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Aspiring Scorseses and Coppolas
Display Talent at Student Film Festival

May 19, 2009

By Christine Clark

Still from “Juiced” by Royce Choi.
Still from “Juiced” by Royce Choi.

Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Tim Burton first began producing films as university undergraduates. “That’s why it’s essential to support the burgeoning talent of students,” says Rebecca Webb, founding film curator of UC San Diego’s ArtPower. She is championing the work of student filmmakers with the second annual Up & Coming Student Film Festival, beginning 6:30 p.m., May 21 at The Loft on the UC San Diego campus.

Nine films selected from 32 entries all will receive awards for everything from editing to sound design and direction. “This event is really the culmination of a large effort to support UC San Diego’s filmmakers,” said Webb. “The caliber of this year’s films is stunning.”

The films were judged by a panel of distinguished film critics who will attend the festival. Panelists include Beth Accomando, KPBS film critic; Joyce Axlerod, founding chair of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival; Oren Sarch, film editor (“Pi”); Jay Drose, UC San Diego alumnus and screenwriter; Tara Knight, award-winning animator and associate director of UC San Diego’s Sixth College; Anders Wright, San Diego Citybeat film critic; Michael Trigillio, award winning multimedia artist and UC San Diego Visual Arts faculty, and Ligiah Villalobos, writer and executive producer of the award winning feature film “Under the Same Moon” (“La Misma Luna”).

Last year’s films were more introspective, but this year’s selections deal with global themes and pop culture, according to Webb. Films, such as Edward Kim’s comedy “That One Student Film,” parodied “the Office.” “These films talk about what’s going on in our culture and really speak to identity,” Webb said.

The nine films selected for the festival will be honored by a distinguished panel of film critics.
The nine films selected for the festival will be honored by a distinguished panel of film critics.

The selection of short films includes two entries by UC San Diego senior Zack Schamberg. Schamberg’s “Childlike,” featuring 10-year-old actor Brock Epperson, is about a mature youngster. His other film, “Robert Koch is 90,” is a documentary about Schamberg’s step-grandfather who was married to his grandmother from 1991 until her death in 1999. “He is extremely able-bodied, sharp, and articulate,” Schamberg said. “I spent a weekend with him, probing him for life stories and driving him to the gym, the barbershop and the grocery store.”

Webb said Schamberg’s work is impressive. “He’s very humble, but a great craftsmen,” she said. “I think he has a real future in filmmaking.”

Other winners include Royce Choi’s environmentally conscious short, “Juiced,” a film with exquisite cinematography.

The festival will start off on May 19 with an installment of Press Rewind ’09 which will feature a series of student films by famous filmmakers such as Gus Van Sant, Alexander Payne, Todd Solondz and Wes Anderson.

“I want to illustrate that a director’s signature voice can be seen in his or her student films,” Webb said. “The films also make these famous directors’ work more accessible.”

Thursday’s ceremony will begin with an eclectic mix of live music performed by the Artichoke Collective (formerly known as Matt Swagler and the Dirty Birds) at 6:30 p.m. and a pizza party. The student film screenings will be followed by an award ceremony, and panel discussion.

“My idea is to have each panelist highlight one of the student films,” Webb said. “They’ll also discuss some of the film’s themes. This is an event designed to elevate the students’ films, but it also will help students network and meet people who work in the film industry.”

Admission to Press Rewind ‘09 ranges is $7 for the general public, $6 for members and $4 for UC San Diego students. The Up & Coming Film Festival is free to all, but donations will be requested at the door.


Media Contact: Christine Clark, 858-534-7618 or ceclark@ucsd.edu

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