Winter 2014 Alumni Newsletter

Home > About > Winter 2014 Alumni Newsletter

Alumni News

Payne's Presents

Director and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Alexander Payne (MFA, '90) has received best director nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s Golden Globe Awards and Film Independent Spirit Awards for his latest film, 'Nebraska,' which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Star Bruce Dern received the best actor award at Cannes for his portrayal in the film. Thus far during Awards Season, the 'Nebraska' team has also earned nominations and recognition from the National Board of Review, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Online, the AFI Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Shining Bright

On Friday, Nov. 8, 'Law & Order: SVU' actress Mariska Hargitay (BA, '87) received the 2,511th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 'Law & Order' creator Dick Wolf, as well as Maria Bello, Debra Messing, Hilary Swank and Blair Underwood were on hand to celebrate the occasion. Hargitay's star is located next to that of her mother's, the late Jayne Mansfield, on Hollywood Blvd.

Rockin' Out

Frank Zappa's surrealistic '200 Motels' (1971) got its world premiere at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles
Master Chorale and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen on Weds., Oct. 23. TFT Professor of Costume Design Chrisi Karvonides and four
alums were instrumental in showcasing the evening. Sheila Vand (BA, '06), performed and James Darrah (MFA, '10), directed. Cameron Mock (MFA, '11) handled the projection and lighting design; Emily MacDonald (MFA, '13), was the scenic designer. Professor Karvonides envisioned the evening's wardrobe, which she described as 'an eclectic mix of '70s and contemporary couture with a rock and roll twist.'

No Lie

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has added 'The Armstrong Lie,' directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney and produced by Academy Award-nominated producer Frank Marshall (BA, '68), to the Oscars' documentary feature shortlist. Along with fellow 'Armstrong Lie' producer Matt Tolmach, Marshall recently presented Gibney with the IDA Awards' Career Achievement Award. Oscar nominations will be announced on Thurs., Jan. 16.

Book Bound

Theater alum Eng-Beng Lim (Ph.D, '04), now an assistant professor at Brown University, has written 'Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performance in the Asias,' which was recently published by NYU Press.

Hosting Duties

Beth Behrs (MFA, '08, right) will be hosting the People's Choice Awards on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, along with her '2 Broke Girls' co-star Kat Dennings, at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

Alumni Notes

Director Justin Lin (BA, '95) has been tapped to helm the fifth installment in the 'Bourne' film franchise, tentatively slated for a summer 2015 release. Kennedy-Marshall Prods.' Frank Marshall (BA, '68), who has produced each of the films in the 'Bourne' series, will also produce the latest sequel…Tim Robbins (BA, '82) and Jack Black will star in HBO's new dark, half-hour comedy 'The Brink'... Jules Nurrish's (MFA, '12) short film 'Kiss Me' was selected by KQED to participate in Film School Shorts, a weekly series that showcases short student films from across the country…Production Designer Patrick Scalise (MFA, '13) was one of four students chosen from a field of 91 applicants to participate in the Art Directors Guild Production Apprentice Training Program…Natalija Vekic (MFA, '13) and Dana Turken (MFA, '12) have been chosen to be part of Film Independent's 14th annual Screenwriting Lab…'Tryouts,' a film by Susana Casares (MFA, '12), received the Silver Award at the Beijing Film Academy Festival in October…Colin Davis (BA, '12), was named one of Variety's 10 Assistants to Watch…L.A. Ross' (BA, '13) short film, 'Miss Famous,' was featured briefly on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'…Joan Churchill (BA, '68) was honored by CAMERIMAGE, the 21st edition of the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, in Bydgoszcz, Poland, the first female documentary filmmaker to receive this honor… Dawn Garcia (BA, '10) directed TV on the Radio's music video for their song 'Mercy'…directors Geeta Malik (MFA, '07), Richard Parkin (MFA, '13) and Iliana Sosa (MFA, '12) will participate in Film Independent's Project Involve…The spec script 'Line of Duty,' written by NYPD officer-turned-screenwriter Cory Miller (MFA, '11) has been picked up by Lotus Entertainment…Puja Maewal (MFA, '12) has received a grant from The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors Foundation to help complete her student thesis film 'Jaya'…Julie Cross (Mullen) (MFA, '08), won the Sitcom Teleplay Pilot prize at the Austin Film Festival for her teleplay 'I Love Monsters'… Documentarian Yolanda Cruz (MFA, '03) has signed a deal with production company Canana to produce 'La Raya,' her fiction film debut…Bambi Haggins (Ph.D, '00), associate professor at Arizona State University, was featured on the HBO special 'Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mambley' and quoted in the New Yorker on the same subject…Wynn Padula's (MFA, '07) film "Slowmo" received the Best Short Award from the 2013 IDA Documentary Awards and is one of eight films shortlisted by the Motion Picture Academy in the documentary short subject category.

Faculty News

Standing O's

Two TFT faculty members were honored at the 24th annual L.A. Stage Alliance's Ovation Awards on Sunday, Nov. 3: Shirley Jo Finney (MFA, '73) earned the best direction of a play prize for In the Red and Brown Water (at the Fountain Theatre) and Brian Kite was honored with the best direction of a musical prize for Spring Awakening (at La Mirada Theatre).

Classic Threads

Every Friday night in December, TFT Professor Deborah Nadoolman Landis (MFA, '75), Founding Director and Chair of the David C. Copley Center for the Study of Costume Design, is guest hosting Turner Classic Movies' 'Friday Night Spotlight: The Hollywood Costume.'

Stage Work

Working with the original Broadway design team and the New York producers of Bette Midler's I'll Eat You Last, TFT director of production and Geffen Playhouse Production Manager Dan Ionazzi recently oversaw the recreation of all the design elements of the New York show and developed and implemented the production's scheduling and staffing plan. Performances began Tues., Dec. 3 and officially opened Thurs., Dec. 5. The show runs through Sun., Dec. 22.

Official Duty

In September, Adjunct Professor and former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tom Sherak was named director of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti's Entertainment Industry and Production Office, taking a salary of $1 per day.

Student News

Putting on a Show

The second edition of Lainie's Cabaret at UCLA, directed by Tony Award-nominated actress and TFT Adjunct Professor Lainie Kazan, opened on Weds., Nov. 20. Lainie's Cabaret starred undergraduate students from the Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program and TFT's Department of Theater. Classic songs from the Great American Songbook were sung on the stage designed by Rich Rose, Theater Department Professor of Scenic Design, Associate Dean, Student Affairs and Vice Chair, Undergraduate Studies. Sold-out performances continued over five nights at the Freud Playhouse. MAC provided makeup for the artists.

"doubleblind" Honored

In the 2012-13 academic year, TFT students created a television pilot guided by Primetime Emmy Award-winning director and TFT Adjunct Professor Rod Holcomb ('ER'). The project, 'doubleblind,' took three quarters to develop and incorporated students from both departments and every discipline within the school. On Sun., Dec. 1, 'doubleblind' MFA screenwriting students A.J. Marchicello and Teresa Sullivan accepted the Special Television/New Media Award for the production during the 31st Annual Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors Awards dinner in Beverly Hills. Catch the 'doubleblind' trailer here. 

Student Notes

MFA directing student Nicole Gordon's film 'The Last Wild" screened at the White Sands International Film Festival in Las Cruces, New Mexico… MFA directing and cinematography candidate Justin Perkinson is in China as a Fulbright fellow, working on his documentary about the co-existence of modern and traditional Chinese medicine in the country…'Open Grave,' penned by MFA directing student Chris Borey and his brother Eddie Borey, was picked up for distribution by New York-based Tribeca Film… MFA directing student Christina Sun Kim will participate in Film Independent's Project Involve…MFA directing and cinematography student Dehanza Shreen Rogers, MFA directing student Margot Ye and directing alum Puja Maewal (MFA, '12) were named minority female director winners at the 2013 DGA Student Film Awards, West Region…MFA screenwriting student Rocco Pucillo was named the $15,000 first-place winner of the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards…As one of three winners of the AbelCine grant, MFA directing student Steven Liang has received a $33,000 grant in filmmaking equipment to help him complete his documentary…MFA directing student Ryan Moody won the Silver Plaque in the Student competition at the 61st Columbus International Film Festival for his film 'Last Call'… Ph.D theater student Courtney Ryan has written a distinguished article, 'Playing With Plants,' which appears in the latest issue Johns Hopkins University's Theatre Journal, the top such academic journal in the country. 

Archive News

UCLA Film & Television Archive and Outfest have announced plans for an online lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender moving-image research area that will feature all 208 episodes of the groundbreaking public television series "In the Life" at its core. The new, publicly accessible digital portal, expected to launch in spring 2014, will include two decades' worth of broadcasts of the Emmy-nominated LGBT newsmagazine and will link to the UCLA archive's already substantial collection of LGBT moving-image study resources.

Additional News

Kodak Moment

Academy Award-winning cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, ASC, AMC ('Pan's Labyrinth') has been named the 2013 Kodak Cinematographer-in-Residence at the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media. The Kodak Cinematographer-in-Residence program began in 2000 to enhance the learning experience of students with insight from renowned cinematographers. UCLA TFT is the only film school that offers a cinematography residency program such as this, where students can receive direct guidance from cinematographers through screenings, workshops and one-on-one sessions over the course of 10 weeks. 

Telluride Team

This year's Telluride Film Festival featured two TFT alums who had the distinction of being the first married couple to show two separate films in the same year. Battiste Fenwick (MFA, '12) and his wife Esther Julie-Anne (MFA, '13) brought 'Una Chanza Mas' and 'Out of Love,' respectively, to the 40 year-old festival in September. The third edition of FilmLAB, created by Dean Teri Schwartz and funded by producer and founding sponsor Frank Marshall (BA, '68), took place with 10 FilmLAB fellows in attendance. They included FTVDM MFA students Chloe Booher, Mark Columbus, Ursula Loscalzo, Felischa Marye, Dehanza Shreen Rogers, Jason Romaine, Marcela Santibanez, Sahirr Sethhi and Matthew Yaldezian and FTVDM PhD student Matthias Stork. The students met with filmmakers who had films screened at the festival, as well as other entertainment industry leaders in a series of exclusive workshops, panels and screenings. TFT once again co-hosted the official Filmmakers' Reception at Telluride with The Hollywood Reporter. Check out their coverage here.

Animation Meets the Gridiron

The Animation Workshop was featured in a short clip during ESPN2's coverage of the UCLA vs. Washington State football game on Friday, Nov. 15.

Sundance Film Festival

"A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,' produced by Justin Begnaud (MFA, '10), written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (MFA, '09), executive produced by Nick Moceri (BA, '10) and edited by Alex O'Flinn (MFA, '09), will premiere at Sundance in the festival's NEXT programming section.
"Dear White People,' lensed by cinematographer Topher Osborn (MFA, '08) and directed by Justin Simien, has been named to the U.S. Dramatic Competition lineup at Sundance. 
The newly restored 'Hoop Dreams' (1994) will screen in the From the Collection program at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, 20 years after the film made its world premiere at the 1994 festival. The recently completed restoration represents the collaborative effort of Sundance Institute, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Academy Film Archive branch of AMPAS and Kartemquin Films. The filmmakers are expected to participate in an extended Q&A immediately following the Mon., Jan. 20 screening.
XYZ Films (principals are Nate Bolotin, MFA, '07; Nick Spicer, MFA, '06; and Aram Tertzakian, MFA, '07) will have a strong presence at Sundance with four films. American Zoetrope's 'Life After Beth,' starring Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza, is in competition (XYZ is handling international sales); Sony Pictures Classics' 'The Raid 2: Berandal,' premieres out of competition (XYZ produced); and in the fest's Park City at Midnight section, Norway's 'Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead' and Japan/Indonesia's 'Killers,' both of which XYZ executive produced and are selling.

Special Screening Series

As part of Dean Schwartz's Dean's Special Screening Series at the James Bridges Theater in November, director and Academy-Award winning screenwriter Alexander Payne screened "Nebraska," his latest Awards Season contender. Third-year MFA screenwriting student and Telluride FilmLAB fellow Felischa Marye moderated the Q&A that followed the screening. Veteran producer Frank Marshall (BA, '68) screened 'The Armstrong Lie,' his new documentary about cyclist Lance Armstrong, directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney. A Q&A followed. Also in November at the Bridges: The Department of Film, Television and Digital Media hosted filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, a pioneer in high-end time-lapse cinematography, and his Disneynature documentary 'Wings of Life,' narrated by Meryl Streep.  

Come See a Show!

TFT's Theater Season is in full swing. We invite you to check out our current and upcoming productions here and save the date for our Spring musical, Frank Loesser, Joe Swerling and Abe Burrows' classic Guys & Dolls, happening May 22-24 and May 27-31, 2014.