University of Texas Film Institute's first film 'The Quiet' to screen in theaters nationwide Sept. 1

AUSTIN, Texas—“The Quiet,” the first film from The University of Texas Film Institute and its for-profit production company, Burnt Orange Productions, will make its theatrical debut in Los Angeles and New York City tomorrow, and on 300 screens nationwide next Friday, Sept. 1. A benefit screening will take place in Austin on Aug. 30.

“The Quiet,” which was among a handful of screenplays included in the 2003 Sundance Institute Filmmakers Lab, was invited to screen at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and is being distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. The film features Elisha Cuthbert, Camilla Belle, Martin Donovan, Shawn Ashmore and Edie Falco in an intense story about family secrets, friendship, trust and betrayal. “The Quiet” was directed by Jamie Babbit from a screenplay by Micah Schraft and Abdi Nazemian. 

“The Quiet” was photographed on high definition (HD) digital video and was shot in various Austin locations in September and October 2004. While the film employed professional actors and crewmembers in principal roles, 36 University of Texas at Austin undergraduate and graduate students—from the colleges of Liberal Arts, Communication and Fine Arts, the schools of Architecture and Law, and the McCombs School of Business—worked on the film in all stages of production. Graduate students worked as apprentices in roles ranging from camera assistant and assistant editor, to still photographer and DVD producer. Undergraduate students worked as interns in various capacities from accounting and office management, to set production, props and costumes, to casting and publicity.

“This was a tremendous learning opportunity for all the students involved in the making of ‘The Quiet.’ Where else can students gain hands-on, real-world training in feature filmmaking by working alongside experienced professionals as part of their college curriculum?” said Dr. Thomas Schatz, executive director of The University of Texas Film Institute and executive producer of the film. “Many of these students have graduated and gone on to careers in the film industry both on the coasts and here in Austin.”

“Working on the set of ‘The Quiet’ for five weeks enabled me to learn the nuts and bolts of production on a professional film set,” said Jeremy Rodgers (M.F.A. ’04), who worked as second assistant cameraman and is working as a cameraman on several television and film productions in Texas. “I not only learned on-set protocol, but also gained invaluable experience working alongside the talented cinematographer David Mullen each day, which will undoubtedly help me work as a director of photography one day.”

In the film, popular cheerleader Nina Deer’s (Cuthbert) world is turned upside down when her parents adopt a recently orphaned deaf girl, Dot (Belle). But in this suburban home, things are not what they seem. Dot’s arrival puts a crack in Nina’s idyllic social life and the dark secrets her family harbors soon become exposed. Nina’s friends, including the handsome Connor (Ashmore), develop an odd fascination with the newcomer and confide to her their darkest secrets. Dot quietly shoulders the burdens of those around her while hiding her own secrets. The movie features Falco and Donovan as Nina Deer’s parents. The film is rated R.

The University of Texas Film Institute is hosting a benefit screening of “The Quiet” to honor the students’ work and help underwrite the costs of funding The University of Texas Film Institute internship program, including fellowships and financial awards for student interns and apprentices. Many of the students who worked on “The Quiet” will be in attendance.  Admission is $10 per person and tickets can be purchased online at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas (use the pull-down menu to find the Aug. 30 screening).

For more information contact: Erin Geisler, The University of Texas at Austin, 512-475-8071, or Gregory Collins, Burnt Orange Productions, 512-232-5944.