Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts
May 2015 15
The 2015 Summer Intensive is about to begin!

This year, students will produce four short films ranging in concept from an ill-fated 1950s romance to a modern-day collision of cultures.

During the first two weeks, students will meet with professors and faculty advisors and prepare for the productions.  Over the course of the following four weeks, students will collaborate in different capacities to shoot four short films.  In the final two weeks of the Intensive, students will cut the films together and finalize them for release.

We’re very excited to see what the students will produce, especially the seniors embarking on their last Intensive! It’s going to be a productive, creative, and fulfilling summer.

And stay tuned for our First Cut Screening this fall, when the films will be premiered to the public!

May 2015 15

This week VCUarts Cinema is proud to announce that the head of our program, Dr. Rob Tregenza, is being honored at a retrospective of his films at the Norwegian Film Institute’s Cinematheque!

More details on the retrospective, and background on Dr. Tregenza’s accomplished filmmaking career, can be seen at the NFI’s site here (the article can be translated using Google Chrome).

Feb 2015 23

VCUarts Cinema is excited to host this special seminar on film production in Virginia. The talk is free and open to the public. Guest speakers include VFO director Andy Edmunds, Arvold Talent Agency’s Erica Arvold, entertainment lawyer Kirk T. Schroder, filmmaker Terry Stroud, and director and cinematographer Dr. Rob Tregenza.

 

Jan 2015 13

Angus Macfayden - Macbeth

We are very pleased to officially announce the very first large scale partnership between VCUarts Cinema and the local industry.

VCUarts, with the support of the Virginia Film Office and Virginia Film Commission, is producing a student-crewed feature length 35mm film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The project is written and directed by Angus Macfadyen (Turn, Braveheart), who takes on the titular role, alongside Taylor Roberts (Turn, Mona Lisa Smile), Kevin McNally (Turn, Downton Abbey, Pirates of the Caribbean), and Harry Lennix (The Blacklist, The Matrix 2 & 3, Titus), to name a few.

“VCUarts Cinema is the only undergraduate cinema program in the U.S. shooting a feature film with professional actors on 35mm motion picture film, this is an incredible opportunity for our students,” says Dr. Rob Tregenza.

Under the guidance of faculty members and industry professionals (including costume designer Isabela Tavares, DP Arthur Eng, casting director Anne Chapman, to name a few), Cinema students get direct hands on experience in all areas of production. Additional contributions are being made by the VCUarts student body; sculpture students are creating life-like severed head replicas for props, the music department is recording the score, and theatre students are jumping on board as supporting cast members.

Macbeth is currently being shot in and around Richmond on 35mm cameras. Principal photography is set to wrap in mid-February, at which point the film will enter post-production in anticipation of festival engagements in the second half of 2015.

 

Sep 2014 15

The Summer 2014 Films are being polished and sent off to the DVD press! The First Cut Screening is coming at our heels, and before you know it, the Advanced Film Production class will be firing up with it’s Fall production. Work never stops at the Cinema Department!

Aug 2014 19

Today we had the immense honor of exhibiting some of our work at the VCUarts Depot for our peers! The exhibit coincided with the annual VCUarts meeting; faculty and staff of the entire arts school assembled to discuss the year ahead, followed by a reception during which they mingled, snacked, and perused exhibits.

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Films screened included A Man Could Give Up, In The Sand, The Trailer, Four Bitches and a Gun, and Laila. It was a hit! Many thanks to all the student workers who pulled off such a beautiful display in a very short amount of time!

Aug 2014 17

Big Cinemat sq

Jan 2014 30

A warm thanks to all who braved the snow and came out for our first screening this week! It’s going to be a great semester!

vcuarts cinema

vcuarts cinema

Nov 2013 23

Untitled-4 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us on Tuesday for the FIRST CUT Screening!

Oct 2013 22

VCU students, faculty, and members of the Richmond community filled the seats of the Grace Street Theater last Tuesday evening for a special 35mm screening of the Maysles brothers’ 1969 documentary, Salesman, loaned to VCUarts Cinema directly from Albert Maysles himself. Sitting comfortably at the foot of the stage and waiting patiently to introduce the film was critic, author, and honored guest J.M. Tyree.

The film, a direct look into the lives of Bible salesmen traveling door to door across the East Coast, is considered the first feature length documentary film ever made. We see men ranging from mid 30s to early 50s, some smartly dressed, some slightly harried, all trying their luck at being their own bosses. Masculinity and worth become tied to sales quotas. An immediacy pervades as we follow the salesmen from door to door to, finally, the motel, where 3 to 5 men are crammed into a room at a time. And they review the day’s catch, fully aware that they are both compatriots and competitors to one another, sometimes unable to look one another in the eyes.

“It’s a hard film to watch,” Tyree had warned, and he was right. There is no entirely happy way to talk about America’s vulnerable adolescence, America’s 1960s, or America’s American Dream. Everything you know about Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman makes itself subtly present in this film.

After the screening Tyree encouraged the audience members to stay and ask any questions they might have had about the film. He answered questions regarding the salesmen backgrounds, how the customers of the salesmen reacted to cameras recording them and the criticism the Maysles brothers received for their observational approach to filmmaking and their choice not to acknowledge the camera crew.

Salesman came out in the 1960’s and immediately found itself under scrutiny for its use of direct cinema style. The goal of direct cinema, as Tyree defined, is to “capture real life as it happened using camera and sound technologies that allowed film to capture an unprecedented form of immediacy… To transfer some of the texture of real life onto the movie screen.” With the development of handheld cameras and lightweight sound recording devices in the 1950’s and 1960’s, “the real world seemed open to film in a way it had never before,” Tyree said.

In the world of non-fiction film making, however, it was unprecedented to shoot real life without revealing the camera crews or an interviewer. What made “Salesman” special was the deliberate choice to exclude all indications of the film making process. The content was non fiction, however the presentation was in a movie-like, fiction form; none of the subjects acknowledged the fact that they were being filmed. For this reason, the Mayseles brothers were criticized for manipulating the story through editing.

Tyree was kind enough to extend his visit into Wednesday and speak to the freshmen in the Cinema program about nonfiction film and film criticism. The VCUarts Cinema department would like to thank J.M. Tyree for guest speaking for VCUarts Cinematheque and extending his stay through Wednesday afternoon to share his insights with the freshmen.

J.M. Tyree’s works include BFI Film Classics: Salesman and BFI Film Classics: The Big Lebowski. He also contributes to Film Quarterly and has taught Creative Writing at Stanford University. He was most recently awarded the position of Associate Editor for Nonfiction at New England Review.

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