Tag Archives: Valerie Faris

Dot Film Fest Makes Impressive Debut

Zack Snyder Inspires and Credits Art Center for Lasting Friendships, Filmmaking Foundation

Faculty-Produced Movies are Hot Sellers at SXSW, Encourage Next Gen


Director Zack Snyder speaks at DIFF | LA

On March 16, 2013, the Dot Independent Film Festival (DIFF | LA) made a smashing box office debut at Art Center’s Hillside Campus. The daylong event featured award-winning student films from around the world, several prestigious entertainment industry speakers and many inspirational moments shared by the next gen filmmakers in attendance.

Man of Steel director and alumnus Zack Snyder FILM 89 kicked off the creative confab with entertaining comments about his days on campus. He called the experience “art boot camp” and said the attrition rate “was like Vietnam.”

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Zack Snyder Opens Dot Independent Film Festival at Art Center College of Design

Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, Tom Kuntz and Matthew Rolston speaking at March 16 event honoring student films from around the world

Zack Snyder at Art Center

Zack Snyder at Art Center. Photo by Chuck Spangler.

March 12, 2013, Pasadena, Calif.—Visionary director and Art Center College of Design alumnus Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, 300) is set to open DIFF | LA, the Dot Independent Film Festival, the premiere student-led film festival on the West Coast taking place Saturday, March 16, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. on the Art Center College of Design Hillside Campus at 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, Calif., 91103.

In addition to screening official selections in the categories of Directing, Cinematography, Writing and Editing, the event will feature presentations by Snyder and the critically acclaimed directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine, Ruby Sparks), Emmy-winning commercial director Tom Kuntz (Old Spice, Skittles), and legendary photographer and filmmaker Matthew Rolston (Kelly Rowland, Christina Aguilera).

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‘Little Miss Sunshine’ directors talk filmmaking from script to screen

From left: Instructor Lee Rosenbaum, Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton. Photo: Chuck Spangler

“Little Miss Sunshine” directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris spent Wednesday afternoon with Art Center College of Design students recounting their 30-year career, which spans directing the first round of music videos in the early 1980s to the 2012 feature film “Ruby Sparks.”

The husband-and-wife directing duo kicked off the conversation on the Hillside campus with advice for students getting their foot in the door.

“Right now you guys are really cheap to hire and that’s a great entry into the business,” said Dayton, wearing jeans, jacket and his signature fedora.

“Lie, cheat, steal, do whatever you can to get your movies made,” Faris added, quoting her former UCLA professor, renowned filmmaker Shirley Clarke.

The pair made their directorial debut with the R.E.M. music video “Wolves Lower” in 1982 when MTV was first launching.

“There was this new form of filmmaking, and there were no experts and no money,” said Faris, donning a blue button up paired with yellow sneakers.

The couple went on to direct videos for ’90s grunge darlings Jane’s Addiction, Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins.

Dayton and Faris shared cinematic secrets behind the 1996 Smashing Pumpkins video for “1979,” including putting cameras in unusual places: inside a Ziploc bag and tossed into a pool and strapped inside a rolling tractor tire.

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