Lindsay Adamson Livingston recently received a grant from the Charles Redd Center supporting a project that explores how performance both reaffirms and undermines tropes of the “Mythic West” in Tombstone, Arizona. In addition, she is preparing to submit an article next month for publication consideration in the Theatre Journal. In preparation for the article, she went on a research trip in early February where she conducted interviews and did other ethnographic fieldwork onsite at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. She interviewed staff and performers about their role in enacting historical persons and creating spaces for visitors. Lindsay explains that, “Colonial Williamsburg is considered one of the preeminent living history museums in the United States, and, through its tourist site, foundation, and educational outreach programs, influences the general cultural perception of the history of colonial-era North America. Unfortunately, much of Colonial Williamsburg’s programming fails to adequately and appropriately account for non-white experiences in the town, both past and current. I was able to attend programming specifically tailored towards visitors interested in black experience in Williamsburg (I went during Black History Month expressly for this purpose) and I was able to interview several staff members and performers about their understanding of Colonial Williamsburg’s goals for depicting black history at the site.”
The production of The Selfish Giant closed Saturday, June 14. This was the culmination of over a year’s preparation of student and faculty working to create puppets and characters. Several of the faculty members and their children participated in the production. After each performance, the cast members went out into the gallery to take pictures with the children, and patrons were encouraged to post them on Facebook with the hashtag #BYUGiant. Below are a couple of the photos that were taken.
We thought it would be fun to hear from some of the students who were able to attend the Motion Picture Academy Student Awards, or Student Oscars, a couple of weekends ago. All student winners are hosted for about a week before the actual awards ceremony. They are given tours to the Motion Picture Academy Library and Archives, where motion picture history is preserved. The academy also invites special speakers and hosts dinners with people active in the film community to give students an opportunity to connect with other filmmakers. In addition, the academy hosts a 2-hour screening of all the films that receive awards and invited the directors/programmers from Tier 1 festivals from around the country. This year, each of the BYU students mentioned how much they enjoyed connecting with the other student filmmakers. Dan Clark said, “For me, one of the highlights of the oscars was getting to meet the other winners. They’re incredibly talented, but still really genuine people. It’s a really awesome chance that we have to meet know when we’re all starting out. That way we’ll know each other when we get the chance to work together someday. I’d like the faculty to know that what they’re doing is working. There are some entitled students in the program who like to blame their lack of success on the system. But that’s wrong. The program is designed so that when you have a success, you can confidently know that you achieved it. No one forced you into it or puppet-mastered you from behind. They’ve been doing this awhile, so they already know that. But I hope I can add one more voice to support that idea. I’m planning on taking my part of the prize money and diving it up among my teammates. Making something like this short is a multi-person process. Unfortunately, awards honor only one person. I wish everyone working on this project could have gotten an oscar. The least I can do is split up our grant money so that everyone else benefits from the great things the short is doing. Working these animated shorts isn’t like driving a bus — one person drives while everyone else just rides along. Making these shorts is like a Viking longship — every single person has to be rowing at full strength if we’re going to get anywhere. The director only steers.”
After the ceremony, the academy screened the gold winners in each category for the students. Kelly Loosli, who attended the awards ceremony, ran into several of his acquaintances, including Chris Buck, director of Frozen, as well as John (who directed Blues Brothers, Thriller, and An American Werewolf in London) and Deborah Landis (Top Film Costume Designer and Mary Farahnakian’s friend).
At the awards ceremony, Christian thanked all of his teachers at Stanford and BYU in his acceptance speech.
Below is Dan Clark and Wesley Tippetts acceptance speech after taking gold for their animation project, Owned.