CalArts at Sundance and Slamdance 2015

This week, Sundance and Slamdance film festivals announced their 2015 lineup. Both festivals, which run during the end of January in Park City, Utah, feature the work of more than 20 CalArtian artists.

CalArts at Sundance Film Festival 2015

CalArtians' two short films and two features will be screened at Sundance:

  • Pia Borg (faculty, Experimental Animation) - Abandoned Goods in the Shorts Competition;
  • Patrick Brice (Film/Video BFA 11) - The Overnight in the Dramatic Competition;
  • Kirby Dick (Art BFA 76) - The Hunting Ground in the Documentary Competition; and
  • Ian Samuels (Film/Video MFA 11) - Myrna the Monster (trailer is above) in the Shorts Competition. Produced by faculty Ki Jin Kim (Film/Video MFA 10) and Giulia Caruso (Film/Video MFA 13). In addition, Ethan Clarke (Film/Video MFA 12) animated the film.

Eliza Hittman's (Film/Video MFA 10) screenplay Beach Rats has been accepted into the festival's prestigious Screenwriting Lab. Hittman, who received acclaim this year for her last film, It Felt Like Love, was one of 12 screenwriters selected for the immersive, five-day writers’ workshop at the Sundance Resort. The lab takes place just before the festival opens on Jan. 22. Drawn from the U.S. and around the world, the participants work with lauded screenwriters to develop their works-in-progress. Read more about the Lab on Indiewire.

Liz Toonkel (Theater/Art MFA 12) production designed the feature film Digging for Fire by director Joe Swanberg.  The cast for the film includes Jake Johnson, Rosemarie Dewitt, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick.

CalArts at Slamdance Film Festival 2015

Fourteen CalArts' films were selected for shorts programs at Slamdance this year in the Animation, Experimental and Anarchy Shorts programs:

  • Einar Baldvin (Film/Video BFA 09) - The Pride of Strathmoor in Animation Shorts
  • Sean Buckelew (Film/Video MFA 14) - Hopkins & Delaney LLP in Animation Shorts
  • Sofia Canales (Film/Video BFA 13, Film/Video & Music MFA 16) - Mujer in Documentary Shorts
  • Adriana Copete (Film/Video MFA 16) - Busking Tales in Animation Shorts
  • Calvin Frederick (Film/Video BFA 12, MFA 14) - Agrabagrabah in Experimental Shorts
  • Tian Guan (Film/Video MFA 17) - Drama in Shorts
  • Spencer Holden (Film/Video BFA 13) - I've Got the World on a String in Experimental Shorts
  • Lauren Morrison (Film/Video MFA 14) - Viscera in Anarchy Shorts
  • Julian Petschek (Film/Video BFA 14) - Butter Ya' Self in Animation Shorts
  • Matt Reed (Film/Video BFA 10, MFA 15) - Cosmic Egg in Anarchy Shorts
  • Grace Nayoon Rhee (Film/Video MFA 13) - Unicorn in Anarchy Shorts
  • Josh Shaffner (Film/Video MFA 15) - Pond in Anarchy Shorts
  • Brian Smee (Film/Video BFA 16) - Sports in Animation Shorts
  • Zachary Zezima (Film/Video MFA 16) - Cruising in Animation Shorts

The Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 22-Feb. 1, and the Slamdance Film Festival spans Jan. 23-29. Above is the trailer for Samuels' Myrna the Monster.

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  1. Will Jackson // //

    Another “CalArts” film screening at Sundance this month is about environmental activism, called “How To Change The World” –a detailed documentation of early Greenpeace and late founder Bob Hunter.

    I call it a “CalArts film” because I was a crew member who used a Serge Modular synthesizer to make sounds to the whales in hopes of luring them away from the whalers…and that synthesizer was built at CalArts in the Serge Tcherepnin workshop of 1974 (under Mort Subotnick). Although I lost my original 1970 scholarship in a disagreement with my mentor Allan Kaprow (at Villa cabrini), I still consider myself an “alumni” along with the many lifelong artist friends I met there.

    I recently published my “eco memoir” of that time (and when I opened the first GP office in the USA, in SF) called “Once Upon A Greenpeace”. In it I describe my association with CalArts and how it led me to Greenpeace (through a very serendipitous, circuitous route!). [It is available on Amazon.]

    In this feature-length movie — which will receive international theater distribution — I am seen in the footage of the first anti-whaling expedition (1975), and in recent interviews for the film narrative. I will be at Sundance for this reason.

    I wish you could somehow post this news. It shines a VERY good light on CalArts, putting the school squarely in the environmental arts and activism camp, in a story that is increasingly becoming the main topic of worldwide discussion: climate change and ecological crisis.

    If my efforts served my “alma mater” well, you are welcome, dear school…and I get to tell Kaprow in the afterlife that he did me a great service by dumping me, because if that hadn’t happened, I would never have connected with the incubating Greenpeace group at all.

    Thank you!

    Will Jackson