AUSTIN, Texas—Fifteen alumni and students from the Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF) at The University of Texas at Austin screened their films at the Slamdance and Sundance Film Festivals, which started in Park City, Utah this past week.
“While we’ve had numerous students and alums invited to screen their films at Sundance, Slamdance and other prestigious film festivals, this is the highest number of RTF alumni screenings to take place in Park City in the same year,” said Paul Stekler, head of the film production program in the Department of Radio-Television-Film and a Sundance alumnus himself.
Sundance Film Festival, which runs Jan. 20-30, will host 12 University of Texas alumni and students.
“Room,” a feature film written and directed by alumnus Kyle Henry (Master of Fine Arts ’99), is one of six films competing in the Frontier category. The 80-minute narrative fiction filmed in Austin, Houston and New York City, 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.
Six other graduates of the Department of RTF were involved in making the film, including: 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 feature, “The Puffy Chair,” directed by Jay Duplass (bachelor of science ’96) and co-written with and starring his brother Mark (bachelor of science ’96), is one of 15 films competing in the American Spectrum competition. The comedy features Josh Sagers driving cross-country on a mission to deliver his father’s birthday gift—a giant purple LazyBoy. This is the Duplass brothers’ third film to screen at Sundance.
The five-minute comedy, “Flotsam/Jetsam,” written by David Zellner (bachelor of science ’96) and co-directed with his brother Nathan (bachelor of science ’96), is one of 38 films screening in the Dramatic Shorts category. The brothers have written and directed several award-winning short films, animations and music videos, including two features, “Plastic Utopia” and “Frontier.” Their short, “Foxy and the Weight of the World,” makes its debut at Slamdance Film Festival the same week.
Also competing in the Dramatic Shorts category is John Bryant’s (bachelor of science ’96) short film “Oh My God.” Bryant wrote and directed the comedy about a desperate man who comes home to find his family has fallen victim to a brutal attack, and proceeds to frame himself. Bryant also served as director of photography on “Foxy and the Weight of the World” (screening at Slamdance Film Festival) and was a member of the production crew on “The Puffy Chair” (also screening at Sundance Film Festival).
Five University of Texas at Austin alumni and students are screening at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, Jan. 21-28 in Park City.
Courtney Davis (Master of Fine Arts ’03) wrote and directed the four-minute animated film “Milton is a Shitbag,” which is one of nine short films competing in Anarchy, Slamdance’s online short film competition. The winning film will be determined by the most votes. The public is encouraged to vote at the Anarchy Web site.
Melissa Henry Pratt (Master of Fine Arts ’04) directed and edited the 18-minute film “Below the Break” about a young paraplegic woman venturing out into the singles scene in New Orleans. Master of Fine Arts candidate Paul Gordon was director of photography on the film, which will makes its world premiere in the Gallery Shorts competition
“Foxy and the Weight of the World,” written and directed by David Zellner and produced by his brother Nathan, will make its world premiere in the Short Narrative competition. The nine-minute film is about a despicable young man, at the end of his life, espousing his comically bleak and bitter worldview to his only friend, his dog Foxy.
About Sundance Film Festival
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 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.
About Slamdance Film Festival
Slamdance Film Festival, considered an alternative to Sundance Film Festival, was started in 1995 by a group of independent filmmakers. It is a year-round organization dedicated to emerging filmmakers and their vision. Slamdance Film Festival has established a unique reputation for premiering independent films by first-time directors working with limited budgets. The festival continues to be true to its roots and is organized and programmed by active filmmakers. Past Slamdance films have been picked up for distribution, invited to festivals around the world and have won Independent Spirit Awards, the Palm D’Or, and an Academy Award Oscar®. Slamdance Film Festival alumni include “Memento” Director Christopher Nolan, the Emmy Award-winning Russo brothers and “Monster’s Ball” Director Marc Forster.
For more information contact: Erin Geisler, College of Communication, 512-475-8071.