Department News (12-14-15)

Mitch Davis’s new film Christmas Eve opened nationally on Dec. 4.  At the end of November, the film had an advance screening in the Varsity where Jeff Parkin moderated the Q&A with Mitch and the audience.  (Jeff and Mitch both attended USC at the same time and ended up in a directing class together.)  Mitch’s son Christian scored the film. Christian minored in media arts here at BYU and is a successful film composer in LA.  Mitch’s sons Marshal and Parker are currently in the media arts program. Marshal did editing, visual effects and color correction on the film.  Parker has a small role in the film and worked as a PA on location in Bulgaria.   Christmas Eve is the dramatic, comedic story of six different groups of New Yorkers who get stuck inside elevators overnight onChristmas Eve. With nowhere to go and no one to interact with but each other, all of them are transformed by the events of their long night together.  The cast includes Patrick Stewart, Jon Heder, Shawn King, James Roday, and Jennie Oaks Baker.  BYU News recently did an article on the film, which used many BYU alums.   For more about the film, go to


Last Friday, Dec. 11, at the Megaplex theaters in Vineyard,  Dean Duncan, Darl Larsen,and Tom Russell attended an advance premiere of Jared and Jerusha Hess’snew film, Don Verdean.  Many people who worked on the film also attended the screening, including the designers, the first AD, the producers, and Jared and Jerusha.  After the screening, our own Tom Russell moderated the Q&A.  The audience asked about Jared and Jerusha’s creative process, the main character development, and where Jamaine’s accent came from (You’ll have to see the film to appreciate this!).  Jaredand Jerusha were able to get top tier actors by careful scheduling of the production shoot.  This helped require that this actors only be on location for 3-4 days at a time, which they could schedule in between other projects.  Plot outline:  Hired by an ambitious small-town pastor to find sacred relics in the Holy Land, a self-proclaimed Biblical archaeologist comes up short and his attempt to cover up his failure fuels a comic conspiracy from the filmmaking team behind Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre.  DON VERBENA stars Sam Rockwell, Amy RyanJermaine Clement, Leslie Bibb,with Will Forte, and Danny McBride.


Media Arts student Willem Kampenhout submitted his film, The Surface, to the Other Worlds Austin Film Festival, and it won Best Emerging Director (Willem Kampenhout) and Best Emerging Production Design (Ashley Cook). Congratulations!


Doug Fabrizio invited Darl Larsen back to his show to talk about Star Wars this Thursday, December 17.


Our front desk secretary, Lindsay Larsen, is graduating from the nursing program this semester and will be leaving the TMA office after working here for three and a half years! She will be working in the Neuro Shock Trauma ICU at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Thank you for all you have done for our office, Lindsay. We will miss you!

Lindsey Larsen (1)

Dennis Wright will be interviewing for the faculty vacancy in Design and Technology on Jan. 11-13.  Watch for more details of his schedule next year.  Dennis is the Campus Department Chair for Design programs at Sanford-Brown, Las Vegas. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Clothing & Textiles with a minor in Theatre Arts. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Boston University in Theatrical Costume Design. Wright has worked extensively in both retail and entertainment industries. He worked as a manager and visual merchandiser for J. Riggings Menswear and Michael’s Craft Stores. Wright has designed costumes for productions at Pioneer Theater Company, Jackson Hole Playhouse, American Reparatory Theatre, and The Barn Theater. He spent 10 years as a costumer, costume designer, and project manager with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. While there, he designed character costumes, attraction uniforms, and contributed to multiple live stage productions. He also managed uniform production for several large-scale Disney resorts. He is currently designing children’s wear as Associate Designer for Persnickety Clothing Company. Wright has worked for Sanford-Brown (formerly IADT) for 9 years, starting as an adjunct instructor at the Orlando campus in 2005. After becoming a full-time instructor he moved to the Las Vegas campus in 2009. He became Department Chair in 2013 overseeing programs in Fashion Design & Merchandising, Game Production, and Graphic Design. He teaches courses in Fashion Sketching, Fashion Design, Fashion History, Consumer Behavior, Visual Merchandising, and Portfolio Presentation. Wright is married to Kimberly (Walker) and they have four children.

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