Spotlight on the School of Filmmaking

by Mark Burger

The UNCSA School of Filmmaking, whose illustrious list of graduates already includes such acclaimed filmmakers as David Gordon Green (Manglehorn), Jeff Nichols (Mud), Jody Hill (Observe and Report), Danny McBride (HBO’s “Eastbound & Down”) and others, will present a special showcase of eight student films Friday in the Main Theatre of the Studio Village on the UNCSA campus.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, features films produced during the 2014-’15 school year and was curated by Susan Ruskin, the dean of the School of Filmmaking, whose own feature producing credits include the Gene Wilder/ Gilda Radner spoof Haunted Honeymoon (1986) and the surprise action/horror hit Anaconda (1997).

“This screening is billed as ‘the best of the School of Filmmaking,'” Ruskin explained in an official statement, “but it is only some of the best of last year’s work.”

Among the films scheduled are three by 2015 graduates named in Variety’s annual list of 110 student filmmakers to watch: Christene Hurley, Evan Scott Russell, and Tyler Harmon-Townsend. Another filmmaker, West Webb, is currently a finalist for the Heritage Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Cinematography by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). (The award winner will be announced at month’s end.)

“We are proud to present the work of these four exceptional filmmakers, along with films made by many other talented artists,” said Ruskin.

The program includes three films made by fourth-year students (since graduated): Blame, written and directed by Denny Clevinger Jr., produced by Sara Newell, edited by Clevinger and Tyler Harmon-Townsend, also the film’s cinematographer.

No Tip, directed by Christene Hurley, written by Crystal Marze, produced by Michael Samilow, cinematography by West Webb, and original music composed by Jeffrey Barrett, who received a master’s degree in film music composition in May.

Roma Project, written and produced by Evan Scott Russell, directed by Harry Keenan, cinematography by Harmon-Townsend, and original music composed by 2015 graduates Ian Joseph Vogler (who also received a master’s degree in film music composition), and saxophonist Daniel Joseph, who received a bachelor of music degree from the UNCSA School of Music.

Three films are by third-year students who are now seniors:

Every Day Heroes, directed by Caleb Ellis, written by Carrine Boord and Chelsey Cummings, produced by Sofia Thomassaon, cinematography by Drew Barnett, and original music composed by Patrick Willard.

Danny Freud , directed by Madeliene Rae Painter, written by Thomas Campbell and Richard Rogers, produced by Matthew Kenney, cinematography by Jack Deichert, and music composed by Yen-Ming Huang.

Frame Drop, directed by Neil Soffer, written by Soffer and Dalton Price, produced by Santiago Marcos, and cinematography by Jin Kim.

Two second-year films round out the program:

Another Everest, directed and animated by Aleksandre Kosinski. Dri Sommer directed behind-the-scenes footage detailing the making of the film, which will also be shown.

Terms and Conditions, directed by Elizabeth Fletcher, written by Chris Dold, produced by Darrne Dai, and cinematography by Jesse Sanchez-Strauss.

Many of the student filmmakers will be on hand to discuss the making of their films and answer questions. “The talk-back will offer an invaluable opportunity for students to engage with those who have just viewed their work.”


The Main Theatre is located in the School of Filmmaking’s Studio Village on the UNCSA main campus, 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. Showtime is 7:30 pm Friday. Admission is free. For additional information about this and other events at UNCSA, visit the official website: www.