The Sarasota Film Festival today unveiled a marketing campaign built around artwork designed by students at Ringling College of Art and Design. The reveal showcased more than just new work by artists Gisselle Tirse and Nikelle Mackey, but a collaboration between the region’s most high-profile film exhibition and a school with a growing reputation in the cinematic arts. Continue reading Sarasota Film Festival reveals Ringling College-made posters
What began with a casting call at the Ringling College of Art and Design last year culminated in a movie premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last week, and the chance for some students and graduates to enter the biggest event each year in the world of independent film. Tim Sutton’s Dark Knight opened to critical affirmation—and gave the Sarasota film scene a moment of celebration.
The film, co-produced by Ringling College and David Shapiro of Semkhor Networks, premiered at the Utah Festival on Jan. 24, with a group of connected Ringling students and graduates on hand to meet with film industry leaders. Outlets including The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have offered raves of the movie and director Sutton, who last year arrived in Sarasota ready to be inspired by the talent. ““What I do is to go have interesting talent and look at their backstory, then create characters mixing my imagination with their real lives,” Sutton told SRQ Backlot last year. The result of the process this time was a movie tackling the public psychology surrounding mass shootings (including the infamous Colorado shooting at a screening for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises).
Tony Stopperan, a filmmaker who has also been involved with heavily Ringling-staffed productions The Lucky 6 and Paradise, FL, served as an associate producer on the film and was amazed by the product and the Sundance experience. “The most striking thing the real power filmmakers have to be agents of change” Stopperan told SRQ. “From Tim’s Dark Night adding its voice to the conversation on gun violence, to Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation for the value in diversity of story and casting, Sundance is a platform that affects change. We were with both filmmakers and their respective casts and crews to celebrate their films, and I have never felt more empowered by them and the energy toward progress.” Stopperan was among 14 Ringling students, grads and representatives connected to the Dark Night.
Ringing officials, of course, also celebrated the premiere. College spokesman Rich Schineller, who also attended the premiere, noted that other productions also had Ringing connections. Adrien Grenier’s Lonely Whale, which the actor-turned-director teased early in the production process during a visit to Ringing College, was marketed with a logo designed by Ringing student Dania Hamad.”No other college is providing collaborative experiential professional work opportunities to students before graduation and preparing them for professional success like Ringling College is,” Schineller said.
And Jeanne Corcoran, Sarasota Film and Entertainment Office director, noted that another film, Kate Plays Christine, was filmed largely in Sarasota. The film is about an infamous suicide by Sarasota television journalist Christine Chubbuck on-air. Amazingly, another Sundance film, Christine, covers the same story. Corcoran said filmakers for that movie did research in Sarasota but ultimately shot elsewhere.
Disney no longer has an animation house in Florida, but former CEO Michael Eisner still thinks having one here would be a great idea. “I though Florida was a great place for an animation studio,” he told SRQ. While he said having a working animation department at Disney Hollywood Studios when the park opened was mostly so people knew the studios weren’t all phony, he was pleased the Florida team produced such content as Brother Bear and Lilo and Stitch. “Florida became a great hotbed of creativity. It still is, with many animators coming out of Ringling, out of all parts of Florida. And there are all kinds of production still in Florida.”
Eisner discussed the matter during a media roundtable shortly before a speech at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, where he also touched on video streaming, social media and leadership. He was the first guest this year for the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series. Today, Eisner runs his own company, The Tornante Company, which involved in a range endeavors from global sports media branding at Topps to creating entertainment content such as Netflix exclusive show BoJack Horseman.
But while he wades these days in new video, the former Paramount Pictures president said reports of network television’s death were premature. “People though television would kill movies; movies are still alive,” he said. “It doesn’t happen. What happens is one and one adds up to 2.5. The audience just grows bigger, and the is more available access to programming. But when that transition happens, existing media gets very nervous.”
Streaming video has changed plenty of things in terms of the lifespan of content, he says. He noted that Bojack Horseman has started winning critics awards as the show prepares for a third season. “It took a year and a half for people to say the show is fantastic,” Eisner said. “Years ago, they would say that in the third week, but it would be off in the third week. It takes so much longer to attract an audience, but when you do, they are very loyal.”
The biggest change from streaming outlets, though, is the sheer volume of content. He noted 300 new television shows will premiere on some outlet in the next three months, an amount that dwarfs what happened in the days when putting Roots on ABC as a mini-series seemed an unprecedented act for television. “There’s a lot of junk,” he joked. “We always seem to maintain our level of junk.” Of course, he also acknowledged that demands weeding through plenty of broadcast detritus.
As for that, while he acknowledged the power of social media and uses Instagram himself to keep up with grandchildren, the best way for a show to find an audience is no different than it has always been. “People are agonizing over Snapchat or Twitter or whatever, but I don’t think that has replaced verbal reach,” he said. “People still do get together on occasion. They go to school on occasion. They still have families. Word-of-mouth is still the most part of marketing.”
The 2016 Milman-Kover Jewish Film Festival will kick off with a showing of Wayne Kopping’s Beneath The Helmet and close with Dani Menkin’s On The Map. The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee announced this week that the event, scheduled for March 6 through 13, will include screenings throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties.
“We plan to add matinee screenings at several local venues—to make it easier for audiences to see all the films,” said Roz Goldberg, festival co-chair. “In addition, we planned exciting special events—and special guests—that will greatly enhance the festival experience.” A complete list of films, times and locations will be released in January. Continue reading ‘Beneath the Helmet,’ ‘On The Map’ to screen at Milman-Kover Festival
At a quarterly meeting last week, leaders for Film Florida decided to hold the organization’s annual meeting in Sarasota. The event, tentative slated for late June, will bring the biggest voices in film to this area for an annual awards event and to discuss its policy agenda. Of course, one of those voices is here full time. Jeanne Corcoran, Sarasota County Film and Entertainment Office director and co-chair for the Florida Film Commissioners Council, spoke with SRQ about Film Florida’s policy focus in the coming year. Continue reading Corcoran Presses for Florida to Renew Incentives
ManaSota Films founder Mark Troy continues his mission to create a vibrant and active local film scene with the creation of a new intercity endeavor entitled the Essay Film Collaborative, uniting filmmakers in Sarasota-Bradenton with like-minded creatives in Savannah, Georgia and San Diego, California. Continue reading Introducing The Essay Film Collaborative: Intercoastal Adventures with Mark Troy
Thanks to the partnership between Ringling College of Art and Design and Semkhor Productions, Hollywood actors and brothers Christian and Justin Long are bringing their latest project to Ringling’s campus, where they will work in tandem with a team of select students to bring the show from page to screen. A now-untitled web-series that Justin describes as either “a comedy masquerading as a travel show, or a travel show masquerading as a comedy,” the initial goal is eight episodes, with a tentative goal of a summer release. David Shapiro, co-founder of Semkhor, will also be joining the endeavor in an executive producing role, as will iconic writer/director Kevin Smith, though in an unspecified capacity. Continue reading Actors Christian and Justin Long Bring Web-Series to Ringling College, Talk Mentorship, Kevin Smith and The Freedom of the Web