent study due to the irregular hours any production demands. As a result, each student gets a stipend, around $1,000 per quarter. We’re trying to rotate through every quarter so a different student takes on the bulk of the work.
What’s the process?
For each story we meet as a group to listen to each lead faculty’s ideas for their story and attempt to translate that visually to film. Then, in tandem with the faculty’s contacts, we schedule interviews and shoots. Our student filmmakers go out and shoot about 5-7 days. We then meet to assemble various cuts, once again working closely with the faculty expert. The editing usually takes a good 30 hours from notes to completion.
Part of the reason that this project is of interest to all the non-film students is because they’re invited to come on our shoots. They’ve been very helpful, too. We’ve spontaneously needed somebody who speaks Spanish; they’ve taken stills while we’re out there; they’ve helped carry equipment; and in return, they get to see what a documentary shoot is all about.
Were there any challenges in creating Taylor Yard?
The first documentary was challenging because there’s a lot of players: It’s a very collaborative process, so there’s not a traditional, single director. Instead, there’s usually one student, myself and the lead faculty point person directing together — we’re all bringing our skills to the table. Figuring out how to wrestle that and what to call it was challenging but I am very proud of that first project.
The other aspect was learning how to be a little more efficient in scheduling. These stories are all on the other side of town. The second documentary, which we’re working on now, is about the wild parrots in Pasadena and we’re getting up at the crack of dawn to shoot these birds before they fly off for the day or go home to roost. So that was one of the challenges: How you pull this off in an academic environment, which I think was new for everybody.
What excites you about this collaboration?
I’m just so proud of our students. Taylor Yard looks gorgeous and they’re getting so much practical experience; they’re learning so much — and they don’t have to come up with their own film ideas and concept. What the other faculty bring is a rich knowledge and connections within their field so that the students can really focus on translating what they’re researching into something very visually vibrant and engaging in this documentary form.
Will this collaboration continue once the three docs are completed?
I would love that. [UCLA TFT Lecturer] Steve Anderson, who teaches VR, and I have been talking about doing a VR project next year. These environmental stories would be perfect for a VR treatment, so we’re considering that. Allison is also applying for a variety of grants so that we can continue to work together in some capacity.
Posted: March 19, 2018
THE WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST FOUNDATION PRESENTS UCLA TFT WITH A SIGNIFICANT GIFT FOR THE CREATION OF THE HEARST THEATER LAB INITIATIVE
The gift will advance UCLA TFT and its Department of Theater with the establishment of a Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence Program
Teri Schwartz, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT), one of the world’s premier institutions for entertainment and performing arts education, announced on March 14, 2018 that the William Randolph Hearst Foundation (Foundation) has gifted $250,000 to UCLA TFT to create the groundbreaking Hearst Theater Lab Initiative. This transformational donation is in keeping with a series of innovative initiatives created by Dean Schwartz, in partnership with faculty and visionary donors, to support UCLA TFT’s central vision as a pre-eminent storytelling school — one whose mission is educating and developing a new generation of diverse, humanistic artists, industry leaders and scholars to use the power of story to not only entertain, but to enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.
In alignment with the School’s vision and mission, the Hearst gift is designed to advance UCLA TFT’s outstanding Department of Theater as a destination for playwriting excellence. The Hearst gift funds three transformational pillars under the umbrella of a dynamic laboratory for playwriting and storytelling: First, a new Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence program will launch in 2018 that will allow for award-winning playwrights from around the world to be in residence at UCLA TFT to develop and showcase exciting new works and to give inspiring master classes to students. As a result, UCLA TFT will be home to, and a magnet for, some of the world’s greatest dramatists who will help to galvanize, shape and define our culture. Second, the Hearst gift will fund the annual undergraduate and graduate student playwriting season, thus strengthening opportunities for playwriting students to develop and showcase their works and to advance UCLA TFT’s educational mission to develop the next generation of diverse humanistic storytellers. Third, the Hearst gift will provide vital grants for UCLA TFT’s outstanding, award-winning Theater faculty to develop and showcase new plays and works-in-progress.
For nearly 50 years, the Hearst Foundation has been a dedicated supporter of UCLA and UCLA TFT. It has a rich history of working with educational institutions that demonstrate uncommon success in preparing students to thrive in a global society.
Dean Schwartz recognizes the significance of creating multi-dimensional opportunities to advance the School’s vision and prepare its students for professional careers in entertainment and performing arts. “The magnitude and impact of the Hearst Theater Lab Initiative are breathtaking. Through this visionary gift, the Hearst Foundation allows us to put into action our shared belief in the power of story, and specifically the power of playwriting and theater, to make a profound difference in the world,” she says. “This gift allows us to be a magnet for remarkable playwrights to create and develop new works at UCLA TFT’s Department of Theater. It will also foster a dynamic environment in which new emerging voices and innovative new forms of theater will have the unparalleled opportunity to be developed.
“The Hearst Theater Lab Initiative is destined for great distinction,” she continues. “We are deeply grateful to the Hearst Foundation for their belief in our vision and mission, and equally excited to see how this new initiative will inspire our students, in particular, to achieve their greatest potential.”
“The Hearst Foundations are pleased to support vital organizations like UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television who are making a positive difference in their communities,” says Paul “Dino” Dinovitz, executive director of The Hearst Foundations. “We look forward to the many ways the art and practice of theater in California will advance under Dean Schwartz and her vision for the Hearst Theater Lab Initiative.”
The Department of Theater has undergone tremendous growth and change in the past several years, reimagining theater arts with provocative new productions such as Life on the Praça Roosevelt, Sonnet for an Old Century, the West Coast premiere of the musical Steel Pier and the captivating restaging of Euripides’ overlooked classic Helen. Once a two-year program, UCLA TFT’s highly selective Playwriting Program transitioned to a three-year program in 2003, training emerging theater voices to explore multiple platforms including writing for the stage, film, television and web-based media. Core to the Playwriting Program is the interdisciplinary collaboration students enjoy with their peers in acting and directing, challenging the conventions of live storytelling, and presenting fully realized new works during UCLA TFT’s annual New Play Festival. The School boasts award-winning alumni who are working on and Off-Broadway, and in film and television.
Posted: March 14, 2018
28th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards Winners
UCLA TFT alumni Corwin Evans (M.F.A. ’09) and Nancy Keystone (B.A. ’85), and lecturer Josh Epstein were winners at the 28th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards ceremony, which took place on Monday, Jan. 29 in Downtown Los Angeles. Evans won in the category of Video/Projection Design for his work on SoulArt’s Plasticity, Keystone won in the category of Direction of a Musical for her direction of the East West Players’ production of Next to Normal and Epstein won in the category of Lighting Design (Large Theatre) for his work on the Geffen Playhouse Playhouse production of The Legend of Georgia McBride. Additionally, alumna Hana Kim (M.F.A. ’12) was presented with the 2017 Sherwood Award for innovative and adventurous artists by Center Theatre Group. This award is endowed by the Sherwood family and is accompanied by $10,000 to further Kim’s artistic work.
Epstein, Evans, Keystone and Kim were among seven Bruins who were nominated for Ovation Awards in five categories.
LARRY CEDAR (M.F.A. ’78)
Featured Actor in a Play — Sylvia (Rubicon Theatre Company)
DREW DALZELL (Lecturer) (with Noelle Hoffman)
Sound Design (Large Theatre) — Wicked Lit 2016 (Unbound Prods.)
CORWIN EVANS (M.F.A. ’09)
Video/Projection Design — Plasticity (SoulArt)
Video/Projection Design — Rose and the Rime (with Hillary Bauman & Chris Hutchings; Sacred Fools Theater Company)
NANCY KEYSTONE (B.A. ’85)
Direction of a Musical — Next to Normal (East West Players)
HANA KIM (M.F.A. ’12)
Video/Projection Design — The Gary Plays – Part 2 (Open Fist Theatre Company)
PABLO SANTIAGO (Lecturer, M.F.A. ’13)
Lighting Design (Large Theatre) — Zoot Suit (Center Theatre Group)
JOSH EPSTEIN (Lecturer)
Lighting Design (Large Theatre) — The Legend of Georgia McBride (Geffen Playhouse)
Posted: January 30, 2018
Alumnus Reed Van Dyk’s award-winning “DeKalb Elementary” is now an Academy Award-nominated film
By Noela Hueso
DeKalb Elementary, a 20-minute film written and directed by Reed Van Dyk (M.F.A. ’17) while he was a student at UCLA TFT, is inspired by an actual 911 call placed during a school shooting situation in Atlanta, Ga. The story, which focuses on the interaction between a troubled young gunman and the school secretary he takes hostage, has been making an impression at festivals around the world, earning critical acclaim and winning accolades, including the Grand Prix at the 2017 Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival and a Special Jury Award at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival. He was also the recipient of a 2017 Princess Grace Award Graduate Film Scholarship and a finalist in the “For Live Action” category at the BAFTA Student Film Awards. On Tuesday, Jan. 23, the film garnered its biggest distinction to date when it was named one of five films nominated for a Short Film (Live Action) Academy Award.
A day after the Oscar nominations were announced, Van Dyk, 32, spoke with his alma mater about the recognition, his film, and how his UCLA TFT education informed his filmmaking style.
How did you find out DeKalb was nominated for an Oscar?
I set my alarm and woke up to see the live [5 a.m.] announcement. My girlfriend and I were both half asleep but we watched it on my phone. Two minutes later I found out the film was nominated. I was really, really proud and happy.
Your film has gotten so many accolades and so much attention thus far, you must be overjoyed with the reception.
When you make a movie, you just hope that it works as a film and then you’re hopeful it can play a few festivals. This story seems to have connected with people, so it’s nice; when these things happen, it just means more people get to see the film. It’s a story that I loved when I first heard it so I’m glad more people get to share in that.
Why do you think people have connected to it so well?
When I first stumbled on that 911 call on the internet — I was doing research for another film I was writing — the audio of that situation really held me captive; it touched me in a deep place; that probably has something to do with it…what [the school secretary] was able to see in someone who was scary, at first glance. He was not a “bad guy,” he was someone who was shaped by really tough circumstances and obviously confused. It was a cry for help. There was something unexpected about that.
The film is understated and that’s what makes it so compelling. Was that your intent?
My tastes run outside the mainstream — I prefer something that isn’t sensational, isn’t overly dramatized but gets life as it is. Early on, I was explicit about not wanting to take what happened and turn it into something that was ultimately false…that didn’t capture what was inherently interesting and moving about what transpired between them. There’s a lot that could have been done in terms of the filmmaking where the tension could have been amped up. It just felt exploitative and wrong to do something like that with a real situation.
What filmmakers do you admire?
I could talk to you for an hour about that. It’s much easier to talk about the films and filmmakers I love than it is talking about my own film. There are a number of European filmmakers who are my film heroes. I love Michael Haneke (The Moor, The Piano Teacher), an Austrian filmmaker who works mostly in the French language; I love the Belgian Dardenne Brothers (The Kid with a Bike); and I really like Steve McQueen’s films — Shame and 12 Years a Slave and Hunger; I love Paul Thomas Anderson’s films. These are the folks I get excited about. There’s an intelligence guiding their movies.
Have you seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s Oscar-nominated Phantom Thread?
I’ve seen it twice. There’s a strangeness about it that is so intriguing. It’s idiosyncratic. It doesn’t feel quite like anything you’ve seen before. That’s very attractive.
Are you trying to convey a message with your film?
I don’t see it that way. It’s about trying to leave enough room for people to engage with it themselves. I got what I got from the  phone call and maybe somebody else got something different out of it.
Is that the approach you will take with all your projects going forward?
Yeah. I like something that Michael Haneke says: That filmmaking is like balancing precision and clarity with abstraction; he also describes it as building a ski jump for the audience — you build it and you let them ride off it. You’re creating room for multiple interpretations. There’s nothing more powerful than having your own private experience with a movie and not feeling like it is hammering you over the head with a message.
What was your biggest takeaway from your time at UCLA TFT?
I learned how to fight for what matters to me; to make films on my own terms and to know when to compromise and when not to. TFT allows a lot of room for the filmmakers, which I appreciated. It really is what you make it. I had some great teachers. They introduced me to different filmmakers and helped me break down movies and deconstruct films to see the choices that other directors and writers make.
I was ambivalent about going to film school but it ended up being really good for me. It gave me a place to exercise my craft and to practice, practice, practice, with some helpful guidance along the way.
Why were you ambivalent?
I applied on a lark. The ambivalence was partly financial — it’s a big investment. [Prior to attending UCLA TFT] I was trying to build my own film school, in that I was exercising the muscles as best I could on my own. I became attracted to the idea of doing that alongside other people who were doing the same thing and learning from my classmates and their work. I liked the idea of working outside of a vacuum. I’ve also made close filmmaker friends and that’s pretty invaluable.
At what point in time did you decide to become a filmmaker?
I was an actor when I was a young kid; I grew up outside New York and I was doing musical theater. I really wanted to be a musical theater actor in New York City and I went to [Cornell University] with that intent. Then I got interested in straight acting and then directing. I directed a play and that led to a film class where I made a film that won a student Emmy Award. That was encouraging, I thought. I liked film directing more than anything else I had done. It was right at the tail end of my undergrad experience that I thought, “I think this is the direction I’m going.”
But before you started UCLA TFT, you were doing some projects on your own.
I was. I worked for a feature director, Elizabeth Allen, for 2 1/2 years from the very beginning when her film, Ramona and Beezus, was greenlit until it was released in theaters. That was a great education and an amazing time. It was riding shotgun, getting to see a real director who is freelance, writing and working on her own stuff. I watched her and thought, “Would this work for me? Could I do this? Does this suit me?” It was a big help in clarifying that this was the job for me.
Posted: January 31, 2018
THE INAUGURAL Spark Change: Social Impact Entertainment Summit DEBUTS IN FEBRUARY
The Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment and creative activist organization Creative Visions, with support from Participant Media, have partnered to present the Spark Change Summit 2018. This first-of-its-kind summit — never before has there been an event that defines this emergent field and its players so effectively — is designed to connect students, rising filmmakers and established artists with leaders in social impact entertainment. Taking place at the UCLA TFT James Bridges Theater on Friday, Feb. 23, admission is free.
Speakers will include:
Bonnie Abaunza, founder, The Abaunza Group
Peter Bisanz, executive director, Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment
Pat Chandler, CEO, Creative Visions
Wendy Cohen, president, Picture Motion
Geralyn Dreyfous, co-founder, Impact Partners Film Fund
Kathy Eldon, co-founder, Creative Visions
Jon Fitzgerald, founder, Cause Cinema
Holly Gordon, chief impact officer, Participant Media
Daraiha Greene, multicultural engagement, Google
Davis Guggenheim, documentary filmmaker, An Inconvenient Truth, He Named Me Malala
Zach Ingrasci, co-founder, Living on One
Katherine Keating, publisher, VICE Impact
Rory Kennedy, The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
Lena Khan, director, The Tiger Hunter
Senain Kheshgi, managing director, MAJORITY
Florencia Krochik, director, and Andrea Savo, producer, Pathways
Mary Mazzio, director, I Am Jane Doe
Hayley Pappas, head of RYOT Films
Rick Perez, Sundance Institute
Ted Richane, Vulcan Productions
Teri Schwartz, dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
Isha Sesay, CNN
Darnell Strom, Creative Artists Agency
Amy Eldon Turteltaub, co-founder, Creative Visions
Jon Turteltaub, director and producer, National Treasure
The half-day seminar is intended to inspire new ideas, foster innovative thinking and energize the next generation of impact media makers. It will feature conversations with industry experts who are creating media that triggers insight, empathy and action, on topics ranging from story creation to funding and distribution. There will also be engaging pop-up discussions, media and interactive programming.
Spark Change Summit 2018
Friday, Feb. 23
9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
UCLA TFT James Bridges Theater
235 Charles E. Young Drive N.
Los Angeles, CA 90095
For more information, visit the Spark Change Summit website.
Bruins at Sundance
Forty-four Bruins have involvement in 22 projects that are being shown at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, which takes place Jan. 18-28, 2018, in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. As it has for the past two decades, UCLA TFT will host its annual reception, this year on Sunday, Jan. 21, to celebrate the cinematic accomplishments of its community. Additionally, alumnus Michael Stuhlbarg has been named one of five jurors of the festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition.
U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Justin Begnaud (M.F.A. ’10), financing consultant, The Kindergarten Teacher
Charles D. King (Executive Board), producer, Sorry to Bother You
Coco Kleppinger (B.A. ’05, M.F.A. ’08), casting assistant, Burden
Akin McKenzie (B.A. ’02), production designer, Wildlife
Nick Moceri (M.F.A. ’10), executive producer, The Kindergarten Teacher
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Allison Anders (B.A. ’86), herself, Hal
Alexander Payne (M.F.A. ’90), himself, Hal
Lynn Stalmaster (B.A. ’49, M.A. ’52), himself, Hal
Jack Black, actor, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Silas Howard (M.F.A. ’10), director, A Kid Like Jake
Anne Lane (B.A. ’10), actress, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Amy Adrion (M.F.A. ’09), director/producer, Half the Picture
Patricia Cardoso (M.F.A. ’94), herself, Half the Picture
Eve Cohen (M.F.A. ’08), additional cinematography, Half the Picture
Cat Deakins (M.F.A. ’12), additional cinematography, Half the Picture
Jennifer Dean (B.A. ’95), herself, Half the Picture
Ava DuVernay, herself, Half the Picture
Alex Gibney, producer, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind
Maria Giese (M.F.A. ’94), herself, Half the Picture
Jennifer Gittings (M.F.A. ’12), additional cinematography, Half the Picture
Paige-Elizabeth Gresty (M.F.A. ’17), researcher, Half the Picture
Kate Hackett (M.F.A. ’09), editor, Half the Picture
David Harris (M.F.A. ’07), producer, Half the Picture
Caroline Libresco (M.F.A. ’01), herself, Half the Picture
Gina Prince-Bythewood (B.A. ’91), herself, Half the Picture
Soraya Selene (M.F.A. ’11), cinematography, Half the Picture
Olivia Silver (M.F.A. ’17), assistant camera, Half the Picture
Penelope Spheeris (B.A. ’69), herself, Half the Picture
Emily Taylor-Mortorff (B.A. ’05), production coordinator, Half the Picture
Jeanne Tyson (M.F.A. ’12), additional cinematographer, Half the Picture
Aurelia Abate (M.F.A. ’02), visual effects producer, The Death of Stalin
Alex O’Flinn (M.F.A. ’09), film editing, The Rider
Tony Rettenmaier (B.A. ’12), additional production assistant, Search
Alan Pao (B.S. ’99), associate producer, A Boy, A Girl, A Dream.
Sheila Vand (B.A. ’06), actress, We the Animals
Nate Bolotin (M.F.A. ’07), producer, Mandy
Judy Phu (M.F.A. ’12), director of photography, This Close
Davita Scarlett (M.F.A. ’13), writer, Leimert Park
Heyjin Jun (B.A. ’12), cinematographer, Wyrm
Joenique C. Rose (Professional Programs ’13), producer, Emergency
Floyd Russ (B.A. ’06), director/screenwriter, Zion
Alethea C. Avramis (M.F.A. ’12), co-producer, BattleScar
Eric F. Martin (M.F.A. ’12), editor, Dinner Party
Sarah Yarkin (B.A. ’15), actress, Dinner Party
SUNDANCE COLLECTION AT UCLA
UCLA Film & Television Archive and Sundance partnered in 1997 to create the Sundance Collection at UCLA, established to preserve long-term access to independent film production. This important initiative is celebrated at the festival each year with special From the Collection screenings, which highlight important works protected as part of the landmark collaboration. This year, there will be a 20th anniversary screening of Smoke Signals (1998), with director Chris Eyre in attendance. During An Evening With Todd Haynes, the celebrated indie filmmaker will chat with producer and frequent collaborator Christine Vachon about his films.
EOS WORLD FUND
UCLA TFT alumnae Julie Dash (M.F.A. ’85) and Nina Menkes (M.F.A. ’89) have been named the first recipients of funding by the EOS World Fund for their new films Minotaur Rex and Cypher, respectively. In celebration of the launch of the EOS World Fund, on Friday, Jan. 19 at the festival, Menkes will present “Sex and Power: The Visual Language of Cinema,” followed by a panel discussion with Menkes, Dash and moderator Rachel Watanabe-Batton.
Posted: January 5, 2018
Updated: January 17, 2018
Professor, Head of Screenwriting
Phyllis Nagy’s screenplay for Carol, based on The Price of Salt, Patricia Highsmith’s classic second novel, won the New York and Seattle Film Critics Circle awards and received Academy Award, BAFTA, Spirit Award, Gotham Award and WGA nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2016.
She previously wrote and directed HBO Films’ Mrs. Harris, which starred Annette Bening and Ben Kingsley. A Gala Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival, Mrs. Harris received 12 Emmy nominations, including nods for Nagy’s work as a writer and a director, won a PEN Literary Award for its script, a Gracie Allen Award for its direction and was nominated for multiple Golden Globe and SAG Awards.
Nagy served as writer-in-residence at The Royal Court Theatre, London, where four of her plays premiered: Weldon Rising, Disappeared, The Strip and Never Land. Her other plays include Butterfly Kiss (Almeida Theatre, London); The Talented Mr. Ripley (Palace Theatre, Watford); The Seagull (Chichester Festival Theatre); The Scarlett Letter (Denver Center Theater, Classic Stage Company, New York and Chichester Festival Theatre); Trip’s Cinch (Actors Theater of Louisville Human Festival); and Delores, a contemporary version of Euripides’s Andromache (BBC Radio). Her plays have been translated into a dozen languages, have been performed across the globe and are published by Methuen Drama, Faber & Faber and Samuel French.
She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards for her work in the theater, including a McKnight Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Fellowships, a Writer’s Guild of Great Britain award, a Mobil International Playwriting Prize, and a New York State Council for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship.
Nagy is a member of The Academy Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, where she is a member of the Writers Branch Executive Committee; The British Academy of Film and Television Arts; The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; The Writers Guild of America West; and PEN American Center.
PRODUCER, EXECUTIVE AND UCLA PROFESSOR PETER GUBER HONORED WITH UCLA MEDAL
Peter Guber, chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, was presented with the UCLA Medal, the highest honor for extraordinary accomplishment that may be bestowed upon an individual by UCLA, in a ceremony at UCLA Chancellor Gene Block’s residence on Monday, Dec. 4.
A longtime Hollywood executive and producer of movies that have earned 50 Academy Award nominations, he is also a part owner of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
In addition to his other endeavors, for more than 40 years Guber has taught highly popular classes at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, where he also an executive board member, and at the Anderson School of Management.
“Peter is as passionate about his teaching as he is every other aspect of his career,” Chancellor Block said before making his presentation to Guber. “It’s clear that he values the opportunity to contribute and prepare the next generation for success — whether it’s in entertainment, sports or any number of other industries. His commitment is evident in the fact that, despite all he’s worked on throughout his career, Peter has never — to anyone’s knowledge — missed a year of teaching.”
That dedication, Block noted, was recognized by Gov. Jerry Brown last summer, when he appointed Guber to a 12-year term on the University of California Board of Regents.
During his remarks, Guber said he considered it a gift to be able to help and mentor students. “The way they learn, the way they ask questions — when you see you can touch people, it can change your life,” he said. “They get so much from it. Sharing with them, their journey, the joys of their journey, we’re fostering them to be curious. For me to be able to be part of that is a great honor. I dedicate myself to the years ahead to do even better.”
Teri Schwartz, dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, praised Guber for his service and leadership.
“I could not be more proud or thrilled for Peter Guber, who has been a long-time friend, mentor, supporter, faculty member and executive board member at TFT,” she said. “He has galvanized and inspired students in his amazing classes and has been a groundbreaking leader across the entertainment industry. The UCLA Medal represents the highest honor one can receive at UCLA and I could not think of anyone more deserving than Peter to receive this distinguished award and great honor.
“All of us at TFT congratulate Peter and wish him continued success in all that he undertakes both at UCLA and in his illustrious career.”
Guber’s generosity and leadership have been felt beyond UCLA TFT; he is also a founding member and the chair of the board of advisors for the UCLA Anderson Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports. He has previously served as a member of the UCLA Foundation Board of Trustees.
“Peter Guber is extraordinarily deserving of the UCLA Medal, the most prestigious honor our university bestows,” said Judy Olian, the Anderson School’s dean and holder of the John E. Anderson Chair in Management. “Peter has been a trailblazer in entertainment, sports and business, with a string of successes that few achieve in one, let alone multiple fields. Remarkably, throughout his very hectic professional career, he has always taught at UCLA. With his hunger for lifelong learning, his intellectual curiosity, broad knowledge of business and entertainment, and infectious enthusiasm, he has impacted generations of young people.
“We are so lucky that Peter’s passion for education has been directed toward UCLA, and I am thrilled that he is being recognized with this special honor.”
Prior to Mandalay, Guber was chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, chairman and CEO of Polygram Entertainment, co-founder of Casablanca Record & Filmworks and president of Columbia Pictures. Guber produced or executive produced (personally or through his companies) films that garnered five Best Picture Academy Award nominations (winning for Rain Man in 1989) and box-office hits that include Midnight Express, Flashdance, The Color Purple, Batman, The Kids Are All Right and Soul Surfer, among others. He is an owner of Dick Clark Productions, a leading independent producer of television programming such as the perennial hits American Music Awards, Golden Globe Awards and So You Think You Can Dance.
Guber is also a noted author whose works include Shoot Out: Surviving Fame and (Mis)Fortune in Hollywood, from which AMC’s TV series of the same name was adapted, and for which he served as host during the show’s seven-year run. His most recent business book, Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story, became an instant No. 1 New York Times bestseller.
The UCLA Medal was established in 1979 and is awarded to those who have earned academic and professional acclaim, and whose work demonstrates the highest ideals of UCLA. Past recipients include entertainment luminaries Samuel Goldwyn, Rob Reiner, David Geffen and Francis Ford Coppola, as well as writer Toni Morrison, President Bill Clinton, architect I.M. Pei, UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun and UCLA alumna and astronaut Anna Lee Fisher.
Posted: December 7, 2017
Shelleen Greene’s research interests include Italian cinema, race and representation, Black European studies, postcolonial studies, digital feminist studies, and globalization and visual culture. Her book, Equivocal Subjects: Between Italy and Africa – Constructions of Racial and National Identity in the Italian Cinema (Continuum Press, 2012) examines the representation of mixed-race subjects of Italian and African descent in the Italian cinema, arguing that the changing cultural representations of mixed-race identity reveal shifts in the country’s conceptual paradigms of race and nation. Her recent work has been published in ADA: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology and Future Texts: Subversive Performance and Feminist Bodies (Parlor Press, 2015). Her work has also been published in From Terrone to Extracomunitario: New Manifestations of Racism in Contemporary Italian Cinema: Shifting Demographics and Changing Images in a Multi-Cultural Globalized Society (Troubador Press, 2010) and Postcolonial Italy: Challenging National Homogeneity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
She has presented at the University of Bologna, Italy; Queen Mary, University of London; the Calandra Italian American Institute, CUNY; the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference; the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at Indiana University; and Brown University.
Prior to UCLA TFT, Greene was an associate professor of writing & critical thinking at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Bard College and her Ph.D. in Program in Visual Studies from University of California, Irvine.
Equivocal Subjects: Between Italy and Africa – Constructions of Racial and National Identity in the Italian Cinema. London and New York: Continuum Press, 2012.
“The New ‘Material Girls’: Madonna, ‘Millennial’ Pop Divas, and the Politics of Race and Gender.” Future Texts: Subversive Performance and Feminist Bodies. Edited by Vicki Callahan and Virginia Kuhn. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2015. 13-26.
“Buffalo Soldiers on Film: Il soldato afroamericano nel cinema neorealista e postbellico italiano” (“Buffalo Soldiers on Film: The African American Soldier in Italian Neorealist and Postwar Cinema.”). L’Africa in Italia: per una controstoria postcoloniale del cinema italiano (Africa in Italy: Towards a Postcolonial Counterhistory of the Italian Cinema). Edited by Leonardo De Franceschi. Rome: Aracne, 2013. 93-108.
“La diaspora africana in Italia: immigrazione e identità nazionale in Waalo Fendo di Mohammed Soudani ed in Western Union: Small Boats di Isaac Julien.” (“The African Diaspora in Italy: Immigration and National Belonging in Mohammed Soudani’s Where the Earth Freezes and Isaac Julien’s Western Union: small boats”) in Un Nuovo Cinema Politico Italiano? Volume 1 (A New Italian Political Cinema? Volume 1). Edited by William Hope, Luciana d’Arcangeli, and Silvana Serra. Leicester, UK: Troubador, 2013. 187-198.
“Bina 48: Race, Gender, and Queer Artificial Life.” ADA: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology. (2016) Issue 9. DOI: 10.7264/N3G44NKP.
“Talking About Whiteness: Using Digital Pedagogy to Interrogate Racial Privilege.” Critical Pedagogies in Neoliberal Times. Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier Vol. 3(2). Eds. Courtney Bailey and Julie Wilson. June 2015.
Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human. Alexander Weheliye. Duke University Press: Durham and London, 2014. 209 pp. Somatechnics. 6.1 (2016): 119-122.
“The Italian ‘Race’ and Its Discontents.” Bianco e Nero: Storia dell’identità razziale degli italiani. Gaia Giuliani and Cristina Lombardi-Diop. Milan: Mondadori Education S.p.A., 2013, 206 pp. g/s/i (gender/sexuality/Italy). August 2015.
Affirmative Reaction: New Formations of White Masculinity. Hamilton Carroll. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010, 221 pp. The Journal of Popular Culture. 45. 4 (August 2012): 917-920.
“Isaac Julien’s Expeditions.” Isaac Julien: Expeditions. Christina Dittrich ed. Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2012. 30-59.
“Il soldato americano.” (“The American Soldier in Italian Neorealist and Postwar Film.”) Italia A/R: Migrazioni nel/del cinema italiano (Italy A/R: Migrations to/from the Italian Cinema). Daniela Aronica and Vito Zagarrio, eds. Special Issue, Quaderni del CSCI, No. 8 (Annual Journal of Italian Cinema, The Center for the Study of Italian Cinema, No. 8) (2012): 177-179.
“Il Mulatto.” Italia A/R: Migrazioni nel/del cinema italiano (Italy A/R: Migrations to/from the Italian Cinema). Daniela Aronica and Vito Zagarrio, eds. Special Issue, Quaderni del CSCI, No. 8 (Annual Journal of Italian Cinema, The Center for the Study of Italian Cinema, No. 8) (2012): 208-209.
Assistant Professor of Experimental and Emergent Media
Application deadline: January 3, 2018