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April 05 2019
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Film School Roundup - April Week One, 2019

The News, Releases and Recommendations From Film Schools Around The World (3/29/19–4/5/19)


Picture Credit: Juan Figueroa


Centerpiece News

~One of our biggest stories this week comes from USC’s campus, where a new short film premiere holds within it some revolutionary technology. The short film Trailblazer is a 3-minute animated “visual music piece” directed by USC senior Sagar Ramesh in collaboration with fellow animators and with a score provided by USC School of Music graduate David Deedwania. While the film is driven more by experience than narrative (it will receive distribution as a VR film), one of the biggest breakthroughs comes in the technology itself. Called Ollie, this animation engine was actually built by the USC students who created the film. Their mission was to make a VR animation tool that anyone could literally pick up and start building something incredible for themselves. See a demo of how Ollie works below.~


Ollie is an intuitive and easy-to-use VR animation builder created by a team of USC students.


~In other animation news, the Annecy International Film Festival And Market (which we previewed earlier this week) announced they were expanding their screening categories to include film school thesis projects from around the world. Titled the “Graduation” films section, Annecy is doing its part as one of the major destinations for animated film by welcoming the future of filmmaking into the festival fold.~

~Alright, alright, alright. Matthew McConaughey is back and channeling his Dazed and Confused days with the latest film from director Harmony Korine, The Beach Bum. While you may have been following the latest developments from this soon-to-be stoner classic, did you know that a class of film students at UT-Austin have been involved with the film since day one? That’s because McConaughey teaches a “Script to Screen” class where students in the class get to follow along with the Oscar-winning actor as he sees a movie through pre-production, principal photography and post-. Way cool, right?.~


Festival Circuit

~ New Directors/New Films — Now in its 48th year, the Film Society of Lincoln Center host this celebration of the best in new cinema. This year had two short film programs packed with global talent. A filmmaker we’ve brought up time and time again — Garrett Bradley — had her latest short, America, receive its New York premiere. This short about a once-lost 1913 feature film with a black cast already played at Sundance this year and we can’t wait to see where it plays next.~


‘America’ is one of the shorts shown at this year’s New Directors, New Films festival.


~Aspen ShortsFest~One of the biggest short film festivals in the U.S. starts this week. With selections from over 30 countries, we are sure to discover many of the year’s most anticipated shorts (including those poised for an Oscar run) from this fest.~


Thesis Spotlight

~It seems that 2019 is becoming the year of surprising film acquisitions. Fox Searchlight (now part of Disney) finally launched its Searchlight Shorts programming a few weeks ago, with plans of releasing short films they’ve acquired at various festivals. Now Amazon is getting in the game, but in a different way. They just acquired a student thesis project, the first acquisition of its kind. Evol: The Theory of Love was directed by filmmakers Mike Perrone and Geoffrey Makowski. It was actually completed in 2015, while the duo studied at the School of Visual Arts. The feature, a $100,000 production, was made entirely with a student-crew.~


Did You See That?

Institute for Curing A**holes — Mike Stutz

Though not strictly a film school connection, this web series features alumni from USC’s MFA drama school. Mike Stutz, the series’ creator, has created short funny content for Funny or Die, TBS, and more, while being actively involved in Southern California theater and arts schools. This comedic series cleverly confronts issues of representation, political correctness and more with witty dialogue and a story construction dripping in satire. Each episode is bite-sized and quite addicting.



Mission Control Z — Max Jasinski

This humorous conceptual comedy recently won several awards at the Lights! Canberra! Action! short film competition in Australia. A work place farce mixed with a time-travel twist, two white-collar dudes have to figure out what to do when they accidentally “delete” the moon from earth’s existence. Jasinski and cast prove that a high concept can work on a small budget. 



~The always excellent Directors’ Notes website had an enlightening interview with short film director Ali Kurr about her latest film, Sparrow, currently making its festival rounds. This story of a lesbian couple at an amusement park is garnering comparisons to Andrea Arnold, particularly in its unyielding look at modern relationships and the existence of youth. Like many great short filmmaker, Kurr comes from the world of music videos and we hope to see many more narrative shorts from her in the future.~

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