Posts Tagged ‘Film’

Oscar Ahoy-a! Grad Film student, Rahat Mahajan’s ‘Istifa’ selected as Student Academy Award finalist

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
Still from Rahat Mahajan's Student Academy Award finalist, Istifa

Still from Rahat Mahajan’s Student Academy Award finalist, Istifa

Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka the organization that hands out the Oscars) receives over 500 submissions from student filmmakers around the world. This past week, Art Center Graduate Film student, Rahat Mahajan’s narrative short, Istifa (Resignation), was selected as one of six finalists, from which three nominees will be selected to progress to the national finals, judged in May.

Please join us in congratulating Rahat, a 5th term student from India. Shortly after hearing the good news, we caught up with Rahat and asked him to share his thoughts on the process of making the film and where he hopes to go from here.


From muscle machines to dinosaur skulls: Art Center’s March 2014 alumni notes

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

It’s that time of month again. Time, that is, to catch up on the creative undertakings Art Center’s talented diaspora of alums have been plotting, planning, pitching, prototyping, publishing, publicizing, producing and plying. And that’s just the p’s.

Dive into the following digest of alumni accomplishments and works-in-progress. And for those alums among us, be sure to clue us in on your own news and notes for inclusion in our next dispatch. We don’t want to miss anything. This is Art Center, after all. And we’re nothing if not completists.


Oscar-nominated VFX whiz explains what makes an award-worthy special effect

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Film instructor and alumnus Dan Bartolucci is in demand as an Autodesk Flame® artist and VFX editor.

With the Oscars just days away, we decided to chat with Film instructor and alumnus Dan Bartolucci who, as a member of the Lola Visual Effects team, is Academy Award nominated for best visual effects for Lone Ranger. Visual effects tends to be one of the more mysterious and mystifying categories, capable of stealing the spoils of a perfectly predicted Oscar pool from the savviest of movie buffs. With that in mind, we sought answers from the ultimate insider. Bartolucci is an esteemed Autodesk Flame® artist and VFX editor who remains very dedicated to his alma mater, where he currently teaches two classes. He can’t reveal the title of his current project but we’ll be sure to find out and let you know when it’s available for public consumption.

Immediately after completing Art Center’s undergraduate film program in 2010, Bartolucci ignited a VFX career that’s been soaring ever since. He has conjured many memorable feats of special effects magic, including shrinking Chris Evans in Captain America, aging the lead actors at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and emaciating Bella in Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.


Rock ‘n’ roll soldier conquers Art Center…and Hollywood

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
Sam Gonzalez

Samuel Gonzalez Jr. Photo by Lindzee Meltzer.

“There is no true terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it.” — Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock’s wisdom provided the inspiration for the concept of “CATASTROPHE,” a month-long exhibition of elaborately staged, large-scale, dark-toned photos created by undergraduate Film alum Samuel Gonzalez Jr. opening today (Jan. 28) at the ArcLight Theaters in Hollywood.

The 30 photographs on display in the theater lobby through March 28 juxtapose surrealist images illustrating the turmoil of the human condition against period landscapes, all the while alluding to humanity’s relationship to the artificiality of a heightened cinematic experience. The psychological narrative animating the photos informs the show’s subtextual ideas about the collision between film and reality. Gonzalez’ eerie pieces blend beauty with horror, love with betrayal and truth with despair, suggesting an open world of endless interpretations and possibilities.

Gonzalez has gained an intimate understanding of this particular confluence of ideas, after spending much of his life creatively interpreting the world around him to create new opportunities for himself. As a young Army recruit stationed in Iraq, Gonzalez’ deployed a creative outlet to offset the stress of combat by starting a rock band called Madison Avenue (after the ironically named path on which his barracks were built). That experience paved the way (financially) for him to attend Art Center’s film department and has since provided the inspiration for the mini-series he’s currently developing with one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers.


My most memorable film: Billy Weber on ‘Days of Heaven’

Friday, October 25th, 2013
Richard Gere and Brooke Adams in "Days of Heaven"  Photo by Bruno Engler. Paramount Pictures/Photofest

Richard Gere and Brooke Adams in “Days of Heaven”
Photo by Bruno Engler. Paramount Pictures/Photofest

The following piece about Art Center Film faculty member, Billy Weber, was originally published in the September-October 2013 issue of Editors Guild Magazine

Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” (1978) was, and remains, a riveting film. From the opening montage of period stills accompanied by Saint-Saens’ musical suite, “The Carnival of the Animals” to the final shot of young Linda Manz’s character skipping off into an unknown future, the film has an emotional, almost hypnotic, pull that never lets up.

The editing is such that practically every cut brings a new flood of information, in an elliptical style in which image and naturalistic sounds take precedence over dialogue. And yet, despite the lack of normal storytelling convention, the film packs an emotional wallop unlike very many movies in history. Released 35 years ago this September through Paramount Pictures, “Days of Heaven” introduced a new style of storytelling to the American cinema, albeit one that has not been widely imitated.


Finalist in Ron Howard’s Project Imaginat10n experiences Art Center flashbacks. The good kind.

Monday, September 16th, 2013
Kalman Apple's "A Day in the Country"

Kalman Apple’s “A Day in the Country”

Go Back to Art School in your head.  You can see it right? Germanic block letters tattooed between the shoulder blades, or etched in a delicate script on the hip or across the belly. I’m a little old fashioned that way, so I’ve kept it simply as a personal mantra. Whenever I’ve been stumped or creatively blocked, I invoke the mantra to help me get away from the mediocre solutions I’m hoping to avoid.

Recently, the meaning of that phrase came back to me-­‐ and this time from an unlikely place. In this instance, I was up against a seemingly impossible deadline to finish a film. I started shooting on a Wednesday for a project due by 6 AM on the following Tuesday. The deadline was for a contest Canon USA was sponsoring to promote its latest DSLR camera.

The contest was to be judged by Ron Howard and his daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard. You probably remember him best as a child star, brilliant director or the guy who introduces the magic of movies on the tram ride at Universal Studios. When I first heard about Project Imaginat10n, it sounded very much like an Art Center class assignment. Take ten still images, each representing an aspect of storytelling and create a 1-10 minute film inspired by those images. The genesis of this contest comes from a statement Ron Howard made years ago, “We’re all creative.” And to prove it, Canon has stepped up to provide the forum.


Film Alum Turns Low-budget “Ball of Crazy” Into Music Videos for Two #1 Hit Songs

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Recent Art Center Film alumnus Jon Jon Augustavo has more than one reason to celebrate. The music video “Thrift Shop” that he directed for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis—with 324 million YouTube views and counting—has been nominated for BET Music Video of the Year.

On top of that, their second music video collaboration, “Can’t Hold Us,” has racked up nearly 44 million views on YouTube in six short weeks. Both songs made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and “Can’t Hold Us” is now four weeks into holding top spot.

But Augustavo sees that success in a more humbling light.


Film Alumnus Directs Most Watched Commercial

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Dove Real Beauty Sketches, directed by John X. Carey, sets new record

Viewed more than 114 million times and counting, it became the most watched Internet commercial of all time in less than a month online, the New York Daily News reports. This week it surpassed the previous record holder, the Evian Roller Babies, notes Mashable.

What makes the three-minute video, directed by Art Center College of Design film alumnus John X. Carey for Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, so compelling?

A woman walks behind a curtain, where a forensic artist draws her based on her description of herself. What she doesn’t know is that another person will come in later and describe her as well. When the two sketches are placed side by side, there’s an obvious difference between how these women perceive themselves and how others perceive them. And when the forensic artist asks, “Are you more beautiful than you think?” the video captures their emotional responses.

In the end, they’re all beautiful.


20 Art Center Students Win 2013 ADDY® Awards

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Congratulations to the 20 Art Center students and recent alumni who won ADDY® Awards in the 2013 competition! Students received their awards at the ADDY® Gala on March 14 at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood.

Art Center student winners from the 2013 ADDY Awards

Many of the Gold and Silver ADDY winners produced their projects in Film/Sell, a 14-week class where Film and Advertising majors collaborate on spec ads for their reels. During the class, students go through tons of ideas before landing a concept they can take into production.

“We help them point out what works and what doesn’t, and how their concept plays into the overall brand identity of the product they’re promoting,” said Chris Gehl, who teaches Film/Sell alongside Clio award-winner Nir Bashan. “Our intention with Film/Sell is to create a class that we would have liked when we were students,” said Gehl. “It’s my favorite class to teach, and it is the first time in 20 years that a class like this has existed.”

Sponsored by the American Advertising Federation, the ADDY® Awards recognize excellence in the art of advertising, graphic design, web design, illustration and photography. The AAF Student ADDY® Awards Competition is designed specifically for college students.


Art Center featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Top 25 Film Schools ranking

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Film Schools

The Hollywood Reporter has included Art Center’s stellar film program in its new list of the top 25 film schools in the world.

The second annual list of outstanding film educational institutions was decided on by the editors at the entertainment trade publication and an unidentified list of industry insiders.

The Art Center entry mentions alumni Michael Bay, Tarsem Singh Dhandwar (Mirror, Mirror) and visionary director Zack Snyder who’s highly anticipated Superman reboot Man of Steel is set for a June release.  In the story, alumnus Snyder recalls how his mentor, Mike Ahnemann, influenced his career.

Visionary Director Zack Snyder stops by Art Center

Watch the Man of Steel trailer here.