News & Events

MFA Temple Alumna is the Founder and Director of BlackStar Film Festival

black star film festival

Maori Holmes (sitting in the middle of the row) with BlackStar Film Festival staff

The 2014, third annual BlackStar Film Festival ran between July 31 and August 3 in various venues across University City, Philadelphia. Maori Holmes, an MFA Temple Alumna, is the Founder and the Producing Artistic Director of what was called by Ebony magazine “the black Sundance.”

Created to show independent films produced by black directors working outside mainstream Hollywood, this year’s festival focused on the theme “Music is the Weapon.” Forty films were presented, among them shorts, documentaries and feature-length works from four different continents.

The event held screenings, panels, mixers and workshops with renowned artists and directors such as the acclaimed filmmaker Arthur Jafa, who premiered his documentary, Dreams Are Colder Than Death. Also included was actor Michael K. Williams of The Purge: Anarchy, and HBO’s The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. The Black Star Film Festival also had, for the first time, a closing ceremony and announced many awards including the screenplay competition. The winner, Asia Nichols, will have her short film Stranded produced by the festival and directed by award-winning director Terence Nance.

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Postcards from Climate Change Student Contest, deadline: Jan 5


Festival Description:

Our mission is to showcase and reward the best short films on local climate change stories from student filmmakers from across the United States.  We are looking for climate stories of hope and courage.  We are not looking for films about general environmental issues like recycling or pollution.

The panel of judges will include well-known documentary filmmakers, and climate change experts.  Entries should demonstrate excellence in filmmaking and tell a unique regional climate change story.   Entries should be 5-10 minutes in length.  For examples please see previous postcards.

We are looking for finished works but will consider works in progress (please email to discuss).

Finalist films will premiere at  The Center for Environmental Filmmaking (as part of the Environmental Film Festival in The Nation’s Capital) March 2015. The first place winner will receive a cash prize of $500 and an all-expense paid trip to the premiere.  Additionally, finalist films will be featured on the Postcards From Climate Change website, Greenpeace YouTube channel, and Greenpeace blog.

Check out how to participate here

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MFA Temple Alumna selected one of the 25 new faces of independent film



Heidi Saman became a devotee of Italian neorealist films during her undergraduate studies at  University of California, San Diego. After working in Cairo, Egypt as a freelance journalist she moved to Philadelphia to pursue her MFA in Film and Media Arts degree at Temple University. The neorealist style inspired Saman for her debut feature film Namour that is now on post-production after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Namour is a film that tells the story of Steven Bassem, an Arab-American who is afraid that his temporary job as a valet driver in a fashionable restaurant in LA is turning into his future.

Heidi Saman’s MFA thesis short film The Maid received the Princess Grace Honorarium Award and was selected to premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. It played at festivals worldwide including Slamdance and IndieMemphis. Her second short film, Pears, received the Panavision Equipment Grant Award and screened at festivals and galleries around the globe. Besides making her films, Saman works as an associate producer at National Public Radio’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

The former MFA Temple student was just selected as one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine. Read more about it here.

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Professor Rodney Evans’ film Brother to Brother had a 10th Anniversary screening in LA


BROTHER TO BROTHER, directed by FMA Professor Rodney Evans, had a Tenth Anniversary screening in Los Angeles on  Sunday, June 22nd at the Hammer Museum. The event was sponsored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Outfest Legacy Project and featured a post-screening discussion with Professor Evans.

Outfest-UCLA Legacy Project’s aim is to collect, restore and screen queer film and video.

Rodney Evans’ moving feature film looks back on the Harlem Renaissance from the perspective of an elderly, black writer who meets a gay teenager in a New York homeless shelter.

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Temple Alums highlighted in Variety after successful seasons in Hollywood


Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim started to produce comic videos as film majors. After graduation and a disappointing period in Hollywood, they came back to Philadelphia to make money. Refusing to give up, they continued working on their short movies and in 2002 released The site hosted many of their underground, micro-budget productions.

It was a DVD sent to the right person, Bob Odenkirk, a writer-producer, that put them on a plane back to Hollywood, this time to produce their own content.

After successful seasons of their web series, Heidecker and Wareheim formed Abso Lutely to keep artistic control over their productions, including  “The Eric and Eric Show” (Adult Swim), “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” (featuring Jeff Goldblum and Odenkirk), and Comedy Central’s “Nathan for You,” starring Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder.

It may seem like a film plot, but this is reality!  To read the complete story visit Variety’s web site here.


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FMA Alum’s Film Finalists for the Student Academy Award

sweep Sweepstakes is a finalist for the Student Academy Award. Directed by Mark Tumas when he was a senior student in the Film and Media Arts Undergraduate Program, the short film tells the story of a new mother who reflects about the life she could have had after her husband have suffered a neurological complication.

Forty-one students from 23 U.S. colleges and universities as well as 10 students from foreign universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 41st Student Academy Awards competition. The winning students will be brought to Los Angeles for a week of industry activities and social events that will culminate in the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 7, at 6 p.m., at the DGA Theater in Hollywood.

Sweepstakes was also screened at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in April of 2014 and was awarded the Princess Grace Film Honoraria Grant, read more about it here.

For more information about the Student Academy Award visit their website.

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Temple’s MFA thesis film is a Platinum Remi Award winner at the 47th Worldfest-Houston


Maquette 1:1000 directed by Doris Chia-ching Lin (’12 MFA), a FMA Temple University’s alumnus is a Platinum Remi Award winner at the 47th Worldfest-Houston. WorldFest is one of the oldest and largest film & video competitions in the world, it was founded over 50 years ago as Cinema Arts, an International Film Society in August, 1961. WorldFest became the third competitive international film festival in North America, following San Francisco and New York.

The short film tells the story of a Taiwanese young architect’s self-awareness through the observation of two difference cities. Impacted by the cultural shock in the foreign environment of the West, Lan Lin makes her decision as she is again facing the same experience, unexpected pregnancy. Having the space-sensitive mind of an architect, she also reconstructs her artistic faith in her career within this extraordinary journey.  The film is Lin’s thesis film at Temple UniversityMaquette 1:1000 is also a finalist of the Jury Award (short film) at LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. It was screen on May 3rd in Los Angeles. 

Doris Chia-ching Lin is a filmmaker, multimedia artist and set designer from Taiwan. Her work explores multimedia arts. Check more information about her, please visit her website here.

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Temple University’s Web Series One of the Guys Wins College Emmy

oneof theguysOne of the Guys produced by Temple University students is a winner of the TV Emmy for Best College Series. Created and directed by Michael Busza, a senior student at Temple University Honors Program and produced by Jen Parmer and Jaime Sweet, the half-hour web-based television series follows the escapades of three gay friends and their straight roommate as all four seek love, purpose, and a happy home.

The College Television Awards is a national competition recognizing excellence in college student-produced video, digital and film work. Each year, they receive entries from hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide. Winners are honored with a personalized trophy at the gala in Los Angeles, receive cash awards, industry recognition and the opportunity to network with top television executives.

The web series has already received other grants as the Temple University Media Studies and Production Awards, Temple University Communication Studies Seed Grant; Temple University Creative Arts, Research, and Scholarship Grant; 2013 and 2014 Temple University MarcDavid LGBT Scholarship (awarded to writer/director Michael Busza); Temple University “Temple Made” Designation (awarded to writer/director Michael Busza).

One of the guys started last fall, and the last episode will be will premiere online in April 2014. Watch the episodes including the winner Episode 5 here.

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Professor Rea Tajiri’s film Lordville to screen at LA Asian Pacific Film Fest

LORDVILLE_lamprey1_300dpiLordville, directed by Temple University FMA Professor Rea Tajiri, will be screened on May 4th at the LA Asian Pacific Film Fest.

Celebrating the 30th year, the festival presents over 140 films from more then 20 different countries featuring World Premieres, Sneak Previews; Showcasing Documentaries and Narratives Focusing on the Voices of Asian Pacific Americans and Asian Peoples from Around the World.

The documentary was described as …a film which positions Tajiri at the forefront of current conversations about hybrid documentary form…” by the independent curator and educator Chi-hui Yang, who is also Board Member of the Flaherty Seminar.

For more information about the screenings visit LA Asian Pacific Film Festival’s website here. Check out Lordville’s trailer and also follow the film’s news here.

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Professor Nora M. Alter was featured guest speaker at the University of Maryland Symposium


FMA Temple’s Professor Nora Alter was invited to present her work on the University of Maryland Film Colloquium: “The Filmmaker’s Voice: The Essay Film and the Circulation of Ideas”, on 4th of April.

Her talk, entitled: “Essays Elsewhere” was part of a conference, co-organized by the Film Studies Program and the Graduate Field Committee in Film Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park and The National Gallery of Art. 

Essay film is a hybrid form that crosses boundaries and rests somewhere in between fiction and nonfiction cinema, it also marks the intersection of cultures, arts and politics.

For more information about the event visit the Colloquium website here.


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