March 14, 2013/For Immediate Release

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


UNCSA has multiple connections to films screening at South By Southwest Festival

(Winston-Salem) Alumni and students of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) worked on and starred in at least six films being screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival, now under way in Austin, Texas. Three of the films will also be screened at RiverRun International Film Festival, April 12-21 in Winston-Salem.

South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival is part of an annual event that offers a unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery. It ends Sunday.

Trieste Kelly Dunn, a 2004 graduate of the School of Drama, stars in LOVES HER GUN, a romantic tragedy premiering in the Narrative Spotlight category, for high-profile films making their world, North American, or U.S. premieres. Dunn plays Allie, who flees violence in New York for the laid back environment in central Texas. Once she settles into Austin she falls into the local gun culture and some of her same worries come back to haunt her.

It is Dunn’s second film to premiere at South by Southwest. She also starred in 2010's COLD WEATHER. She currently stars in Cinemax's "Banshee."

UNCSA’s School of Filmmaking has ties to five films, including two world premieres:

·        WHITE REINDEER, written, directed, edited and produced by Zach Clark (2005), is scheduled in the Visions category for “audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape that demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.” It was also selected for RiverRun Film Festival in Winston-Salem. 

Alex Sablow (2004) was first assistant cameraman on the film, and Maggie Ross (2005) appears as a grocery store clerk.

WHITE REINDEER focuses on Suzanne, who, after an unexpected tragedy, searches for the true meaning of Christmas during one sad, strange December in suburban Virginia.  

IndieWire.com gave the film an A-minus, noting, “The filmmaker rises to an enticing challenge with a cryptic, slowly engrossing approach. WHITE REINDEER eagerly pokes the mythology surrounding the holiday season narrative to find something hauntingly beautiful lurking beneath it.”

·        HOLY GHOST PEOPLE, screening in the Narrative Spotlight category, was filmed in summer 2012 in Cookeville, Tenn. Several current Film students worked on the film. They include: Leah Caddigan, a junior from Winterville, N.C., production assistant and talent runner; Jubilate Cox, a sophomore from Southern Pines, N.C., wardrobe intern; Jack Caswell, a sophomore from Wilmington, N.C., key grip; John DeKemper, a sophomore from Huntersville, N.C., makeup intern; Michelle Shiraziefard, a sophomore from Mathews, N.C., production assistant; and Gabrielle Lui, a senior from Jackson, Tenn., production office coordinator.

HOLY GHOST PEOPLE focuses on Charlotte, who, on the trail of her missing sister, enlists the help of Wayne, an ex-Marine and alcoholic, to infiltrate the Church of One Accord -- a community of snake-handlers who risk their lives seeking salvation in the Holy Ghost.

Three films with alumni connections to the School of Filmmaking are included in the Festival Favorites program of acclaimed standouts and selections from festivals around the world.

They include MUD, written and directed by Jeff Nichols (2001); PRINCE AVALANCHE, written, directed and co-produced by David Gordon Green (1998); and DON JON’S ADDICTION, for which Jennifer Haire (2002) was production coordinator on the additional photography unit.

MUD will also screen at RiverRun, and Nichols will receive the festival’s Emerging Master award. MUD screened at Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for a Palm d’Or at Cannes Film Festival.

MUD stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and Michael Shannon in the story of two teen-age 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; Matthew A. Petrosky (2000), a camera operator and Steadicam; Dylan Conrad (2010), b camera 1st Assistant Camera; Neil Moore (2002), c camera operator and director of photography; Darius Shahmir (2001), electronic press kit; Matt Zboyovski (2001), office production assistant; and Doug Ligon (2001), appeared as a motel clerk.

Additionally, Michael Abbott Jr., a 2000 alumnus of the School of Drama, appears as James in MUD.

PRINCE AVALANCHE, filmed secretly in Austin, Texas, stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch in a remake of the Icelandic film EITHER WAY. Craig Zobel (1999) and Lisa Muskat (former faculty member in Film) produced the film.

PRINCE AVALANCHE also will screen at RiverRun. It was selected for Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, where Green won a Silver Bear Award for his direction of PRINCE AVALANCHE, and where his first feature film, the celebrated GEORGE WASHINGTON, was premiered.

Alumni of the School of Filmmaking who worked on PRINCE AVALANCHE include: Tim Orr (1998), cinematographer; Richard Wright, production designer; Chris Gebert (2000), production sound mixer; Steve Pedulla (1999), best boy electric; Will Files, sound designer; Devoe Yates (1998), music supervisor; Scott Gardner (1999) still photographer; Darius Shahmir, electronic press kit and behind the scenes; Clint Smith, dialogue editor; and Alex Bickel, colorist.

DON JON’S ADDICTION also was selected for Sundance and the Berlin International Film Festival.

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.