AUSTIN, Texas—“Room,” a feature film written and directed by University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF) alumnus Kyle Henry (Master of Fine Arts ’99), has been selected to make its world premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 20-30 in Park City, Utah.
Six other graduates of the Department of RTF at The University of Texas at Austin were involved in making the film.
An 80-minute narrative fiction filmed in Austin, Houston and New York City, “Room” is the story of a middle-aged Texas woman haunted by visions of a mysterious space that compel her on a journey into the psychic unknown.
“‘Room’ dramatizes the mid-life crisis journey of a working class American woman as she travels from her daytime Houston worries into the woods of New York City at twilight,” Henry said. “Julia Barker’s psychic pilgrimage is plagued with mistakes. However, at the end, she becomes perhaps the unlikely receiver of a consciousness normally reserved for the saints and the lamas.”
An accomplished filmmaker, Henry has directed two feature documentaries: “American Cowboy,” a ’98 Student Academy Award winner, and “University Inc.” (’99), which was underwritten in part by filmmakers Michael Moore and Richard Linklater. His shorts have been broadcast on PBS’ Frame of Mind and IFC/Bravo’s Splitscreen. His short “N.EW Y.ORK C.ASINO” won Best Experimental Short SXSW 2003 and toured international museum/arts centers as part of the Black Maria Film, Un-American and Itinerant Cinema tours.
Henry also is the editor of the Sundance award-winning film “Manito” (’02), the PBS documentaries “Are the Kids Alright?” (’04) and “Learning to Swallow” (’05). He was a 2004 Rockefeller Media Artist Fellowship nominee and is a 2004 Creative Capital Fund finalist. He calls Austin home, and “Room” marks his feature narrative film debut.
“Kyle’s success is no surprise to anyone who had contact with him while he was a student in the University of Texas Master of Fine Arts film program," said Paul Stekler, head of the film production program in the Department of Radio-Television-Film and a Sundance alumnus himself. "He’s a gifted filmmaker. And it’s wonderful that his Sundance premiere will be shared with his talented cinematographer PJ Raval, another recent UT film alum.”
Other University of Texas at Austin Department of RTF alumni involved in the film include: PJ Raval (Master of Fine Arts ’04), cinematographer; Andrea Goodson (bachelor of science ’99), production designer; Chris Keyland (bachelor of science ’03), sound designer; Trent Cumming (bachelor of science ’03), production manager; Sarah Minter (bachelor of science ’01), first assistant director; and Ted Gesing (Master of Fine Arts ’03), production sound. Numerous Department of RTF undergraduate students were involved in the film as production assistants and interns.
The film was produced by Jesse Scolaro, Allen Bain and Darren Goldberg, and executive produced by Jim McKay and Michael Stipe.
The 2005 Sundance Film Festival considered 2,613 feature films, including 1,385 U.S. feature films and 1,228 international feature films. This year’s festival includes films from 26 countries, including Angola, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Portugal. Festival films screen in 10 sections: Documentary Competition, Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition, and World Cinema Dramatic Competition, Premieres, American Spectrum, Frontier, Park City at Midnight, Special Screenings, and Sundance Collection. “Room” will screen in the Frontier category along with five other films.
For more information contact: Erin Geisler, The University of Texas at Austin, 512-475-8071, or Allen Bain, The 7th Floor (“Room” Production Company), 212-244-2317.