Department News (10-27-14)

Alison Belnap, a theatre alumna of both our TAS and Graduate program and an adjunct faculty member for 10 years, was featured on the front page of The Universe last week. Alison, whose husband Dean is the HFAC Building Co-ordinator, then went to BYU Law School and graduated in 2011 and is now the assistant dean there.  The article was part of the #Remarkable WomenAtBYU series and can be accessed at

alison Belnap


From University Communications, Production Awards for Media Arts Students: Congratulations to BYU Media Arts Students who were awarded three Student Production Awards fro the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which also award the Emmys:
  • College/University Student Production — Long Form:  Fiction/Non-Fiction:  Without a Rope, Nick Dixon and Willem Kampenhout
  • College/University Student Production – Director:  Your Cocoon and You, Dallin Cerva
  • College/University Student Writer:  Nick Dixon
BYU Broadcasting also received 13 Emmys.  To read about those awards, go to;-Awards.aspx


The top story of BYU’s The Universe is “Film on LGBT Mormons to Screen at BYU,” with well over 1,340 likes.  Scott Raia’s film, “Pride and Faith,” did screen twice last week, once at the media arts forum, and once at a screening on Friday night.  The media arts forum on Thursday in F-201 was completely full.  Students watched the film and then a panel fielded questions from the audience.  The panel included Brad Barber (Scott’s faculty mentor), Bobbie Lee, Nate Christofferson, Scott Raia, and Benjamin Thevenin.  The Friday night screening also played to a full audience, with a lengthy Q&A with the crew afterwards moderated by Brad.  From The Universe Article: ” The documentary, written and directed by BYU alumnus Scott Raia, explores the complex lives of  two LGBT students as they reconcile their identity and faith.  Raia filmed “Pride and Faith” during his senior year for his capstone project as a film student.”  To read more, go to


 Last week, the theatre department at Central Washington University, in Ellensburg, WA, invited Wade Hollingshaus to visit and lecture on a topic from his book, Philosophizing Rock Performance: Dylan, Hendrix, Bowie (Scarecrow Press, 2013). Wade’s lecture, “A Political Bowie,” was about David Bowie’s artistic eclecticism and the democracy inherent in it.  Wade enjoyed the trip and the great turn out and support from the faculty and students at CWU.


Christian Jensen is on the short list for the Oscar nominations in documentary. 3-5 official Oscar nominations for this category will be announced from this short list on January 15. To read more, for to
In last Thursday’s theatre forum, Megan Sanborn Jones led a discussion about how to judge art.  It was a vibrant conversation where everyone talked about what we mean by “good” theatre and “bad” theatre.  Students suggested that there are three categories of “good” that function independently of one another:  narrative (the story being told or the script), aesthetics (the quality of the acting/directing/design/marketing, etc.), and ethics (personal standards or morals).  We talked about how to engage with critical generosity when encountering theatre.  We read the Lord’s standards for judgement in Moroni 7:15-18.  Finally, Megan left the students with three suggestions for how to encounter all theatre, good or bad (adapted from Kirster Stehndahl’s three rules of religious understanding):  1)  think from the position of the practitioners rather than the critics.  2)  Don’t compare your best to their worst.  3)  Leave room for “holy envy,” or the ability to find something in the production that you admire and that you could incorporate into your own practice.


Love Struck, a “super” capstone project directed by Gary Groth and produced by Lauren Laws, is currently in post-production.  The project began preproduction over a year ago and filmed last November, 2013.  The story is about a young man named Noah (played by Jacob Swain) who arrives in Knawkemoutville, a small town where everyone boxes.  Noah strives to tell optimistic stories filled with love and hope to these brutal citizens of Knawkemoutville. When he realizes that his dreams don’t sell, he must decide for himself whether to sell out or keep on keepin’ on, even if it only affects one person. The film was able to get funding from the Laycock Center and the TMA Fulton Endowment.  The ambitious project, which will end up being about 50 minutes long and is a musical, boasted a cast and crew of over 200 people, including students from all over the HFAC. Behind the camera, the project, which was mentored by Jeff Parkin, included dozens of media arts students.  Gary and his editor, Jordan Hunter, recently reached picture lock. The project is now going through color correction, visual effects, sound mixing, and musical composition The crew plans on premiering the film sometime in February/March 2015. To view photos, visit


TMA and DVA Business Manager, Thaylene Rogers, was featured in the Marriott School of Management’s Alumni Magazine, Fall issue. Thaylene is pursuing an Executive MBA, which she will complete in April 2015. From the article,  “In her current position Rogers enjoys seeing art, theatre, and film projects go from a list of purchases to a finished product.”  To read the complete article, go to and turn to page 44.


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