Arts + Culture

UCLA film festival spotlights student work, honors Shane Acker, Ben Affleck, others

The 22nd annual festival runs June 7-13 at UCLA and other L.A. sites

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"Jaya," by Puja Maewal (June 13, Directors Spotlight). More trailers: http://ucla.in/1aIICCr.
 
The 22nd annual UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Film Festival celebrates outstanding achievements by the school's students and honors several of the entertainment industry's leading players.
 
The festival, which runs from Friday, June 7, through Thursday, June 13, at venues on the Westwood campus and other sites in Los Angeles, will feature a wide variety of screenings, showcases and events, including an all-new TV Night, where students will unveil a first-of-its kind television pilot created under the guidance of industry veterans. (For a full festival schedule, see below.)
 
Festival honors kick off Saturday, June 8, when Academy Award nominee and TFT alumnus Shane Acker receives the Crystal Anvil Award during the Festival of Animation at UCLA's James Bridges Theater. Acker, whose first feature-length animated production, "9," was based on his TFT thesis film and Oscar-nominated short of the same name, will next direct Reel FX's animated feature "Beasts of Burden," based on the Dark Horse comic.
 
Two-time Academy Award winner Ben Affleck will collect the Filmmaker of the Year Award during the June 13 Directors Spotlight event at the Directors Guild of America Theater, which showcases 10 student films chosen by TFT students and a jury of industry professionals. In February, "Argo," which Affleck directed, produced and starred in, was honored with the Academy Award for best picture. He received his first Oscar in 1997 for the original screenplay "Good Will Hunting," co-written with Matt Damon. Affleck made his directorial debut in 2007 with "Gone Baby Gone," followed by "The Town" in 2010. As an actor, he has appeared in nearly 40 films, including "Armageddon," "Shakespeare in Love" and "Pearl Harbor."
 
Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura will receive the TFT–PGA Vision Award at the June 11 Producers Marketplace at the Skirball Cultural Center, where four graduate students from the TFT Producers Program will present their projects in five-minute concept pitches to industry judges. Di Bonaventura began his career as an executive at Warner Bros., where he was instrumental in bringing "The Matrix" and the rights to J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books to the studio. After forming his own production company, he produced such high-octane films as "Transformers" and its sequels, the "G.I. Joe" franchise, and "Red." Di Bonaventura's latest film, "Jack Ryan," starring Chris Pine and Kevin Costner, will be released in December.
 
Academy Award–nominated screenwriter David Magee will be honored with the Excellence in Screenwriting Award at the June 10 Screenwriters Showcase at the Writers Guild Theater, where eight student scripts selected by a committee of 215 industry professionals will be previewed in five-minute staged excerpts. Earlier this year, Magee was nominated for an Oscar for his adapted screenplay for Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," based on the acclaimed book by Yann Martel. Magee was previously nominated for his adapted screenplay "Finding Neverland," and he co-wrote "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" with Simon Beaufoy.
 
UCLA TFT Film Festival events:
 
Opening Night
Friday, June 7
7:30 p.m.
UCLA's James Bridges Theater
 
The opening event will feature nearly a dozen graduate and undergraduate student films, both live-action and animation. Each film has been selected by a panel of student peers, and the lineup represents some of the most original and thought-provoking work the school has to offer. (more)
 
 
Festival of Animation
Saturday, June 8
5 p.m. | 6:30 p.m. | 8 p.m.
UCLA's James Bridges Theater
 
The animation festival, affectionately known as "Prom," has been a tradition since 1959. The works screened represent a diverse swath of animation mediums, styles and techniques. This year, the "Prom" is divided into three different programs to better showcase students' work.
 
 
Design Showcase West
Saturday, June 8
10 a.m. (invitation only) | 2 p.m. (public review session)
UCLA's Freud Playhouse
 
The prestigious Design Showcase West, created and hosted by UCLA/TFT's Department of Theater, is the only national entertainment design showcase on the West Coast. The event features student work from the nation's top university design programs, including costume, lighting, scenic and sound design, allowing entertainment producers, directors and A-list designers to identify the top talent graduating this year.
 
 
New Works Program
Sunday, June 9
12:30 p.m. | 4 p.m. | 7:30 p.m.
UCLA's James Bridges Theater
 
The three new works programs feature short works by UCLA/TFT undergraduate and graduate filmmakers and animators. Films screened at this event embody the bold, original storytelling tradition that UCLA's TFT has fostered for decades.
 
 
Screenwriters Showcase
Monday, June 10
7:30 p.m.
Writers Guild of America Theater, Beverly Hills
 
This competition for graduate screenwriting candidates celebrates entertainment's newest crop of screenwriting talent. Eight student finalists — whose scripts were selected by a committee of more than 200 industry professionals — will present five-minute staged excerpts of their works. (more)
 
 
Producers Marketplace
Tuesday, June 11
7:30 p.m.
Skirball Cultural Center
 
Four graduate students from the distinguished UCLA/TFT Producers Program will go before a live audience to present their feature film projects to a panel of top-tier industry judges, then field questions from the judges about their projects and financing strategy. (more)
 
 
TV Night
Wednesday, June 12
7:30 p.m.
UCLA's James Bridges Theater
 
The festival's inaugural TV Night will feature the world premiere of a first-of-its-kind, full length television pilot, "doubleblind," written, produced, directed, designed and shot by UCLA/TFT students. This is the first time a project of this magnitude has been done at any film or theater school in the world. Noted television pilot/episodic director Rod Holcomb ("ER" pilot, "China Beach" pilot, "Elementary") and veteran feature producer Beau Marks ("The Hunt for Red October," "Die Hard," "Straw Dogs") will lead a panel of student filmmakers in a discussion about the creative process and the collaborative effort that went into the creation of the new pilot. (more)
 
 
Directors Spotlight
Thursday, June 13
7:30 p.m.
Directors Guild of America Theater, Los Angeles
 
This event showcases 10 films chosen to receive a coveted Spotlight Award. The films, which have emerged through several rounds of judging by TFT students, as well as a blue ribbon jury of industry professionals, are among the most exciting works the festival has to offer. (more)
 
 
The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television's mission is to serve as a premier global interdisciplinary professional school that develops outstanding humanistic storytellers, industry leaders and scholars whose diverse, innovative voices enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world. Consistently ranked as one of the top elite entertainment and performing arts institutions in the world, the school offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the study and creation of live performance, film, television and the digital arts. Our distinguished graduate and undergraduate programs include acting, directing, writing, producing, animation, cinematography, lighting design, set design, costume design, sound design and moving image archive studies. The school offers Ph.D.s in theater and performance studies and in cinema and media studies.
 
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