Film screening and discussion
Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 6:00 p.m., PETCO Park--Home of the San Diego Padres, San Diego, CA
Wednesdays, July 10 to August 7, 2019, 12 to 1 PM
Pepperdine Classroom inside the STAPLES Center, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA. If you missed it, PURCHASE the Recorded Sessions Online!
Thursday, March 28, 2019
12:30 to 5 PM
Pepperdine University School of Law, Classroom D, Malibu, Campus
The Ethics of Zealous Advocacy: Understanding the Business of Sports and Labor, featuring NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith with Jim Trotter, Reporter at NFL Media
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Pepperdine University School of Law, Classroom C, Malibu Campus
Silicon Beach Roundtable: Entertainment, Media, and Sports Panel—The Golden Age of Content and Distribution
Thursday, March 7, 2019
Los Angeles Entertainment District at Hollywood Park
NCAA Pathways to Opportunity: A Conversation with Top NCAA Executives
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
A Conversation with Ned Colletti, former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Stephen Ross, Director of the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society, with Pepperdine School of Law Professor Maureen Weston.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Engage: 21st Century Creatives and Storytelling
On the occasion of the American Film Market
Fairmont Miramar's Starlight Ballroom in Santa Monica - 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Engage is the Pepperdine Alumni Affairs and Pepperdine's Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture (IEMSC) signature diversity and inclusion event where creative entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from high profile industry professionals.
This half-day symposium features provocative panel discussions and invaluable insider information about the film, television, and new media landscape from a diverse group of notable creatives, producers, and executives in the entertainment industry. This year's symposium theme, "21st Century Creatives and Storytelling," will focus on burgeoning trends in the industry for creatives and business entrepreneurs.
The Next Wave in Digital Entertainment
Friday, March 24, 2018
Alumni, faculty, staff, students, and industry leaders gathered at the YouTube Space in Los Angeles, their flagship location for creators, to produce video content and collaborate with the YouTube creative community. Hosted by Pepperdine's Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture (IEMSC) and Alumni Affairs, this educational evening featured a distinguished panel of Pepperdine alumni and industry leaders exploring the latest advancements in digital entertainment from film and animation to gaming and virtual reality.
This symposium was made possible in part with the generous support of The Hearst Foundations.
Maya Angelou Documentary And Still I Rise
Introduction by Candace Bowen, Women in Film
Q&A with directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack
In discussion with Helen Williams, Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Speaker David N. Weiss (Shrek 2, Smurfs, Rugrats) inspired the students at the annual banquet for the master of fine arts in writing for screen and television program on April 6, 2016.
Vikki Karan hosted the Pepperdine School of Law Geoffrey Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law event, An Evening with WME|IMG on March 31, 2016.
Danny Docovny at Keslow Camera with the Pepperdine Cinematography class checking out Arri and Red cameras
Screening of Thomas Keating: A Rising Tide of Silence
Discussion with Peter C. Jones, Director/Producer &
Eric Wilson, Associate Chaplain, Pepperdine University
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Elkins Auditorium, Malibu Campus
Screening of REMAND
The Story of Pepperdine Law's Global Justice Program in Uganda
Presented by Revolution Pictures
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Caruso Auditorium, Pepperdine School of Law
Screening of Risen
Capturing the uncertainty and excitement that surrounded the resurrection of Jesus, RISEN is a smart and inspiring new film from Columbia Pictures and AFFIRM Films. Screened on November 18th at Pepperdine for the Malibu community prior to its February 19th, 2016 Sony release.
Screening of Einstein's Light
IEMC hosted the west coast premiere of the new documentary, Einstein's Light on Tuesday, November 10th. Award-winning filmmaker Nickolas Barris traveled from Holland to present the film and was joined in a post-screening discussion by Pepperdine physics professor Gerard Fasel. Craig Detweiler, IEMSC's creative director noted, "We're thrilled to bring Einstein's Light to Pepperdine, straight from its east coast premiere at Princeton University. What a great opportunity for the community and our many sharp students in science, music, film, and media." Check out the trailer
The film illuminates Einstein's quest to realize his General Theory of Relativity from his miracle year of 1905 to its finalization amidst the horrors of the First World War, as he used the properties of light to guide his creative path. It examines Einstein's discoveries as well as modern examples of scientific imagination and innovation, including Dutch Nobel Laureate, Hendrik Lorentz. The symbiotic relationship between music and science is a major theme, as Einstein is the greatest example of its efficacy. Nickolas Barris commissioned composer Bruce Adolphe to write a score to reflect the power of music as a catalyst for Einstein's scientific creativity. Since Einstein was a devoted violinist, composer Adolphe created a score based on Einstein's deep connection to the music of Mozart and Bach. Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell performs on the soundtrack, which was unveiled at the United Nations/UNESCO International Year of Light Opening Ceremony in Paris on January 19, 2015.
Screening of Blackfish
The film Blackfish is critical about the way SeaWorld treats its killer whales and this has inspired people like Kirra Kotler from Pt. Dume Elementary in Malibu to ask her teacher and fellow students to stop visiting the theme park for their annual field trip. Her actions caught the attention of CNN and there is now pending legislation that would ban the use of performing orcas at California entertainment parks.
Photo: Director of Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, meets 10-year old Kirra Kotler for the first time at Pepperdine's Reel Stories Film Festival where "stories create reality" is celebrated. Photo by Dana Fineman
Watershed Screening with James Redford
Presenting ideas for restoring the once-mighty Colorado River, Skylar Peak, Pepperdine alum and Malibu's new mayor joins Redford for an evening discussion with friends from the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, Bill Hasencamp, the Colorado River Program Manager at the Metropolitan Water District, and Barry Nelson, Senior Policy Analyst, Water Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Moderated by Rhiannon Bailard of Pepperdine's Center for Sustainability.
Executive Produced and Narrated by Robert Redford and Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Mark Decena, Watershed tells the story of the threats to the Colorado River and offers solutions for the future of the American West. Can we meet the needs of a growing population in the face of rising temperatures and lower rainfall in an already arid land? Can we find harmony amongst the competing interests of cities, agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife, and indigenous communities with rights to the water?
Michael Giacchino Embodies the Composer as Storyteller
Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino drew upon his family history to challenge students to serve a larger story. He brought scenes from his acclaimed scores to Up, The Incredibles, and the television series, Lost. Giacchino played five different musical themes he composed for the reboot of the Star Trek franchise. He noted how he was intimidated by the history associated with the series until Lost producer Damon Lindelof suggested the story was simply, "Two friends in boot camp." The resulting cue, "Enterprising Young Men" captured the ethos of the film. The evening was co-hosted by graphic design professor Dana Zurzolo and featured a poster contest won by senior Zach Tafoya. Read more about Giacchino's visit to Pepperdine in The Graphic.
Remembering Journalist Dan Eldon: Dying to Tell the Story
Producers Kathy Eldon and Amy Eldon-Turteltaub brought their Emmy-nominated documentary, Dying to Tell the Story, to Pepperdine's Elkins Auditorium. The moving doc celebrates the enduring legacy of artist, photographer, and activist Dan Eldon, who was murdered while covering the war in Somalia in 1993. The evening was a sobering reminder of the dangers that war correspondents endure in hotspots around the globe. The Eldons launched the Creative Visions Foundation to honor Dan and empower the next generation of "creative activists." Kathy Eldon noted how Dan inspired Blake Mycoskie of Tom's Shoes, reflected in the Spring 2011 collection, "Safari as a Way of Life." Pepperdine senior Karee Maxson currently serves as an intern with Creative Visions.
The Serious Business of Writing Comedy in Hollywood
Five accomplished sitcom writers talked about "The Serious Business of Writing Comedy in Hollywood." The event was hosted by Dr. Leslie Kreiner-Wilson of Pepperdine's MFA in Screenwriting program and the student writing group, Courier 12. Speakers included (pictured left to right) Eric Zicklin (Hot in Cleveland), David Misch (Saturday Night Live), Chris Cluess (The Simpsons), Andy Guerdat (Sister, Sister), and Dean Batali (That 70s Show). The discussion in Elkins Auditorium included hilarious backstage anecdotes as well as sage advice for aspiring writers.
ReelStories Film Fest Fetes Student Filmmakers
A showcase for art, music, and social action at the ReelStories Film Festival. Twelve hundred moviegoers packed two theaters to see six films competing for the top prizes. Senior Austin Chapman was the night's big winner, taking the Grand Prize and the Audience Award for his poignant short, Eleven Eleven and the Reel Cause Award for his documentary, City of Widows. Kyle Helf won in the technical category for his cinematography for Contact. The winning student films can be viewed online here.
After an inspiring charge from Pepperdine grad, director D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia, and the new I Am Number Four) the awards were presented by filmmaker Randall Wallace (Secretariat, Braveheart). Wallace said, "I've been to the Oscars, I've been to the Golden Globes, this is better…This event [focuses on] what you are feeling in your heart, and what the people that made those movies are feeling in theirs."
Attendees also had an opportunity to view two Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary, Wasteland and Exit Through the Gift Shop. Both films follow artists into the streets, where their captivating work springs forth. Wasteland tracks Vic Muniz's majestic photographs of recycling crews in a Brazilian trash dump. Graffiti artist Banksy questions the role of art in his beguiling first feature, Exit Through the Gift Shop. The associate producer of Wasteland, Emilia Mello answered questions posed by Academy Award-nominated documentarian, Roko Belic (Genghis Blues and the upcoming, Happy).
Photo 1: Mishy Turner, Austin Chapman, Kyle Helf and Robby DeVillez celebrate their awards at the 2nd Reel Stories Film Festival. Photo by Houston Costa
Photo 2: Randall Wallace hosts ReelStories awards
Director Oliver Stone takes Pepperdine South of the Border
The Latino Student Association and the EMC co-hosted an evening with three-time Oscar winner, Oliver Stone featuring his documentary, South of the Border. In the film, Stone travels across South America interviewing presidents like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivia's Evo Morales, and Argentina's Christina Kirchner. South of the Border juxtaposes American press coverage with playful images captured by Stone of Chavez riding a bicycle, Morales chewing on cocoa leaves, and Kirchner discussing shoes. A lively discussion with Stone pressed him on human rights abuses, the Castro regime in Cuba, and his thoughts on Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Life is Not a Musical: The Musical
Premiere of the first feature film produced by Pepperdine undergraduates, Life is Not a Musical: The Musical. It juxtaposes happy tunes with the struggles of a young married couple. Over 150 students were involved in the rousing production, including writer/director Paul Casey, producer/composer Zane Miller, and cinematographer/actor Zach Garrett. It featured 12 original songs composed for the film and Casey, Garrett, and Miller oversaw six months of post-production.
Pepperdine Professor Finds 3-Year-Olds Already Think "Thin Is In"
Jennifer Harriger, assistant professor of psychology, appeared on Fox News to discuss her groundbreaking research involving toddlers and body image. A test for 3 to 5 year-olds was embedded within gameplay for CandyLand and Chutes and Ladders. Once toddlers chose a game character, Harriger would offer a wider but otherwise identically dressed character as a substitute. The children consistently chose thinner characters, including shocking reasons why they didn't want to play with the heavier game pieces. How did toddlers develop such strong stereotypes regarding weight and body image? And how might the media counteract such strong and early impressions already forming in children?
Ron Meyer, President of Universal Studios
Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, addressed an enthusiastic crowd of students, alums, and luminaries from the Malibu community at the first "State of the Industry" conversation on Monday, November 29, 2010. Meyer demonstrated considerable candor as he reflected on his journey from a modest upbringing to co-founding the Creative Artists Agency and overseeing Universal Studios through fifteen distinguished years (and six ownership changes!). He also brought along exclusive previews of upcoming projects like the fifth edition of The Fast and the Furious and the alien comedy, Paul. Meyer answered an array of questions from the audience regarding the development, marketing, and future of feature films. While acknowledging the competitive nature of Hollywood, he also challenged students to adopt honesty and kindness as keys to enduring in the industry. Under Meyer's leadership, Universal has produced the Oscar-winning films Gladiator, Shakespeare in Love, and A Beautiful Mind and rousing hits like Bruce Almighty, Despicable Me, and The Bourne Ultimatum.
Pepperdine Seniors Featured on The Office
Two talented members of Seaver College's class of 2010, Seth Allison and Jeff Loveness had 'co-starring' roles on NBC's Thursday night staple, The Office. Allison and Loveness played college students embarking on a service trip to Mexico. Office manager, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) decides to get on their bus, inspiring Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) to follow suit. When Michael realizes he doesn't have a passport, Allison chimes in, informing him that you don't need a passport to enter Mexico. When Michael and Andy plead to stop the bus, Loveness quickly follows. He ends up riding back to Scranton with them. Congrats to Allison and Loveness for such a high profile guest appearance. See more of their work at The Randumb Show.
Japanese Movie Star, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Teaches Students How to Act
Actor Tsuyoshi Ihara, star of Letters from Iwo Jima, talked to students in Craig Detweiler's entertainment business course about how to hone their craft. He discussed how his training in martial arts with Sonny Chiba prepared him for action roles as one of Takeshi Miike's 13 Assassins. Ihara-san also discussed the honor of working with director Clint Eastwood on the acclaimed Letters from Iwo Jima. He concluded with a preview of his next film set in Brazil, Coracoes Sujos. Ihara thanked the students for the opportunity to polish his English skills in preparation for upcoming roles.
Pepperdine Graduates Premiere FINDING KIND in Malibu
"Have you ever been bullied?" Two 2009 graduates of Pepperdine's Comm Division, Lauren Parsekian and Molly Stroud, traveled across America, asking girls whether they had ever been teased, harassed, or bullied by other girls. Their riveting documentary, Finding Kind, demonstrates how pervasive and problematic bullying has become amongst girls. Yet, it also challenges students to join the Kind Campaign to raise awareness, build up self-esteem, and establish stronger solidarity amongst women. After the screening in Elkins Auditorium, Parsekian and Stroud were interviewed by their professor and mentor, Susan Salas. Tom Shadyac served as executive producer on the project.
Production Designer Alan Roderick-Jones Brings Plans to Pepperdine
Acclaimed production designer Alan Roderick-Jones brought his finest creations to Pepperdine classes taught by professors Dana Zurzulo, Ginger Rosenkrans, and Michael Furtney. Students crowded around tables to see original artwork created by Roderick-Jones for Star Wars including drawings and plans for the Millennium Falcon. Roderick-Jones also unveiled his designs for Universal/Vivendi video games like The Lord of the Rings and Van Helsing. For the students in graphic design, advertising, and public relations, Roderick-Jones offered a vivid example of an artist who has perfected his craft.
Filmmaker Tom Shadyac Brings Passionate Documentary I AM to Pepperdine
Pepperdine professor Tom Shadyac brought his most personal project, I AM, to Elkins Auditorium on the Malibu campus. I AM challenges viewers to shift their lifestyles from competition to cooperation, and from consumption to sustainability. It features interviews with renowned thinkers like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. Author Marc Ian Barash (Field Notes on the Compassionate Life) was on hand for the screening. Students brought strong questions about how to make a significant change to the post-screening conversation. I AM marks a fascinating shift from Shadyac's massive comedies like Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor and Ace Ventura. Yet, I AM also finds humor amidst our daunting social challenges.
Karin Sabin ('08) Chosen for Competitive Directors Guild Training Program
Karin Sabin, a Pepperdine Communication Division graduate, was chosen for the Directors Guild of America's prestigious Training Program for Assistant Directors. She is working on NBC's new series, Harry's Law, produced by David E. Kelley and starring Kathy Bates. The DGA Trainee program receives 15,000 applications and choses only 15 finalists each year. Sabin applied in October 2009 and went through three rigorous rounds of interviews. Her final interview came before 20 DGA members.
John Paul Lam ('96) Rocks the World Cup with Japanese Pop Star, MISIA
John Paul Lam ('96) wrote and produced a song for Japanese R&B singer, MISIA for "Listen Up!," the official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album. His song, "Maware Maware," (Japanese for "Around and Around") is sung by MISIA and features M2J (a group featuring J.P. and Japanese Hip Hop artist DJ Muro). This Sony Entertainment release features songs from Shakira, R. Kelly, John Legend, and Wyclef Jean. Lam noted, "I am extremely honored to have my music included among so many great artists and to receive such wide exposure. I am also honored to have been invited by Sony and FIFA to perform alongside MISIA at the Sony Pavilion in Johannesburg, South Africa during the World Cup Games."
IEMSC Director Craig Detweiler Comments on Hollywood Casting Controversies
Craig Detweiler, director of IEMSC, weighed in on the controversies surrounding casting decisions for Prince of Persia and The Last Airbender. Cultural analysis by Detweiler on Hollywood's missed opportunities for appeared on entertainment industry site, The Wrap and on CNN.com. An extended interview was published at National Geographic's Pop Omnivore.
Antwone Fisher: the Movie and the Man
IEMSC teamed with Don Lawrence and the Intercultural Affairs Office to bring screenwriter Antwone Fisher and his eponymous film to the Malibu campus. A crowd of 200 students, staff and faculty gathered in Elkins Auditorium to watch Denzel Washington's directorial debut. After the screening, Fisher offered behind-the-scenes peeks into the creative process that sparked his autobiography, Finding Fish, and the movie. Fisher's warmth and humor shown through tales on the set and in the years since the movie premiered. His appearance was chronicled by the local media, including The Malibu Times and The Graphic.
Pepperdine Alumni Compete on Emmy-winning show The Amazing Race
The 16th season of The Amazing Race features Pepperdine graduates, Heidi Lesser-Wang ('94), Steve Smith ('76), and Allie Smith ('08). Lesser-Wang races with her husband, Joe Wang. Steve Smith played baseball at Pepperdine and has served as a Major League coach for the World Series champs, Philadelphia Phillies. Steve's daughter, Allie, graduated in 2008 with a degree in public relations.
First ReelStories Film Festival Full of Powerful Premieres
Almost 1000 people packed out Smothers Theater and Elkins Auditorium for the inaugural ReelStories Film Festival. The star-studded evening was conceived, produced, and directed by students. It featured acclaimed documentaries like The Human Experience. The festival culminated in a red carpet ceremony for the top student films. Senior J.J. Starr won the grand prize for his documentary, "Waking Honduras." Accomplished industry professionals like Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty), Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers), and Jonah Nolan (The Dark Knight) served as judges for the competition. Check out the award-winning entries here.
Pepperdine Professor Competes Against John Salley on MSNBC
Susan Salas, associate professor of telecommunications and director of broadcasting, participated in a panel about performance-enhancing technology in sports in the PlayIt4-Ward series on the Web site. Former NBA star, John Salley was amongst the commentators pitted against Salas, in the live commentary. Watch the panel
Full House for "The Business of Screenwriting"
Pepperdine's MFA in Screenwriting program hosted six expert panelists for a seminar on the business side of screenwriting. Christine Pechera of the student screenwriting group, Courier 12, welcomed the packed house gathered in the Fireside Room. Director of the screenwriting program, Leslie Kreiner-Wilson introduced the distinguished panelists:
- Sheryl J. Anderson, co-executive producer of Charmed
- Three-time Emmy winner Dick Blasucci from The Larry Sanders Show and MadTV
- Fellow Emmy winner Chris Cluess from The Simpsons and Cheers
- Former Paul Kohner literary agent Neal Stevens
- Brent Lilley and Allan de Leon from the Mosaic Media Group that represents Judd Apatow, Jim Carrey, and Will Ferrell
Topics ranged from how to get started, how to get an agent, and how to get that all-important first script sale.
IEMSC Director Comments on CNN
CNN called upon associate professor of Communication Craig Detweiler for expert commentary on three recent news stories. He appeared on CNN International to analyze the blockbuster success of James Cameron's Avatar, was quoted in an article about tumultuous changes at NBC and Fox, and framed a recent study that demonstrated that "Sex doesn't sell in the movies."
Pepperdine Prof Offers Expert Advice on Dr. Phil
Thema Bryant-Davis of Pepperdine's Graduate School of Education and Psychology appeared three times on Dr. Phil this fall. As an expert on childhood trauma, Bryant-Davis talked about the post-traumatic stress that Jaycee Lee Dugard may experience following her release from captivity and the challenges facing adult survivors of childhood physical and sexual abuse.
American Dreams and the Big Screen
A tribute to fathers and sons with special guests: Bruce and David Corwin from Metropolitan Theatres; Hawk Koch, president of the Producers Guild of America and Robert Koch, entertainment attorney; and Academy Award-winning producer, Walter Mirisch and owner of the Mirisch Agency, Lawrence Mirisch.
Our projections of the Jewish faith, ethnicity, and culture included clips from Mirisch's films West Side Story, In the Heat of the Night, and Fiddler on the Roof, and Koch's films, The Way We Were, Wayne's World, and Keeping the Faith.
Still Laugh-In with George Schlatter
Pepperdine University hosted an evening with George Schlatter, the award-winning creator and executive producer of the groundbreaking television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The tribute served as a benefit for the creation of the George Schlatter Comedy Collection at Pepperdine and featured such noted entertainment legends as Larry King, Lily Tomlin, and Tim Conway.
During his career, Schlatter was nominated for 15 Emmy Awards, winning twice for Laugh-In as Outstanding Musical or Variety Program and for Sammy Davis, Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration as Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. He was also nominated for a Writers Guild of America award in 1997. Schlatter has been credited for helping to launch the careers of such entertainers as Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, and Robin Williams. He was the creator and producer of the annual American Comedy Awards and the television program, Real People.
George Schlatter came to Pepperdine University to play football, but a campus job in the theater department altered his trajectory and the history of television. "We honor George's lifetime of service—to the art of comedy and the joy of laughter," said Craig Detweiler, director of the Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture. "What's more, this evening continues George's lifelong commitment to comedy by creating a gathering place and living laboratory at Pepperdine to learn the art of improv, and comedic writing and performance."
Women in Hollywood: 100 Years of Negotiating the System
Women have played important roles in the entertainment industry from its earliest days, achieving success as artists and attaining leadership positions in the industry. Yet significant challenges still exist. How have leading women navigated the entertainment industry? What recent breakthroughs suggest a new era of opportunity has arisen? This symposium addressed the issues facing women individually and collectively in the entertainment industry.
Featured guests included: Suzanne dePasse, past president of Motown Productions (The Jacksons: An American Dream); actress Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue); director Lesli Linka Glater (The Newsroom); director Victoria Hochberg (Ghost Whisperer); Tom Sherak, past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Nell Scovell, cowriter of the massive bestseller, Lean In with Sheryl Sandberg; and the producers of the groundbreaking young adult series Lucy Fisher (Divergent), Nina Jacobson (The Hunger Games) and Melissa Rosenberg (The Twilight Saga).
Nikole Lim Launches Nonprofit with Documentary, While Women Weep
Activist/Filmmaker Nikole Lim brought her new documentary, While Women Weep, to Elkins Auditorium for a special convocation program. Lim focuses upon three stories of hope with Kenyan women who have demonstrated strength and perseverance amidst abuse. Lim challenged the audience to tell stories of substance, pointing out how her movie led to the creation of a non-profit, Freely in Hope, which provides scholarships and launches micro-enterprises for women in Africa.
IEMC Teams with Glazer Institute for Screening of The Last Survivor
IEMC joined with Pepperdine's new Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies to host a screening of the award-winning documentary, The Last Survivor. It skillfully weaves four stories of genocide, finding common ground in survivors of the Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, and the Congo. Directors Michael Pertnoy and Michael Kleiman were on hand to answering questions following the screening. The panel discussion was cohosted by Rebecca Golbert and Craig Detweiler.
Global Warming Documentary Cool It Previews at Pepperdine Before National Release
Pepperdine hosted an exclusive preview of the global warming documentary, Cool It. Directed by Sundance Award winner, Ondi Timoner, Cool It premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. It follows environmentalist Bjorn Lomberg, founder of the Copenhagen Consensus, as he seeks alternative solutions to pressing issues of AIDS, malaria, and malnutrition. Producer Terry Botwick and professor Chris Doran answered questions following the screening. Cool It was named to the Los Angeles Times list of the Most Overlooked Films of 2010.
Producer Tova Laiter Chronicles Murder in Mississippi
Producer Tova Laiter and screened her Emmy award-winning drama, Murder in Mississippi. Three young civil rights workers were killed by Klansmen in Neshoba County during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Laiter talked about the origins of the production, from working with writer Ben Stein to casting actors Blair Underwood, Jennifer Grey, Thomas Hulce, and Josh Charles early in their careers. Laiter also served as a distinguished production executive, initiating projects such as Evita, Varsity Blues, and Nixon. The screening was held in conjunction with actor Donzaleigh Abernathy's lecture about growing up alongside Martin Luther King and her father, the Reverend Ralph Abernathy.
Daphne Valerius Documents The Souls of Black Girls
Filmmaker Daphne Valerius brought her documentary, The Souls of Black Girls, to Pepperdine's Malibu campus. For her master's thesis, Valerius talked to actors like Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina King about how women of color are portrayed onscreen. Several classes in Pepperdine's Communication Division studying issues of race and representation attended the screening. The evening was cohosted by Donald Lawrence and the Office of Intercultural Affairs and featured special guest Paress Salinas from Overbrook Entertainment.
Emilio Estevez Shows Pepperdine The Way
Filmmaker Emilio Estevez offered Pepperdine students a special sneak preview of his new independent film, The Way. Estevez wrote, produced, directed and plays a son whose journey on the El Camino de Santiago is tragically cut short. Martin Sheen stars as a father completing the famous pilgrimage route of St. James in Spain. Estevez challenged film majors "to create work they can be proud of." For two hundred plus Pepperdine students, The Way provided a vivid and timely example of the long, but satisfying route to making movies that matter.
Mark Steven Johnson Previews When in Rome for Pepperdine
The Spring 2010 semester started with a special screening of Touchstone's romantic comedy When in Rome starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. Students, staff, and alums packed the Mann Westlake Village 8 Theater to see the film and talk with director Mark Steven Johnson. He revealed about the joys and challenges of filming on location in Rome and New York City. Johnson praised his diverse cast of comedians including Will Arnett, Dax Shepherd, Jon Heder, and Danny DeVito. Students were encouraged by Johnson's journey from Minnesota native to Hollywood insider. Johnson emphasized his commitment to story that runs from his first hit, Grumpy Old Men through hits like Simon Birch, Daredevil, and Ghost Rider.
John Lee Hancock Brings Breakout Hit The Blind Side to campus
Students and staff filled Elkins Auditorium for a special screening of the surprise hit of 2009, The Blind Side. Director John Lee Hancock offered behind-the-scenes stories of convincing Sandra Bullock to play Southern dynamo, Leigh Anne Tuohy. He also talked about countless auditions before he discovered Quintin Aaron to play real-life football prodigy Michael Oher. Hancock drew upon his upbringing as the son of a Texas high school football coach to bring authenticity to the story. Student enthusiasm at Pepperdine reflected the positive word of mouth driving audiences to The Blind Side.
Producer Ralph Winter Unspools the X-Men
Blockbuster Hollywood producer Ralph Winter offered an overview of the entire X-Men series to enthusiastic Pepperdine students. Winter recounted the risks associated with the first X-Men film, as Fox Studios trusted director Bryan Singer to cast classically trained actors like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan as comic book heroes. Winter also showed students the rigorous rehearsals and blocking necessary to stage elaborate fight scenes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Students were encouraged by Winter's rise from an undergraduate history major contemplating seminary, to industrial video producer for department stores, through overseeing post-production on the Star Trek movies. Winter compared his role as on-set producer to a field general, organizing an army of gifted costumers, makeup artists, and prop masters to create a "mutant assembly line" of X-Men.
Script Guru Linda Seger Addresses MFA Screenwriting Students
Revered Hollywood script analyst Dr. Linda Seger spoke at the Weisman Museum of Art on October 15, 2009. Seger's books, Making A Good Script Great and The Art of Adaptation, serve as the standards in screenwriting. At Pepperdine, Seger offered wisdom gathered in her new book, Spiritual Steps on the Road to Success.
Seger suggested that the temptations arising from success are sometimes even more vexing than the struggles getting there. Her appearance was sponsored by Courier 12, Pepperdine's student screenwriting group and Ciao, a club committed to Italian.
Gary Sinise Celebrates Soldiers in The Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good
A rousing documentary following Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band previewed at Pepperdine's Malibu campus. Director Jonathan Flora was accompanied by executive producer Jay Hoffman, coproducer Deborah Flora, and the star of stirring musical tour for the troops, Gary Sinise. Students from Pepperdine's ROTC program were encouraged by the footage Flora and his team gathered on army bases from America to Iraq. Sinise shrugged off the spotlight inherent in the film, preferring to highlight the courageous troops serving overseas.
Director Daniel Barnz Brings Phoebe in Wonderland
Rising filmmaker Daniel Barnz screened his debut feature, Phoebe in Wonderland. A school production of Alice in Wonderland offers Phoebe a refuge from a vexing diagnosis. Elle Fanning and Felicity Huffman star as daughter and mother, with Patricia Clarkson as a mysterious drama teacher. Barnz talked about his evocative use of color to convey Phoebe's imagination. He also offered an update on his film Beastly.
Academy Award-Nominated Documentarian Screens New Movie at Pepperdine
Adrian Belic, Oscar-nominated director of Genghis Blues, brought his latest global travelogue, Beyond the Call to Tom Shadyac's class on October 1, 2009. Beyond the Call follows three civilians who risk their lives to deliver humanitarian aid in war-torn countries that most reliefs organizations have fled. From Afghanistan to Burma, Ed, James, and Walt combine the adventures of Indiana Jones with the heart of Mother Teresa. Their organization, Knightsbridge International, merges "high adventure with service to humanity."
Colorful director Adrian Belic regaled Pepperdine students with stories from the shoot and tales from over 100 film festival screenings on five continents.
Martin Hynes and The Go-Getter Visit Malibu
Filmmaker Martin Hynes screened his comedic road trip, The Go-Getter, in Craig Detweiler's Film 311 class. The Go-Getter premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and sparked the acclaimed band, She & Him, featuring Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Hynes talked about how his indie film attracted such a strong cast, from leads Lou Taylor Pucci and Deschanel, through cameo appearances by Bill Duke and Maura Tierney. Students were intrigued by the substantial style and production values achieved on a modest budget. Hynes challenged the class to consider how limited resources actually demand more preparation.
Courier 12 Hosts Screenwriter Alex Litvak
Pepperdine students banded together to form Courier 12, a new club dedicated to the art of screenwriting. Club officers include MFA in Screenwriting students John Burd (president), Christine Pechera (vice president), and Anthony Castellane (treasurer). Their first guest, screenwriter Alex Litvak has sold the million-dollar spec script, Medieval, and is currently polishing the remake of Predator.
Litvak talked about his experiences as a production executive for directors like Renny Harlin, companies like Intermedia, and on films like Training Day and Terminator 3. He encouraged students to read as many scripts as possible, to figure out why certain scripts are being sold, and why particular screenplays are actually filmed. Litvak also recounted how he set up several TV pilots for the major television networks.
Award-winning Documentary The Third Wave Previews at Pepperdine
When a calamitous tsunami washed over Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004, filmmakers Alison Thompson and Oscar Gubernati decided to make a difference. They packed their bags and their camera for a two-week relief mission that turned into a year-long adventure. Their award-winning documentary, The Third Wave, is the ultimate volunteer story, demonstrating that “everyone is needed.”
Thompson and Gubernati brought The Third Wave to Pepperdine just prior to their Academy Award qualifying release. A rousing standing ovation followed the film. Students were moved by their heroic actions amidst the complications of catastrophe. The Third Wave raises important questions about how aid is distributed and how much of a difference individuals can make during times of crisis.
Entertainment Club Hosts "New Media and Online Monetization" Discussion
The Entertainment Club at the Graziadio School of Business and Management hosted a panel discussion entitled, "New Media and Online Monetization," on September 15, 2009. Club president George Granados welcomed industry professionals from Microsoft, Yahoo, 20th Century Fox, and Xonger. As Senior Director of Business Development for Microsoft, Joe Michaels and his team created the Live Earth webcast and NBC’s Beijing Olympics website. Adam Zarlengo is a senior product manager at Yahoo!, putting his MBA from the Graziadio School to work. Hardie Tankersley serves as vice president of online content and strategy for Fox’s broadcast network. As the co-founder of Xonger, Dave Drever creates entertainment brands with robust cross-platform integration.
George Granados asked candid questions about why so many new media companies have failed to turn their massive audiences into monetary rewards. While the panelists praised Hulu for building rapid brand awareness, questions of long-term profitability hovered over the proceedings. Can YouTube offset the avalanche of new content with enough diamonds in the rough? How much can producers and new media companies expect to earn from online series? While the panelists agreed that prospects remain promising, many entertainment companies may continue to struggle toward profitability in the short term.