2008 Cannes Film Festival Shone Brighter with CCA Stars on Hand
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 by Jim Norrena
While much of the stargazing that took place at the 61st annual Cannes Film Festival (May 14–25) focused on established industry moguls—movie stars, directors, and producers—it was also an international arena wherein several CCA students, in collaboration with San Jose–based nonprofit Reel Ideas Studios, not only were selected to participate in the prestigious Cannes Student Filmmaking Program but also received highest honors for their contributions.
Reel Ideas program director and founding board member James Kenney, who is also a CCA Graphic Design faculty member, has been a faculty mentor of the program for the last two years. "By bringing student and professional filmmakers together at Cannes," he says, "the Reel Ideas Studio program offers amazing mentorship opportunities for students hoping to gain access to the industry luminaries whose work they study."
Reel Ideas Studio teamed with Adobe Systems Incorporated, Vancouver Film School's Digital Design Program, Intel Corporation, Sony Corporation, and Dell
Precision™ Workstations to provide the student filmmakers with equipment and workstations for their collaborative filmmaking.
Forty-five students from 30 film schools around the globe were selected to attend Cannes. They worked in nine teams of five to create documentaries relating to their experience there. The films showed during the festival in the Cannes Short Film Corner. Each member of the winning team received $2,000 and a copy of Adobe's Production Premium CS3 software.
Each student team required five roles (emerging editor, emerging cinematographer, emerging publicist, emerging motion graphics, and emerging director), and one person from each role category received an award.
CCA alumna Heidi Berg (Graphic Design 2008) received the independent emerging motion graphics artist award for her outstanding contribution to the film Jigmé, a six-minute documentary that spotlights a local homeless man named Jigmé Karma, who forfeited his home, job, and all his money to live on the beach and share his wisdom with others. Jigmé was given a Polaroid camera to capture his impressions of Cannes while a film crew followed along for 10 days (four of which were devoted to editing).
"For me being able to go to another country, be completely out of my comfort zone, do the creative work that I love, and to be honored with this award is so thrilling," Berg stated. "It gives me the added courage and drive to really go out and create work that may be out of my element, out of my normal routine. This was my first jump into the film industry and it made me realize how much I love filmmaking. It is an amazing feeling and I cannot thank the mentors enough for honoring me."
Elizabeth Chiu, also a CCA alumna (Graphic Design 2008), was selected to go to the cinematic Mecca to lend her motion graphics skills as part of Le Monde Est Petite, the collaborative team responsible for The Medium, which landed a distinguished documentary award.
Last year, CCA alum Juan Leguizamon (Graphic Design 2007) and his team received a distinguished documentary award.
Two-time Academy Award–winning film industry professional and CCA Media Arts faculty member Rob Epstein has served as a judge for the last two years. Faculty from the Vancouver Film School, the American University Paris, and the University of Southern California served as onsite mentors to the student teams.
Cannes also hosted an online documentary film challenge this year: a Reel Ideas Studio online community opportunity that required teams submit a three-to-five-minute short subject film. The winning films are then screened at the festival. The team calling itself Nothing to Something entered and won a distinguished community documentary award for Inside Out, a short film highlighting CCA graduate student Molly Mitchell (MFA / Visual and Critical Studies 2009). This accomplished team included CCA undergraduate senior Netsui (Graphic Design 2009) for director/postproduction and CCA alum Jason Kolbrich (MFA Writing 2007) for cinematography.
Netsui is currently an Adobe Achievement Awards semifinalist, and it was Adobe that encouraged her to apply in the online short subject film category. As a CCA Media Center employee, Netsui and her team worked independently without professional filmmaker mentorship and successfully put together the winning film in less than three weeks. Said Netsui, "CCA's Media Center gave me access to the tools and training to succeed in the competition."
Each member of the winning community team received a copy of Adobe Premiere Pro CS3.
Visit Reel Ideas Studios to view all the competing documentaries and a complete list of awarded filmmakers.
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