Megan Sanborn Jones gave last week’s final Faith and Works lecture of the semester, about “The Power of the Perfect(able) Body.” She opened her lecture with a description of a Book of Mormon scene that had always confused her, the story of Ammon in the court of King Lamoni, which describes various people falling on the ground for fear, for joy, or for spiritual rebirth. This was especially intriguing to her as a Mormon scholar who studies performativity and the part the human body plays in the dynamic of acting and performance. She looked at these stories in the Book of Mormon with skepticism until she experienced the same thing herself, when her legs gave way from under her, on two very different and contrasting situations, caused by overwhelming emotions. Megan’s ability to bring threads from a range of her experiences and research into her faith practice brought all of us to a greater understanding of the significance and importance of spiritual experience, Mormon ritual, and a deeper appreciation for the stories in the Book of Mormon. We’re very lucky to have Megan in our department! Watch for the transcript of her lecture on the CFAC website, coming soon!
Well-known and critically acclaimed documentarian Nanfu Wang visited BYU last Tuesday, December 4th. She gave a lecture Tuesday evening in 2107 JKB to about 50 students about how she got into documentary film making. On Wednesday, she spoke to beginning production students about making their first feature film. She then fielded questions from students in the Documentary History and Theory class who had all watched Wang’s film, Hooligan Sparrow. Finally, she generously watched dailies and gave feedback to two documentary capstone projects. Nanfu is best known for the documentary Hooligan Sparrow, for which she worked under the scrutiny of secret police. The film paints a harrowing portrait of the oppression of Chinese dissidents. The documentary follows a Chinese artist-activist as she seeks justice for victims of a child sex bribery scandal. Filming secretly with a variety of hidden cameras and devices, Wang found herself followed, interrogated and constantly in fear of her work (and life) being destroyed. Born in a remote farming village in Jiangxi Province, Chinese-American filmmaker Wang seeks to illuminate lives normally hidden from the view of the West. Her works include a variety of photographs and short films, as well as the feature-length documentary, There Is No Time, which follows a homeless man in Florida over the course of a month. Recently, Sundance announced that one of her films, One Child Nation, will be shown at the festival this year.
One of our adjunct faculty members, Lisa Elzey, who also works for Ancestry.com, recently appeared on The View, a national talk show which films in New York at the ABC Broadcast Center. Lisa was the spokesperson for Ancestry for the three hosts, Joy Behar, Abby Huntsman, and Meghan McCain, and gave each host a summary of her ancestors’ migrations. In addition, each member of the audience received an Ancestry DNA kit.
Here’s the Youtube clip of her session of The View:
Margaret Lillian Swenson Woodbury, the wife of late BYU faculty member Dr. Lael J. Woodbury, passed away on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Margaret was a lover of the arts, in particular drama, in fact, she met her future husband while performing as the lead of the play “He Who Gets Slapped”. She served in different capacities throughout the Church, including Primary President, Relief Society President, Provo Temple Worker, and missionary when she served with her husband Lael in the New York South Mission. Visitations will be held from 6-8pm on December 12 at the Berg Mortuary of Provo and from 9-10:15am on December 13 at the Oaks Hills 7th Ward Chapel. The funeral services will be held 10:30am on December 13 also at the Oaks Hills 7th Ward Chapel. To read Margaret’s full obituary and for additional details about these services, click here.
Last week, BYU participated in the Utah Film Grad Program in Salt Lake City at the urging of Kyle Stapley. Our department submitted two films, “Gather,” directed by Howie Burbidge and “Dreamers,” directed by Catherine Santos Pearce. Two films from the U of U and two from UVU also played. Tom and Courtney Russell attended and felt our students’ films played very favorably. Tom observed that, “Both films were well received and the organizers were generous with their praise. Any one of our capstones were good enough to have screened at the event, but they have to select only two from each school due to the time constraint.” The films were juried by a panel active in the Utah film community and Howie Burbidge received the Jury Prize for best film. He received $500, a full access pass to Sundance for he and a guest, a meeting with a film industry professional, and a pass to the Utah Film Commission’s event at Sundance this year. Congratulations, Howie!
Also, congratulations are in order for media arts student Oscar Jimenez, who was one of the camera operators on Design faculty member Robert Machoian’s film, “The MINORS,” which was accepted into the shorts program at Sundance. The film is “A slice of life about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past.” For a list of the indie episodic, shorts and special events that have been accepted at Sundance, go to https://www.sundance.org/blogs/news/2019-sundance-film-festival-episodic-shorts-special-events (Incidentally, Oscar was also the DP on “Gather.”)