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The 2015 PBS Online Film Festival: Your Vote Counts!

by Mark Burger

There are only 25 films that were selected for the 2015 PBS Online Film Festival, and two of them were produced right here in the Piedmont Triad by students from the School of Filmmaking at the UNCSA School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.

The contest is scheduled to run through Friday, July 17. People can view and vote for the films of their choice simply by going to http://www.pbs.org/filmfestival/home/. You can vote once each day, on any device, for any device, for the film of your choice.

The two School of Filmmaking selections are Helpless, a seven-minute film made by second-year students, including writer/producer Evan Scott Russell, director Scott Russell, director Christene Hurley, cinematographer Chris Ellison, editor Isaac Banks, and a cast including Russell and UNCSA School of Drama students Dylan Arnold and Mary Mattison Vallery. The filmmakers all graduated this May, and Russell and Hurley were among those up-and-coming filmmakers selected as two of “110 Students to Watch” in the annual Entertainment Education Report published in the April 28 issue of Variety.

This is only the latest accolade for Helpless, which has screened at a dozen film festivals and won “best of category” honors at seven festivals, including Best Short Film from Women In Film & Television at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival.

The second UNCSA School of Filmmaking “nominee” in the 2015 PBS Online Film Festival is Kilroy Was Here, which was a senior thesis film made by writer/director Charlie Boyles, producers Laurka Marciniak Kobylanski and Dustin Bricker, cinematographer Dave Martin, sound designer Zach Seivers, art director Rhea Lidowski, editor Andrew Corvey, and composer Seth Neuffer, with 2015 graduate Tori Lancaster playing the pivotal role of the orphan girl Amelie.

Kilroy Was Here has also earned its share of acclaim, with Boyles winning two Angelus Awards for the film. Boyles is currently working on a new screenplay; Kobylanski recently worked as an assistant to producer Aaron Ryder on the 2014 sci-fi feature Transcendence (which starred Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall and Morgan Freeman); Seivers has opened Snap Sound in Los Angeles, an Emmy-winning post-production sound company; Corvey worked as the after-effects editor on Max Votolato’s upcoming feature documentary Freeway City and as the editor of the 2015 Grammy Prediction Special; Neuffer won a Gold Medal award from the Park City Film Music Festival for his work on Kilroy Was Here and has composed for the NBC fantasy series “Believe,” MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo starring Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo and UNCSA Drama graduate Trieste Kelly Dunn, created by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and Mark Friedman, as well as the upcoming TV movie Wackademia. Lancaster, who graduated in May with a concentration in production design, was also named as one of “110 Students to Watch” in the Variety Entertainment Education Report.

UNC-TV, which is presenting the films on PBS, originally broadcast Kilroy Was Here during its “N.C. Visions” programming and broadcast Helpless on “North Carolina Now” when the contest commenced June 15.

The PBS Online Film Festival was inaugurated in 2012, and has since featured a wide selection of films from PBS member stations, POV, and in collaboration with such public-television producers as the Center for Asian American Media, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), and Vision Maker Media. To date, the PBS Online Film Festival has attracted over 1 million video streams and over 100,000 votes during its fouryear existence.

For more information about this and other goings-on at UNCSA, check out the official website: www.uncsa.edu. !

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