Film News

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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Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 by Brook Hinton

John Waters in Conversation -- a CCA milestone [photo: Jim Norrena]

Legendary film director John Waters (Pink Flamingos (1972); Female Trouble (1974); Polyester (1981); Hairspray (1988); Cry Baby (1990); Serial Mom (1994); A Dirty Shame (2004)) made a special guest appearance at CCA as part of the Film Program’s Cinema Visionaries Lecture Series.

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Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 by Jim Norrena

A documentary short by Yoni Klein and Alka Joshi

Blink once for finalist, twice for student Academy Award.

In almost as little time as it takes to blink, Yoni Klein's (2012 Photography) and alumna Alka Joshi's (MFA 2011 Writing) documentary short, Blink, made the film festival rounds in 2011, screening at almost a dozen film festivals across the United States as well as in London at GFEST, the Gaywise Festival! Now the film has just been announced as a regional finalist in the 39th annual Student Academy Awards competition of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy) and the Academy Foundation!

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Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Exposure to industry events such as Sundance Film Festival is invaluable for CCA's film students

What do the Academy Awards, Michael Moore, and CCA have in common? More than you might imagine, thanks to Film chair Rob Epstein (himself a proud recipient of two Oscars!) and Film faculty member Brian Benson, who this semester arranged not one but two exceptional "on location" trips that afforded film-loving CCA students coveted access to high-profile industry events.

First Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the premiere film festival for independent filmmakers; then Oscar "DOCS!" in Los Angeles, an Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences special event held just prior to the Academy Awards, featuring panel discussions with the year's nominated documentary short subject and documentary feature filmmakers.

This year's event was hosted by maverick documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.

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Posted on Monday, February 6, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Fifty Years of Bay Area Art: The SECA Awards
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2011
Hardcover, 168 pages, $29.95

Tanya Zimbardo (MA Curatorial Practice 2005), SFMOMA's assistant curator of media arts, coauthored this book chronicling and illustrating more than 100 SECA Award recipients from the late 1960s to the present, including CCA alumni Squeak Carnwath, Desirée Holman, Mitzi Pederson, Laurie Reid, Leslie Shows, and Kathryn VanDyke, among others. Featured faculty include Rebeca Bollinger, Kota Ezawa, Thom Faulders, Chris Finley, Donald Fortescue, Amy Franceschini, Clay Jensen, Jordan Kantor, Shaun O'Dell, Maria Porges, and Mary Snowden.

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