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Jan. 11, 2012/For Immediate Release (Media: please note local connections below)
Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu


Alumni, Student Films To Be Screened

WINSTON-SALEM – Two alumni from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) School of Filmmaking will return to the Sundance Film Festival this month with films selected in out-of-competition categories, and a film by current film students will be screened at the “alternative” Slamdance Film Festival.

COMPLIANCE, written and directed by Craig Zobel (B.F.A., Directing, 1999) was selected for the Next < = > category, and has multiple connections with UNCSA.

ROBOT AND FRANK, with Michael Sledd (B.F.A. Producing, 2001) as production manager, was selected for the Premieres category at Sundance.

THE SEVERE PSYCHOSIS OF A MUSICLESSMAN, by current students Ian McClerin, Matt Gomez, Dylan Gravley, Daniel Satinoff, Taylor Sommers, Matthew Gorbachov and Daniel Anderegg, will be screened in the noncompetitive Anarchy Shorts category at Slamdance.

Held each January in Park City, Utah, both the Sundance Festival and the Slamdance Festival highlight independent films. Sundance was founded in 1981 by actor/director/producer Robert Redford. Slamdance was created in 1995 by four filmmakers whose films were not chosen by Sundance, and is the only film festival in the world entirely run and organized by filmmakers.

Photo courtesy Sundance Film Festival

“We salute our alumni and look forward to the unique voices of our students and alumni appearing in Park City for many years to come," said UNCSA School of Filmmaking Dean Jordan Kerner.

"It is a remarkable accomplishment that in eight short years the UNCSA School of Filmmaking's alumni have been creatively responsible ‒ via key creative roles such as director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor and actor ‒ for 19 feature films which have screened at the Sundance Institute,” said Kerner. “I am immensely proud of our students’ accomplishments.”

Kerner has first-hand knowledge of Sundance. He was executive producer for MIAMI RHAPSODY, which screened there in 1995. “I know how extremely competitive the festival truly is,” he said.

Sundance includes six competitive categories and seven out-of-competition categories. The Next < = > (less than equals greater than) category recognizes films that stretch limited resources to create impactful art and embody the spirit of independent filmmaking. The Premieres category showcases some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year.

Zobel, from Doraville, Ga., is two for two with Sundance. His first feature film GREAT WORLD OF SOUND was screened there in 2007. The film later was named one of the top 10 independent films of the year by the National Board of Review, and Zobel won the 2008 Gotham Award for Breakthrough Director for the film.


In 2011, Zobel was awarded a grant from the Cinereach Project at Sundance Institute to help with post production on COMPLIANCE. In addition, he participated in the Sundance Institute’s January Screenwriter’s Lab in 2010 with his script CANARY, and was invited to attend the festival as part of his experience as a screenwriter. Zobel also received an Annenberg Film Fellowship Grant to develop CANARY.

Sledd, from Marietta, Ga., is also returning for his second Sundance Film Festival. Sledd was previously unit production manager on HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE, which won the Dramatic Audience Award at Sundance in 2010. Sledd was also unit production manager for THE LAST KEEPERS and DETACHMENT. 

COMPLIANCE stars Ann Dowd, Pat Healy, Dreama Walker, Bill Camp and Phillip Ettinger in a story based on true events. When a prank caller convinces a fast food restaurant manager to interrogate an innocent young employee, no one is left unscathed.

ROBOT AND FRANK stars Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Liv Tyler. Written by Christopher Ford and directed by Jake Schreier, it is the story of a curmudgeonly older dad whose grown kids install a robot as his caretaker.  

In addition to Zobel, COMPLIANCE has many ties to UNCSA. Three 2011 graduates received internships from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to work on the film during the 2010-11 academic year. Messiah Amaram of Raleigh and Aaron Smith of Charlotte, who interned as grips, received B.F.A.s in Directing from the School of Filmmaking. Jessie Gambardella of Edenton, who interned as assistant makeup artist, received an M.F.A. in Makeup Design from the School of Design and Production. Other UNCSA ties to COMPLIANCE include:

·         David Gordon Green from Richardson, Texas (1998, Directing) was executive producer;

·         Lisa Muskat (former faculty member) was a producer;

·         Adam Stone from Charlotte (1999, Cinematography) was cinematographer;

·         Jane Rizzo of Rome, Italy (1998, Editing & Sound) was editor;

·         Will Files from Myrtle Beach, S.C. (2002, Editing & Sound) was sound re-recording mixer;

·         Christof Gebert from Wilmington (2000, Editing & Sound) was sound mixer; and

·         Michael Abbott Jr. from Dandridge, Tenn. (2000, Acting from the School of Drama) appears as Officer Jimmy Palmer.

THE SEVERE PHYCHOSIS OF A MUSICLESS MAN was created by students in the Class of 2012 as their third-year film project. Producer Dylan Gravley, who is from Mount Airy, is the first student filmmaker to be recognized by the Producers Guild of America (PGA) for producing a film in a way that is earth friendly. See: http://www.uncsa.edu/pressreleases/Releases2011/Jun11/GreenFilm.htmas

THE SEVERE PSYCHOSIS OF A MUSICLESS MAN follows a middle-aged family man who hears music in his head, plummeting him into insanity. In addition to Gravley, students involved with the film include:

·         Ian McClerin of Charlotte, director

·         Matt Gomez of Omaha, Neb., screenwriter

·         Daniel Satinoff of North Pam Beach, Fla., cinematographer

·         Taylor Sommers of Raleigh, production designer

·         Matthew Gorbachov of Winston-Salem, editor

·         Daneil Anderegg of Charlotte, composer

In addition to screening and competing with films, UNCSA film alumni have served the Sundance Institute as both panelists and jurors.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.