Film News

Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2012 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

The Cast of La Bamba 2: Hell Is a Drag

"I wrote a sequel to From Dusk Till Dawn when I was in seventh grade."

So began the filmmaking career of Rob Fatal (MFA 2012). His obsession with film proceeded apace, but it took him a surprisingly long time, he says, to realize that there was a person called a director -- that movies didn't just spring into existence like Athena from Zeus's head.

Inspired by Quentin Tarantino, Mel Brooks, and Robert Rodriguez, Fatal began writing screenplays at age 12. "I loved camp and sci-fi films before I even knew they were genres." At 19 he borrowed his father's camcorder and made a 30-minute film about DJs with magical turntables. "It was accidentally campy. It was accidentally bad. But it had a lot of sincerity." Much to his surprise, it did well, even getting into a couple of festivals.

Film Maker, Filmmaker, or Artist?

Fast forward a few years. Fatal was still working in film and experimenting with video art, but not quite to the point of considering himself a filmmaker, and certainly not an "artist," whatever that meant. But one day, in the midst of editing a video documenting an experimental opera by Fatal's collaborator/mentor Juliana Snapper, he recomposed portions of the footage into a new composition and showed it to CCA faculty member Cheryl Dunye. Dunye delivered the unexpected news that what he was doing was art, and urged him to apply to CCA's MFA program. The faculty there, she said, were pushing the boundaries of genres, and dealing with gender politics and racial identity -- fields of study Fatal had been researching for years in his graduate program at Sacramento State University. CCA presented Fatal with a place to finally bridge his dual love of film theory and practice.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 by Allison Byers

Thinking about getting a masters degree but haven’t found the right field? California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco just made it easier, announcing three new graduate programs beginning in 2013, bringing the total number of post-professional offerings to eleven. The trio of curricula includes: a Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape (MAUDL), a MFA in Comics, and a MFA in Film.

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Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Art of Nonfiction Movie Making
Praeger, 2012
Hardcover, 248 pages, $48

The past few years have featured such blockbusters as Super-Size Me, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, March of the Penguins, and An Inconvenient Truth. And as news articles proclaim a new era in the history of documentary films, more and more new directors are making their first film a nonfiction one. But in addition to posing all of the usual challenges inherent to more standard filmmaking, documentaries also present unique problems that need to be understood from the outset. Where does the idea come from? How do you raise the money? How much money do you need? What visual style is best suited to the story? What are the legal issues involved? And how can a film reach that all-important milestone and find a willing distributor?

Film Program chair Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (co-founders of Telling Pictures Inc. and Academy Award-winning documentary filmmakers) tackle all of these important questions with examples and anecdotes from their own careers.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by Allison Byers

Most new independent designers struggle for years to distinguish themselves from the pack. But Brook Lane and Kirby McKenzie’s debut line of natural indigo dyed bags and scarves was met with unexpectedly quick success. Though their label, Job & Boss, is just shy of a year old, it has already been snapped up by four Bay Area boutiques, including Gravel & Gold and Accident & Artifact.

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Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 by Joyce Grimm

On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, CCA Film and Fine Arts faculty member Lynn Marie Kirby, together with collaborator Alexis Petty, will present The 24th Street Listening Project at the Brava Theater in San Francisco. The evening will include the screening of a new video by Kirby exploring the neighborhood through color and language mapping, a musical performance reflecting local stories and topography, a book release, and the launch of the new website, 24thStreetListeningProject.com.

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Posted on Friday, August 10, 2012 by Allison Byers

BERKELEY -- Filmmaker Jacob Kornbluth was shooting a series of short videos about the economic crisis featuring former Labor Secretary Robert Reich when he realized he had a much bigger story to tell.
"I thought, 'I'm sure there are a lot of people like me who are looking for a coherent story of what happened in a movie (format)," Kornbluth said.
The pair agreed to partner on a feature-length documentary, "Inequality for All." Inspired by Reich's book "Aftershock," it's "sort of 'An Inconvenient Truth' for the economy," Kornbluth said.

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Posted on Thursday, August 9, 2012 by Allison Byers

The Berkeley FILM Foundation awarded a combined $150,000 in grants on July 26 to 23 local filmmakers, including five students and one UC Berkeley alumna.

The grants — funded by the city of Berkeley, Wareham Development and the Saul Zaentz Company along with fundraised donations — aim to assist the filmmakers in any stage of their films’ production and to provide the films with the credibility and recognition necessary to succeed.

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Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Erinn Clancy at work (photo by Justin Nunnink)

A specialist, style-wise? On the contrary, Erinn Clancy (Media Arts 2010) is continually looking to expand his vocabulary as a filmmaker. He and his longtime friend and creative collaborator Justin Nunnink, recently cofounders of Shot & Cut Productions in New York, are working on projects that range from day-in-the-life documentaries to cutting-edge experiments.

Every aspect of filmmaking presents an interesting new challenge for Clancy: "You create your film three times: when you storyboard and conceptualize it, when you shoot it, and when you edit it. Each experience adds a unique problem, and you have to find a creative way to solve it."

Clancy reports that he almost didn't attend CCA. "I was shopping around for colleges; and had planned on going to Boston’s Museum School. Ultimately it was the beauty of the Oakland campus that lured me to CCA, and the Presidential Achievement Award and Scholarship that sold me." During his time here he took full advantage of the interdisciplinary approach the college promotes, building glassblowing and screenprinting courses into his schedule. "I went in as a Media Arts / Film major, but constantly had opportunities to expand my creative palette. I found ways for other disciplines to inform my work in film."

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Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Still from Paul Trillo's "How to Fly a Kite"

Paul Trillo (Film 2007) is a filmmaker, an illustrator, and, above all, a storyteller. Since graduating in 2007 he's been blazing a unique path --first in the Bay Area, and lately in New York -- with a prodigious output of dynamic, experimental short films and music videos. His new short film Happy Birthday Mr. Bracewell will be screening at the Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner in May.

It is a matter-of-fact fictional piece about a man named Gray Bracewell whose birthday is also the anniversary of the day his wife left him three years previous. Events depicted involve a long-lost brother, a decent bit of time travel, and the possibility of recapturing a love lost.

I spoke with Trillo in March 2012 about his recent projects and how CCA helped shape his artistic vision.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 by Rachel Walther

Andrew Georgopoulos (2nd from left) on the set of "The Artist"

"People have always told me no, and I've done it anyway."

There's nowhere that Andrew Georgopoulos (Individualized Major 2007) won't go to get his image. He's photographed a nude woman in the middle of Lombard Street and documented the day-to-day exploits of Snoop Dogg and other hip-hop legends. Recently he grabbed his first Hollywood studio experience working on a film with a serious budget and an international crew that would go on to be named best picture of 2011: a production you may have heard of, called The Artist.

"It's all about access," Georgopoulos explains, of how to get the story you want. "It's the defining factor that separates you from the next person." His introduction to hip-hop musicians and lifestyles started by answering an ad soliciting photojournalists for a neighborhood magazine in the East Bay. "My body of work grew, from the next artist to the next. I was always looking to get the next big name, and I was able to come to them with a background." Eventually he spent a full year capturing the life of Snoop Dogg. This was during his sophomore year at CCA, when he was 20 years old.

Georgopoulos's work can be in-your-face, but his technique never overshadows his subject. His most engaging photos of musicians are often candid shots of their more mundane, day-to-day moments, and his travel photography is as contemplative as it is exotic. His personal work, on the other hand, captures for posterity those larger-than-life moments you see out of the corner of your eye or in your more vivid dreams.

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