Department News (3-28-16)

The BYU Men’s Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra released Baba Yetu featuring Alex Boyé. The music video was directed by Jeff Parkin and has received  over 98,000 views around the world in the last few days. At least 15 Media Arts student were mentored on this project. Below are the names of the media arts students and alums that helped with the video.

Director of Photography: Daniel Kellis – MA student
Producer: Melody Shuss – MA Alumnus
1st A.D./Assoc. Producer: Willem Kampenhout – MA Alumnus
Drone Pilot: Jason Hatfield – MA Alumnus  
Camera Operators: Daniel Kellis, Michael GordonHowie Burbidge
Assistant Camera: Lauren Vanderwerken, Marshal Davis
Sound Design: Kyle Sawyer – MA Alumnus
Visual Effects:  Aaron Hinton – MA student
Colorist: Jessica Bryant – MA Student

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About 250 alums from the BFA Acting program including friends and supporters of the program attended the BFA reunion this past weekend.  Spearheaded by Stephanie Breinholt, the reunion kicked off on Friday March 25 with classroom workshops and discussions including a presentation and discussion with Ben Hoppe (BFA 1998), the Creative Director of Disney Character Voices; a bringing together alumni and current students for a discussion about life after the BFA led by Slate Holmgren (BFA 2007); Jjanna Valentiner (BFA 2000) led a Lecoq Movement workshop; and Jennie Pardoe (BFA 2010) led a discussion to help students understand their graduate school options after they complete their undergraduate degrees.  Our current BFA students conducted tours of the HFAC on Friday afternoon.  Afterwards, there was a meet and greet with alums and current students, and many in the group attended Mother Courage that evening, directed by David Morgan, and featuring Barta Heiner in the title role.  After the show, there was a wonderful post-show discussion and reception.  On Saturday, alums, students, faculty and professional colleagues attended the BFA retrospective at the Hinckley Center where both Mary Farahnakian and Barta Heiner were recognized for their careers and contributions here at BYU.   (Barta, consummate professional that she is, exited with,  “I’m going to be late for my call time!!”)  There were contingencies of alums from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s; Stephanie described the whole weekend as “an amazing success:  Connections were formed and strengthened.  Friendships were renewed.  Plans are already being made for the next BFA/TMA reunion experience.”Stephanie described the whole weekend as one huge “high” with so many alums renewing connections and reaching out so generously to our BFA students.

Also, The Daily Herald wrote and in-depth feature story on Barta Heiner that talks her role in the BFA Acting program, her role in Mother Courage and Her Children, and her take on Mormon-produced art. “(For) a lot of my fellow actors that do not have a religion, theater is their religion,” Heiner said, “because it’s where they truly have emotional connections, and truly have, they glean great understanding of things,” she said. Click here to read the article. Barta also talked a little about her experience with Once I was a Beehive, directed by Maclain Nelson and his wife, Clare Niederpruem, which recently received a positive review on The Blaze. Click here to read it.

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The Night at the HFAC, an evening sponsored by the CFAC Student Advisory Council, took place last Friday between 9:30 pm and 1 am.  Several performances were contributed by TMA, including performances of the Young Company’s 12th Night directed by Megan Sanborn Jones and Scott Savage’s mask club, The King and the Magician, both in the Nelke theatre. Kyle Stapley compiled some of the best of the Final Cut Film Festival, which played in F-201.  Included in this program were Willem Kampenhout’s“The Surface” and Hunter Phillips’ “That Old Familiar Spirit.”  Students could watch animations from the Animation program on the wall in the BF Larsen gallery and take a tour of the animation studios.  MDT students performed in the de Jong, and Divine Comedy also entertained students for a brief performance in E-400.  Divine Comedy had wanted a smaller space so they could work off the audience better, but the demand was so high that over 400 people were trying to get into the room to see them. Rebecca Devonas, who coordinated the event, said that every  venue was packed and that the event was a “smashing success.” Thanks to all those in our department who contributed to this fun event!

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Media Arts alum Sam Reimer has been accepted into nine grad programs (in the UK, Canada, and the US), and decided to go with University of Toronto studying critical film studies, where he has a full-ride scholarship.

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Last Friday, the second annual StorySlam pitting BYU, UVU storytelling students and Speak For Yourself creative writing group members in competition was held at Enliten Cafe in Provo. With a strict time limit of 5 min. and a theme of “Stroke of Luck ” over 20 tellers told polished gems ranging from childhood memories to breakups, dealing with bullies, Jedi mind tricks and accidents gone right. This year’s winner of the first place chocolate cake was Devin Willey of SFYS, with UVU and BYU tied for second place. Congrats go to Jonathan Axell current member of TMA 257, and all the BYU TMA students who represented! Teresa Love is the instructor for BYU’s storytelling class, TMA 252.

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Julia Ashworth, Rebeca Wallin, John Newman from UVU, and Alexis Truitt joined forces to host a Utah State Theatre in our Schools (TIOS) mini-conference last Thursday and Friday, hosted at BYU.   The conference is gathering of theatre artists and educators who are dedicated to exploring ways to embrace inclusive theatre, “theatre which is accessible for anyone, and not limited by physical ability, language or background.  Includside theatre is about what an individual can bring to the creative process, celebrating differences and pushing the boundaries on limitations and abilities.”  Last weekend, TIOS performed all three plays of Suzan Zeder’s Ware Trilogy within a 24-hour period.  In addition, they were privileged to have Suzan Zeder, the author of the trilogy here as well.   UVU performed a staged reading of the first play of the series, Mother Hicks, directed by John Newmanon Friday afternoon;  Taste of Sunrise was performed Friday evening, and then the final play, The Edge of Peace, was performed Saturday morning.  The conference also included Suzan Zeder as the keynote speaker and an ASL story slam with members of the local deaf community.  Two workshop presenters, Victoria Brown and Cheryl Lundquist presented workshops on Friday for our theatre students and again on Saturday morning for the conference.  Cheryl and Victoria’s sessions during the conference were also on the topic of inclusive theater. They are both associated with Gallaudet University in DC, which is the premiere university in the States for deaf and hard of hearing students.  Sixty people attended the conference, about 35 of those were BYU students.  For a link to the program of the conference, go here. (link to first attachment).  Photos attached- my favorite is of Julia with the two guests.
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