Newsletter 2014

2014 Film Studies Program Annual Update

Georg Koszulinski is currently in post-production on a feature-length documentary that focuses on Vodou practices in rural Haiti, titled Loa: the Sacred Spirits of Haiti. The final film in his trilogy of Florida docs, Last Stop, Flamingo, continues to make the festival rounds, winning Best Documentary at the 26th annual U.S. Super 8 Film & Video Festival and Best Feature Film at the 8th annual Indie Grits Film Festival. His feature doc about a combat marine turned peace activist, Scott Camil Will Not Die, won the Audience Choice Award at the 5th annual Cinema Verde Environmental Film and Arts Festival. His recent experimental film and video works were programmed at a number of festivals and art spaces this past year including The International Experimental Cinema Exposition's Alternative Measures Film Festival, ICDOCS, Artist Television Access' Other Cinema film series, and Dallas VideoFest 27—the longest running video festival in North America. This past spring, The Journal of Short Film released Georg’s 16mm collage film, Message from my Centenarian, through its quarterly DVD anthology. 

Highlights:  Film Studies graduated 23 students this winter and spring, its largest class. We ended the year with the same number of majors (84) as last year, and ten minors.. Film Studies faculty taught five UCOR classes, most in UCOR1300 Visual Storytelling.

Film Courses:  History of Film, Horror Films, International Women Directors, Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Art of Film, Cult Films, Political Cinema, Films of the Other Europe, Director: Kubrick, Disney, Gangster Films, Russian/Soviet Cinema, German Cinema, Filmmaking I and II, Documentary Filmmaking, Narrative Filmmaking, Screenwriting, Producing, and the Film Careers Workshop, and also UCOR1300 and UCOR 1440.

Film Studies Faculty:   Justine Barda, Sandy Cioffi, Catherine Clepper, Robert Cumbow, Georg Koszulinski, Lyall Bush, Michael Attie, Robert Horton, Gretchen Burger, Bill Taylor, Andrea McDowell, Cordula Brown, and John Comerford.

Majors & Minors:  In the fall, we expect nine returning seniors and twenty-one new seniors, sixteen juniors, and fifteen sophomores, for a total of 61students.

Events:  Irish Documentary Screening and discussion with the director; Richard Meyer’s presentation and film, “Wang Renmei: the Wildcat of Shanghai”; participation in Seattle University Film Festival in April; screenings of student work at the end of all the program’s filmmaking classes.

Sponsorships:  Film Studies continues to support, and market itself through, both the Seattle International Film Festival and NW Film Forum.

Gates Foundation Grant:  Mike Attie and Edwin Weihe originated the successful homelessness grant which resulted, though the project leadership of Lindy Boustedt, in the production of four short animated films providing education about the issue and promoting engagement. The films were screened at the Harvard Exit and in Pigott Auditorium.

Looking  Ahead:  Film Studies has developed a 5-Year Plan.  We are hiring a full-time, non-TT lecturer in Film Studies for one year, 2014-15, and we will conduct a search and hire in Fall and Winter for a 3-YR non-TT instructor, a cinema scholar. In the Fall, Film Studies (possibly together with Photography) will propose a new M.F.A. in Social Documentary, and also a new media arts teaching/learning facility, primarily to serve Film Studies’ BA and the new MFA. Film Studies will also conduct its first Program Review.

Forthcoming Courses in 2015:  History of Film, Westerns, Greater Middle Eastern Films, Women in Cinema, Director: Malick, Art of Film, Film Noir, Italian Cinema, Director: Hitchcock, Scifi, Intro to International Cinema, Conceptions of the Primitive, Director: Godard, Filmmaking I and II, Screenwriting, Producing, Documentary Filmmaking, Narrative Filmmaking, Film Careers Workshop, three new 300-400 critical studies courses, and seven Film Studies faculty taught UCOR classes, including UCOR1440 courses in Americans Abroad in Film and Film and Surveillance. We will also offer Film Studies Honors for the first time.

UCOR Capstone:  Film Studies’ capstone project, which includes a reflective essay and a portfolio of written and film work, will be embedded in all 400-level film classes and reviewed by the FS Curriculum Committee.

Film Studies Faculty and Student News and Notes 2013-2014

Lars Berg Andersen produced his first short film together with fellow SU film student Lael Rogers. They started pre-production on “Collision” fall quarter, launched a fundraiser campaign right over new years, completed casting in January, and wrapped in early April. The majority of the film was shot in Home, WA where professionals filled key positions on the set while working alongside SU film students. The film is currently in post-production.  Lars also worked on local productions including the web-series “Rocketmen”, the feature film “The Architect” starring Parker Posey and Eric McCormack, and he also produced a Rolo commercial directed by Peter Edlund for entry in the 2014 Cannes MOFILM competition. The commercial is currently shortlisted.  Together with James Cashman, Lars created promotional material for SU Admissions including projects such as "Redhawk Rob" and a series of promo videos titled “Transitions,” in which they followed two freshmen students through the ups and downs of their first year in college. The series will be released later this year.  Lars will be graduating in June with a Bachelors in Film Studies, and will be working as a set production assistant on a feature film produced in Washington this summer.

The following films by SU students have been playing locally:

TAG  by Lars Berg Anderson 

BACK TO THE ABYSS by Peter Edlund, Megan Leonard, Rachel Klein

and FALLEN GIANTS by Ben Anderson.

Mike Attie was a recipient of the 2013 Fall Sundance Documentary Film Program Grant (www.sundance.org).  His film IN COUNTRY, a documentary about Vietnam reenactments in Oregon, was named as one of the top five films at HotDocs (http://www.pbs.org/pov/blog/docsoup/2014/05/top-5-films-from-hot-docs-2014/#.U2gzo61dVjJ) and has received numerous reviews, including one on the PBS Newshour (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/reliving-vietnam-war-woods-oregon/).  Additionally, Mike has been named one of The Independent magazine’s '10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014'(http://independent-magazine.org/magazine/2014/05/in_country_mike_attie_meghan_ohara_lindsay_utz_10-to-watch-2014).

In addition to teaching Film and Media Studies at SU, Catherine Clepper welcomed daughter Dorothy June in April 2014.  Best wishes to the whole Clepper family during this exciting time!

Justine Barda founded Telescope, a digital distribution company sourcing foreign film content for a variety of platforms in North America.  She consults on the acquisition, programming, and marketing of foreign and independent film, and is co-curating the launch of the French subgenre on Hulu. 

In addition to teaching and freelance editing, Gretchen Burger has been collaborating with Sandy Cioffi on several art projects.  This spring they launched an interactive, multi-media project, "Hacking Love," which explores the visual language of love as informed by the four Greek Loves: agape, storge, philia, and eros.  The first incarnation of the project, "Hacking Love: Apage", was installed for the month of April at SugarPIll on Capitol Hill.  This is Gretchen’s fourth year serving on the Seattle Documentary Association (SeaDoc) steering committee and organizing events and activities for the regional documentary community.  A highlight from last fall was co-hosting an event with the Sundance Institute's Film Forward program.  Looking ahead to this fall, SeaDoc is working with KCTS and the NWFF to host a documentary pitch forum in October.

During Winter Quarter 2014, adjunct film professor Robert C. Cumbow was honored to appear in two student films—one as himself, one as the voice of Shakespeare. His short article on Vampire’s Kiss—a film included in his Vampire Films course in 2013—will be published the weekend of June 6 on Slant Magazine as part of “Summer of ’89”, the latest installment in Slant’s annual look-back at the summer films of 25 years earlier, to which Bob’s contributed over the past six years. Bob is scheduled to teach a six-class course, “The 21st Century Western,” at Northwest Film Forum July 1-August 5.

Brian Cunningham interned for the Film and Family Homelessness Project, worked for a short period of time as 1st AC on Shaun Scott's feature Pacific Aggression and was a production assistant on SIFF's membership ad. He was cinematographer for a short titled Out of Print, which won first place and the audience award at SUFF and was an official selection at Seattle True Independent Film Festival. Brian is headed for Argentina on a two-month fellowship.

OUT OF PRINT, a film that Brian, Daniel Schiff, Cristina Vasquez de Mercado, and Christopher Schaap made this year won best film and audience award at SUFF and was screened at STIFF. 

Olivia Ghersen is currently interning in Special Events for the Seattle International Film Festival, where she was in charge of putting together the VIP Red Carpet Swag Bag for Opening Night. She procured about 50 items to place in the bags, and handed them out to over 400 VIP Guests. Olivia is currently in the final round of interviews for the highly competitive NBC Page Program, and will soon be flying to New York to interview in person. This program will give her to opportunity to work on shows such as "The Today Show", "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon", and "Saturday Night Live", as well as give tours to tourists visiting NBC Studios. After graduation, Olivia plans on either moving to Los Angeles to be a production assistant for "The Dr. Phil Show" or moving to New York City to take part in the year-long NBC Page Program.

Robert Horton's book Frankenstein was published in February by Columbia University Press. Other activities of the past year include teaching in the summer program of the Architectural Association in London, traveling around the state as a Humanities Washington speaker, and continuing to curate the Magic Lantern film program at the Frye Art Museum. While no longer associated with KUOW radio, he has launched a podcast with KUOW host Steve Scher, which lives at theoverlookpodcast.com.

Georg Koszulinski is currently in post-production on a feature-length documentary that focuses on Vodou practices in rural Haiti. The final film in his trilogy of Florida docs, Last Stop, Flamingo, has been making the festival rounds, recently winning Best Documentary at the 26th annual U.S. Super 8 Film & Video Festival and Best Feature Film at the 8th annual Indie Grits Film Festival. His feature doc about a combat marine turned peace activist, Scott Camil Will Not Die, recently won the Audience Choice Award at the 5th annual Cinema Verde Environmental Film and Arts Festival. His recent experimental film and video works were programmed at a number of festivals and art spaces this year including The International Experimental Cinema Exposition's Alternative Measures Film Festival, ICDOCS, and Artist Television Access' Other Cinema film series. His 16mm collage film, Message from my Centenarian, was released in Vol. 31 of The Journal of Short Film's quarterly DVD anthology.

Sean McDowell co-directed the Film Studies Program with Bill Taylor while Edwin Weihe was on sabbatical.  In March, he presented a paper at the Renaissance Society of America Conference in New York.  He also has been named the Program Chair for the South-Central Renaissance Conference and was the recipient of a Catholic Thought and Culture grant here at SU.  In addition, he oversaw Haley Weit’s  internship with SU Athletics and her documentary film project on the efforts of the non-profit It Takes a Village to support education in Ghana through an American student exchange program.  He also mentored Cat Jimenez during an independent study focused on creating a teleplay pilot for a series.

Richie Meyer is making a film in Italy about the discovery of a lost silent film after the earthquake in Ferrara.  He also published his third book about Chinese silent films, Wang Renmei: The Wildcat of Shanghi.

Alex Mullen created a 30-minute documentary on the Film Studies Program for the consultants at the Writing Center.  The film focuses on the philosophy of behind assignment design in the program and features segments of interviews (in order of appearance) Sean McDowell, Robert Horton, Catherine Clepper, Robert Cumbow, and Bill Taylor.

Former SU Students John Ned, Dalyce Lazaris, Sawyer Purman, and Ben Anderson won at NW College Film Festival Awards:  http://www.shoreline.edu/m/dramavideo/nw-college-film-festival.aspx.

Lael Rogers worked as an in-house editor over the summer at Lucid Reverie in Juneau, Alaska and assisted in running their local film festival. Throughout the year, Lael worked on the film crews for Color TV No VacancyThe New WestRocketmen, and The Architect, as well as on various commercial and corporate shoots for organizations and companies such as Seattle Children's Hospital, Treehouse, and ROLO.  With fellow film students Lars Andersen and James Cashman, Lael wrote and directed her senior synthesis film, COLLISION, which features the acting of student Sam Hobson and Seattle actor Tony Doupé, and incorporates the talents of both Seattle University students and alumni along with individuals from the Seattle film industry.  Finally, footage that Lael filmed for the Seattle Children Hospital's Kelly Clarkson lip-sync video "Stronger" was sampled in Microsoft's 2014 Superbowl technology advertisement "Empowerment." Lael is currently an equipment intern at the Northwest Film Forum.

In addition to teaching his popular “Art of Film” course, Bill Taylor co-directed the Film Studies Program with Sean McDowell while Edwin Weihe was on sabbaticalIn this capacity, he assisted students with study abroad planning, course scheduling and the promulgation of course descriptions.  He also served as the faculty mentor for the year-long filmmaking project of Lars Anderson and Lael Rogers and oversaw the internships of Kaitlin Kolke, Cory Rodriguez, Ben Porter, and Lauren Henderson

Haley Weit completed a documentary film project on the efforts of the non-profit It Takes a Village to support education in Ghana through an American student exchange program.  This series of short documentaries were used by ITV as part of their ongoing fundraising efforts. Haley also has worked on an internship with the SU Athletics Department. 

Christopher Schaap co-wrote and produced Out of Print, ​which went on to win First Place and the Audience Choice Award at SUFF, as well as play at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival. He is graduating this June magna cum laude with a BA in Film Studies. This summer he will be interning in Woodinville on Matt Ross's film Captain Fantastic

James Cashman completed in the fall a short documentary entitled "Welcome Home" about the history of Home, WA in the Advanced Documentary class. He also collaborated with Lars Andersen and Lael Rogers in the development and production of Seattle University Film Studies first student thesis film "Collision". The project is in post production with an expected release sometime this fall. James's work as 1st AC with local Seattle Director Shaun Scott on his fourth feature "Pacific Aggression" was selected and screened this spring at the 2014 Seattle True Independent Film Festival. He continues his work as a media producer in the Seattle U Admissions Office and in the Fall, James will be studying film production at the Film and Television School of Academy of Performing Arts Prague in the Czech Republic. 

Kaitlin Kolke interned at Calvary Community Church in Sumner, Wa. Their website is cccsumner.org.  Though the internship period is over, she still volunteers there. Kaitlin is also volunteering for World Vision’s video production team by preparing video and audio clips for editing (labeling, organizing, etc.)

Daniel Schiff ​took part in interning for the Film and Family Homelessness Project that was screened at STIFF. Daniel also directed a short film called Out Of Print that won first place as well as the popularity award at SUFF. This film was also a official selection of STIFF.