Jan. 11, 2013/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu




Selections include three films written and directed

by School of Filmmaking alumni 

WINSTON-SALEM – More than 30 alumni of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) School of Filmmaking and the School of Drama worked on ten of the 115 films that will be screened at Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 17-27 in Park City, Utah.

Three films written and directed by UNCSA film alumni have been selected in competition and out-of-competition categories.

MUD, written and directed by Jeff Nichols (2001), was selected for the out-of-competition Spotlight category, which presents films that have dazzled audiences at film festivals around the globe. 

PRINCE AVALANCHE, written, directed and co-produced by David Gordon Green (1998) will be screened in the out-of-competition Premieres category, which showcases some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year. Craig Zobel (1999) and Lisa Muskat (former faculty member in Film) produced the film.

THIS IS MARTIN BONNER, written and directed by Chad Hartigan (2004), was selected in the Next category, which recognizes pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling.

“It is truly remarkable for UNCSA to have this many alumni working on so many films screening at the Sundance Film Festival, including MUD, PRINCE AVALANCHE and THIS IS MARTIN BONNER.  It is testament to the caliber of talent graduating from the School of the Arts,” said Interim Dean of Filmmaking Susan Ruskin.

“We are proud that our alumni are making a difference in the profession, and in all aspects of the profession,” she added, pointing out additional alumni in the crews and the casts of the films written by Nichols, Green, and Hartigan, as well as in six other films chosen by Sundance.

Alumni worked on two additional films selected in the Next <=> category: I USED TO BE DARKER, with Alex Bickel (2004) as colorist; and MILKSHAKE, with Ian Bloom (2005) as director of photography.

In the Premieres category, Jennifer Haire (Film 2002) was production coordinator on the additional photography unit DON JON’S ADDICTION, and Steve Coulter (Drama 1981) appears in A.C.O.D.

In the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, which offers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film, alumni worked on three films: AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, with Michael Sledd (2001) as co-producer and Jane Rizzo (1998) as editor; KILL YOUR DARLINGS, with Gilana Lobel (2005) as assistant production coordinator, Shakim Coleman (2011) as accounting clerk, and Dane DeHaan (Drama high school 2004 and BFA 2008) appearing as Lucien Carr; and MOTHER OF GEORGE, with Bickel as colorist.

MUD stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and Michael Shannon in the story of two teenage boys who encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.

Other Film alumni who are credited for work on MUD include:

·         Adam Stone (1999), cinematographer;

·         Richard Wright (1999), production designer;

·         Elliott Glick (2004), art director;

·         Will Files (2002), sound designer;

·         Clint Smith (2002), dialogue editor;

·         Dylan Conrad (2010), b camera 1st Assistant Camera;

·         Neil Moore (2002), c camera operator and director of photography;

·         Matthew A. Petrosky (2000), a camera operator and Steadicam;

·         Darius Shahmir (2001), electronic press kit;

·         Matt Zboyovski (2001), office production assistant;

·         Doug Ligon (2001), appeared as a motel clerk.

Additionally, Michael Abbott Jr., a 2000 alumnus of the School of Drama, appeared as James.

PRINCE AVALANCHE, filmed secretly in Austin, Texas, stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch in a remake of the Icelandic film EITHER WAY.

Alumni of the School of Filmmaking who worked on PRINCE AVALANCHE include:

·         Tim Orr (1998), cinematographer;

·         Wright, production designer;

·         Chris Gebert (2000), production sound mixer;

·         Steve Pedulla (1999), best boy electric;

·         Files, sound designer;

·         Devoe Yates (1998), music supervisor;

·         Scott Gardner (1999) still photographer;

·         Shahmir, electronic press kit and behind the scenes;

·         Smith, dialogue editor;

  • Bickel, colorist


THIS IS MARTIN BONNER stars Paul Eenhoorn, Richard Arquette and Sam Buchanan. Martin Bonner has just moved to Reno for a new job in prison rehabilitation. Starting over at age 58, he struggles to adapt until an unlikely friendship with an ex-con blossoms, helping him confront the problems he left behind.

Film alumni credited for THIS IS MARTIN BONNER include:

·         Sean McElwee (2004), director of photography;

·         Nate Brown (2004) as gaffer;

·         Bickel as colorist;

·         Marc Ripper (2004) as print graphics and design;

·         Matt Goldberg (2004) as budget consultant;

·         Brendan McFadden (2004) as spiritual adviser.

Additionally, Tarah DeSpain (Drama 2002) appeared as a waitress.

More than 12,000 films were submitted for consideration by the Sundance Institute, sponsors of the festival. Robert Redford is president and founder of the institute.

UNCSA has additional connections to Sundance. Rebecca Green (2001) is manager of producing initiatives  at the institute, and Summer Shelton (2008) was the first Bingham Ray Producing Fellow at the institute. The fellowship is named for a producer and executive who died last year, but for many years was a fixture at the Sundance Festival. Shelton’s was one of only 11 projects selected for the institute’s prestigious Creative Producing Labs and Creative Producing Summit.

As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.



*Editor’s Note: All alumni are School of Filmmaking alumni except where noted as School of Drama alumni.