Oscar and Tony Award-nominated actor, screenwriter and director Ethan Hawke visited Ringling College of Art and Design this week, where he met with students, led a master class and discussed the possibility of future projects with the college. Hawke, known for his numerous collaborations with acclaimed director Richard Linklater (including Boyhood) and his Oscar-nominated turn in Training Day opposite Denzel Washington, recently worked with four Ringling College interns on his latest film Blaze, about cult musician Blaze Foley, which he wrote and directed and is set to release in 2018. Yesterday afternoon, Hawke took a moment with SRQ to talk about the joy of working with students, breaking into film and the future of production. Continue reading A Word With Ethan Hawke at Ringling College
Sarasota filmmaker and Ringling College graduate Tony Ahedo heads to St. Petersburg today, where the pilot episode of his new web-series, Barry Baker: Aspiring Serial Killer, will premiere as an Official Selection of the Sunscreen Film Festival. Written and directed by Ahedo and starring Peter Konowicz, the planned series follows the bloody and comedic escapades of an earnest but inept Barry Baker as he struggles to find the courage and faculty to brutalize his officemates. Says Ahedo, “Nobody starts as a professional.” Continue reading Tony Ahedo Brings Aspiring Serial Killer To Life
When a bully steals his favorite action figure, a daring middle schooler resorts to breaking and entering in an attempt to get it back, discovering a mortifying secret in the process. A short film from writer/director Benny Davis, G.I. Jack resurrects the classic over-the-top charm of a child’s adventure while infusing wry heart. Continue reading No Toy Left Behind: Benny Davis and “G.I. Jack”
There was a time nearly every feature-length film in the country was shot in Los Angeles or New York. But when actor-director Helen Hunt wanted to shoot a movie about surfing in Venice, California, many were suggesting she could save money shooting elsewhere. In the end, she she went ahead and shot in California, but acknowledged most filmmakers these days will go to Louisiana or Canada ahead of shooting an independent film in Southern California. “This was very rare, to have a small movie [shot in L.A.],” Hunt said. Continue reading Helen Hunt says filmmaking process in constant change
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.
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