Cinequest 2013: At Spartan Studios, San Jose State students get their shot
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“Cinequest gives the students something to shoot for, something to dream about,” says SJSU teacher Barnaby Dallas, who runs Spartan alongside teacher Nick Martinez. “You never know who will see your screening and where that might lead.”
Dallas is also a script doctor at DreamWorks, so he knows the standards expected in the reel world. He and Martinez try to teach the students that showbiz is more about elbow grease than glitz and glamour.
“It’s a grind,” says Martinez, producer and co-director of Spartan. “We work 13 hours a day for 25 days. That’s the reality.”
Students start at the bottom of the rung by catering and work their way through costume, makeup and lighting. By graduation, they are no longer greenhorns.
Here’s a great article on our program and the upcoming Cinequest Film Festival.
Please pass it on. http://www.metroactive.com/features/spartan-films.html
Meet the Spartans
A summer program at SJSU gives novice filmmakers a chance to create a feature at a fraction of the price of NYU or USC
One of the best film schools you’ve never heard of: San Jose State University’s student training facility Spartan Films, which for the last 12 years has led students through summer feature-length filmmaking workshops. As Barnaby Dallas, the coordinator of production at the studio says, “We have something in common with Woody Allen—we’re also always making one film a year.”
“It’s like a chemistry lab or any other training facility,” says Martinez. “We’re training the kids, with the idea of a real film at the end. It’s safe, but it’s college. You’re supposed to push the envelope.”
“You can fail,” Dallas says.
“Sometimes you do,” Martinez adds.
Dallas explains: “That’s not how we measure our success, anyway. It’s the training and the education the students get that matters. Some of their films play in Cinequest or smaller film fests. But just because some of the films Spartan makes lack that home-run quality, the students still get trained.”
Best of Festival:
Liam Goulding, San Jose State University; Rasputin’s Resurrection (Feature)
Liam writes, “Rasputin’s Resurrection is about the clone of the early 20th Century Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, who is brought back–along with other significant, and “evil”–historical figures, in an attempt to prove that nuture is stronger than nature.
The obscure, and often misunderstood, Rasputin has always interested me for the sole fact that not much is truly known about him. His history, it seems, has more or less been pieced together by the sordid accounts of those closest to him and those who simply thought he was indeed either a holy man or the antichrist.
Films have been made about Rasputin, yes, but none of them have utilized the potential the Rasputin “character” would have in a modern setting (or, in this case, a post-modern setting).”
Darren H. Rae, San Jose State University; Park Arcadia
Darren writes, “Shehbaz and I co-wrote this short together. We wanted to write a piece that we would want to make ourselves. We both love films with deep characters, science-fiction, and a sense of magic. The basis of the story came from an idea I have had for many years. We wanted to create a story that both could be visually stunning but take the audience on a roller coaster of emotion taking them on a crazy adventure that ends with a bang. We believe that a film should have an underlaying theme throughout it and for this one it is fate. No matter how powerful someone is or how much they try to run from their past, every action has consequences and sometimes it is best to let things be. Our plans for the future of this script is to take it to its ultimate form and create an amazing short.”
2nd Place: Joshua Klein, San Jose State University; Striker
3rd Place: Dan Koskie, San Jose State University; Friend Triangle
Dan comments, “My screenplay, Friend Triangle was inspired by real events in my life that seem like a million years ago, and I was personally inspired to write it by Mr. Barnaby Dallas and his amazing screenwriting class.”
These awards are SUCH A BIG DEAL, that the CSU Chancellor’s office (NOT SJSU Campus, but the leader of the ENTIRE CSU SYSTEM) bought an ad of congratulations to be placed in the BEA Program this year! VERY EXCITING!
2013 CSU Chancellor’s Office BEA Ad
Congratulations Dr. Drew Todd!
Drew Todd with his research assistant, Max Todd.
Dr. Todd’s article “Marked Woman (1937) and the Dialectics of Art Deco in the Classical Gangster Genre” has been published in the peer-reviewed, online journal Film, Fashion & Consumption (1.3, December 2012).
Drew explains, “The subject is one I’ve been interested in for a while, that of the relationship between Art Deco movie design (from the 1920s and 1930s, especially) and ideologies of gender, economics, and consumerism. The article allowed me to combine this specialization with another area of interest, one I’ve taught in RTVF, that of crime films and, more specifically, the gangster genre.”
Here’s the abstract of the article:
In this article, I analyse the function of Art Deco designs in the 1930s gangster genre and, in particular, Warner Brothers’ Marked Woman (Bacon, 1937). Like many gangster films of the period, it associates high-style Art Deco with excess and the criminal underworld. My findings, however, reveal a tension between the film’s moralist stance and its visual excess. Compelling visual signifiers of leisure, style and social mobility, the modern designs are free to circumvent the film’s critical message and reinforce American capitalist ideologies. My analyses underscore Art Deco as an emblematic style of commercial modernity. Marked Woman and other gangster films not only reflect the latest trends in design, but also negotiate a constellation of values, ideologies and desires at a time of social and economic volatility.
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