Department News (9-2-14)

Brad Barber had a very productive summer.  He shot four episodes of his States of America documentary series: Iowa (co-directed with wife Susan), New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  With TMA alumni Stephen Nelson and Laura Smith filming in Nevada last weekend, this brings the total they’ve shot up to twenty!  (Only thirty more to go…)  He also shot a documentary about Ultra Violet in New York City with Eric Gilletteand Mark Graham from DVA.  The three of them attended the funeral of Ultra Violet (Mark spoke at it), and filmed some more.  Brad says, “It was sad, but also a pretty amazing Mormon funeral.”  Finally, he was able to wrap up production on the feature documentaryPeace Officer with a shoot in Washington DC. Brad went solo on this one and interviewedKara Dansky of the ACLU who just authored a major report on the militarization of police.  Brad notes that, “A few days after getting back, the tragic events took place in Ferguson, Missouri  and we’re seeing Kara and others that have appeared in our film all over the national media, which is a little surreal.”

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One of the documentary films shown in last spring’s Final Cut Film Festival, Ghosts on the Mountain, has been chosen as one of the award winners for this year’s Heartland Film Festival.  The documentary film interviews sheepherders, men who spend much of their time in rural settings, away from family and friends.  The festival will fly out directorJared Jenkins for the festival in October to receive a Crystal Heart and to attend various festival events.  The film is also in the running to win two additional awards, one for a student award, and the other for the grand prize for the short documentary film.  Heartland Film is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1991 with the mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film.  Heartland Film is a curator and supporter of purposeful filmmaking, honoring a wide variety of cinema and awarding storytellers from all over the world.  Last year, there were 1,521 films submitted to the festival.

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Check out the article on the college website this week about TMA student Hannah Kroff: Designing Sets of Theatre and Film:  https://cfac.byu.edu/2014/08/08/hannah-kroff-designing-sets-for-theatre-and-film/Propshophorizontal-9b8f9d08fd61ed6226e64976caad4894-670x300-9-crop (1)

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Many of our TMA faculty attended conferences during the months of July and August. Five faculty members, Wade Hollingshaus, Megan Sanborn Jones, Lindsay Livingston,George Nelson, and Rodger Sorensen, attended the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) this past month in Scottsdale, AZ.  Here is a short summary of what each person was able to contribute.
  • Wade Hollingshaus organized and led panel of papers. The panel was titled, “Thinking, Learning, Dreaming: Performance Philosophy Pedagogy.”
  • Megan Sanborn Jones started her responsibilities as the incoming Focus Group Representative of Religion and Theatre by facilitating a conversation about how we might want to rename our focus group.  She also facilitated a number of larger conversations with the ATHE membership about strategic planning.
  • George Nelson participated in the New Play Development Workshop throughout the conference as an actor and originated the role of Levis in Fonzie Geary’s new play The Last Parnassus for a staged reading on July 27th.
  • Rodger Sorensen worked with Judith Royer and mentored TMA graduate student Haley Flanders in administrating the New Play Development Workshop.

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If any of you attended the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival on Saturday at the Provo Canyon Park, you may have seen the giant puppet for The Selfish Giant repurposed for the festival.
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A local film festival, the Underfunded Film Festival will take place this Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Provo Library.  The festival, which is held in Utah each September, promotes independent, high quality yet low-budget films.  One of the finalists in the festival is Nick Dixon’s “Without a Rope.”  For a list of all the finalists as well as the screening schedule, go to http://www.uffest.com/.
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