Last week’s Writers’ Conference was a huge success! This is the fourth biennial Writers’ Conference, which many thought was the best so far. The food was amazing and the guests and discussions were stimulating and inspiring. We are especially grateful for all the time and effort Tom and Courtney Russell put into conceptualizing and organizing these conferences. Things started off the evening of Wednesday, May 29, with registration at the Timpanogos Lodge. Sixty-seven participants attended, including eight media arts alums and other guests, in addition to most of our media arts faculty. The evening began with Wade Hollingshaus interviewing special guest Adam Miller, a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas. He is the author of eight books and directs the Mormon Theology Seminar. Afterwards, the group screened Train to Busan and participated in a discussion moderated by Darl Larsen and Tom Russell.
Thursday morning, May 30, had two hours of “Table Reads,” where a group of actors present a concert reading of short screenplays written by media arts students or alums. Conference participants then gave feedback and asked questions. After lunch, the group screened the first and second episodes of America To Me, followed by an interview and Q&A session with Steve James, moderated by Dean Duncan. One of the premier current documentarians, James’ Starz docuseries, America to Me, premiered at Sundance and is one of the most acclaimed TV shows of 2018. After dinner, the group screened Fail State, after which, a women’s panel composed of Virginia Pearce, Julia Glausi Woods, Caitlin Walton, and Whitney Call, presented. The panel was moderated by Kimball Maw Jensen and Courtney Russell.
Friday, May 31, also started off with Table Reads, again using short scripts written by media arts students or alums. Early afternoon included a presentation of a student podcast project, Radioland, given by Elena Bender and Sam Burton. After the podcast episode, there was a Q&A, moderated by Benjamin Thevenin. Late afternoon included a screening of A Quiet Place. After dinner, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, who wrote A Quiet Place, were interviewed by Jeff Parkin. After dinner, participants screened The Mosquito Coast, written by guest Paul Schrader.
Saturday, June 1, had students practicing their skills by pitching film ideas. After the pitches, legendary writer, Paul Schrader, spoke about his writing process. After Paul spoke and the group had lunch, First Reformed was screened, which was written and directed by Paul Schrader. After the screening, Dean Duncan moderated the interview. Much appreciation to Kyle Stapley and Grant Gomm who provided technical and logistical support for the conference, as well as our TMA front desk secretaries, Kaitlyn Powell, Becca Mcleod , and Brooklyn Parkinson, who assembled all the binders and name badges.
This past February, our own Benjamin Thevenin visited the Topaz War Relocation Site with his Space, Place & Media Arts Course (TMA 477). The class was accompanied by photographer Alyssa Lyman from the CFAC external relations office, who shared her experiences visiting the site on the CFAC website. Alyssa said she “was both amazed and shocked by what I saw,” but also “grateful that we have documentation of it to remind us of these events and prevent things like this from happening in the future.” In fact, we know so much about the Topaz Camp because prisoner Dave Tatsuno smuggled a camera into the camp, eventually making a documentary that the Library of Congress views as “culturally significant.” You can find more photos that Alyssa took of the Topaz War Relocation Site here. In addition to Topaz, TMA 477 went to the Salt Flats, Arches, and Monument Valley to study media and art in relation to place. This June, Benjamin, along with three students from the class, Sam Burton, Cristin Lunt, and Elias Gold, are attending the NAMLE Conference in Washington DC and presenting a workshop based on their experience in class.
Photography major Alyssa Lyman accompanied media arts students on a trip to the Topaz War Relocation Site. (Alyssa Lyman)
Inside the Topaz Museum in Delta, Utah. (Alyssa Lyman)
Inside the Topaz Museum in Delta, Utah. (Alyssa Lyman)
Two weeks ago was the most anticipated part of the London Theatre Study Abroad (LSA): travel week! They spent Monday together exploring the Tower of London, then scattered across Europe. LSA had groups in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Poland, Italy, France, Spain and England! Highlights of the various trips: staying on a farm, visiting Holocaust memorials, climbing the Eiffel tower and eating delicious food. Now that they’re back together, they can’t wait to dive back into all the theatre that London has to offer!
Once again, we would like to thank Brittany Vance, the LSA Theatre TA and our coordinator, for writing this article.
Two students having fun with the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The Eiffel Tower; what could be more French?
Our own Professor Megan Sanborn-Jones with her family seeing the sights in Spain.
More news from the LSA, courtesy of Brittany Vance. This week was green, green, green! LSA started their adventures in London’s sprawling Kew Gardens before venturing out on our second excursion to the countryside. Between marveling at Stonehenge, wandering the ancient streets of Bath, and exploring Stourhead, they enjoyed the great weather and clear country air. If you think they were too busy to enjoy theatre, fear not! LSA enjoyed three plays together last week–In the Willows, Henry V and Class–and they can’t wait to watch more!
Professor Sanborn-Jones and students at the beautiful Kew Gardens.
Our students at the legendary Stonehenge.
LSA students at the historic city of Bath.