News & Events

FMA alumni begin production on Geospatial Revolution Project

Stephanie (Garoian) Ayanian, FMA ’06, and Cheraine Stanford, FMA ’07, are beginning production on the Geospatial Revolution Project at Penn State Public Broadcasting. The public media and outreach initiative focuses on the world of digital mapping and how it is changing the way we think, behave and interact. The first episode will be released in mid-September.

Check out the trailer here.

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Notable Alumni

Sheldon Yeager ’98, is Director of Business Development for MTV in New York. He oversees the company’s HD screen business in Times Square – 44 ½ – a 24/7 channel that runs videos, interstitials and ads 365 days a year. In June, Yeager launched a partnership with the public arts organization Creative Time to bring a quarterly video art series to 44 ½. The series debuted with the U.S. premiere of Sex Pistols founder Malcolm McLaren’s “Shallow” on the heels of its world premiere at Art Basel. Yeager also manages MTV’s joint venture in the Animation Show, a traveling theatrical tour from Mike Judge. He previously ran MTV’s joint venture in Puerto Rico, and prior to that, produced with the company.
Barbara Attie, ’96, has been producing and directing documentaries on women’s and social justice issues since 1990. In 2005, her collaborative work with Janet Goldwater was recognized when they were awarded the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Attie and Goldwater recently completed What Harm Is It To Be A Woman?, a four-part series on the religious roots of violence against women produced for The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Rights and Ethics. In 2007, she was inducted into SCT’s Hall of Fame. Lew Klein Award Winner 2007
Ariella Furman ’08 has been described by the Wall Street Journal as “a master of machinima, an emerging genre of virtual movie-making.” She began her work in a documentary film class and now makes Second Life videos for clients like IBM and the World Bank. She also does work with the media tech companies Popcha! and Electric Sheep Co. Furman writes scripts and shoots her scenes with avatar actors who are controlled by other players. The videos capture how people live and socialize in Second Life. Her own avatar in Second Life is Ariella Languish, who she used to dress up as a geisha or Amazonian warrior, but who now sticks to business suits so she looks professional when she meets with clients.
Heidi Saman ’07 is an associate producer for arts and culture at WHYY-TV, the NPR/PBS affiliate in Philadelphia. One year after she graduated from SCT’s Film School with her FMA, she was at the Cannes Film Festival, where the short narrative film she wrote, directed and edited for her thesis had been selected for its world premiere. The Maid, a 19-minute film in Arabic with English subtitles, concerns a house maid in Cairo who must come to terms with her perceptions of trust, duty, and her place within the family household. Saman has worked in media relations at American University as a writer, a copy editor and photographer and also was a freelance journalist for The Cairo Times News Magazine, where her stories focused on gender-related issues in Egypt and the Middle East. Pears, an experimental short that Saman wrote and directed, has screened at festivals around the world. Her short film, Walkers/Drivers, received the Panavision New Filmmakers Equipment Grant.

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Videographer Needed

Dear Rita Kozen;  I teach at the college of music at TU and am in need of
help in editing together a short video from two preexisting DVD’s for a
grant application.  I was hoping there might be a student around this
Summer who would like a little extra paying job, which would probably be
quite simple.  There is a time constraint and I’ve been leaving messages
at various voice mailboxes at FMA since last week, but I never hear back
from anyone.  Can you help me with this question?
Thanks! Jay Krush (cell:  215-520-0818)

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Diamond Screen Film Festival winners announced

The winners of the 2010 Diamond Screen Film Festival were:

Best First Film: Mark Tumas, Letter to Pop (student membership to Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, $100 gift certificate to Philadelphia Theatrical Supply, and CDs from The Tape Company)

Best Undergraduate: Kali Baker-Johnson, Johnny’s Leaving ($100 award, plus 3 hours of transfer time at Shooters/The Dive, Gorilla Software)

Best Graduate: Brandon Watz, David Miranda Hardy, Hector Falcon Villa, Katya Gorker, Dientes De Arena ($100 award, 3 hours of transfer time at Shooters/The Dive, DVDs from The Tape Company)

Best Cinematography: Dave Patten, Inside ($250 gift certificate to Videosmith, 2 hours of transfer time at Shooters/The Dive)

Best Editing: John Note, My Tooth is Looth (student membership to Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, external hard-drive, Tristan Video rentals)

Best Narrative: Thomas Grimes, Promise Land ($100 award, student membership to Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, Gorilla software, Tristan Video rentals)

Best Experimental: John Note, My Tooth is Looth ($100 award, student membership to Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, Gorilla software, Tristan Video rentals)

Best Documentary: Aaron Popelka, Sex Ed ($100 award, student membership to Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, Gorilla software, Tristan Video rentals)

Best Screenplay: Christopher Fernando, As We Die ($100 award, student membership to Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, Tristan Video rentals)

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FMA alumna honored by Phi Theta Kappa

Carolyn Coulter, FMA ’02, assistant professor of social science and advisor of Atlantic Cape Community College’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, captured a Paragon Award for New Advisors at the 92nd annual Phi Theta Kappa Convention, April 8-10, in Orlando, Fla.

Coulter is currently pursuing a PhD in anthropology at Temple.

Exceptional members, officers, advisors, college administrators and chapters are recognized annually at the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention for their achievements.

Award-winning advisors are those who make significant contributions to the growth of individual members, serve as the chapter’s advocate on campus, and encourage the chapter to be involved on the local, regional and/or international level of the organization.

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Professor Bass earns prestigious Silver Remi

Professor Warren Bass, FMA, received the Silver Remi award at the 43rd Annual WorldFest – Houston International Film Festival for his documentary Black Soldiers in Blue.
WorldFest is the third oldest International Film Festival in North America and its prestigious award is named after the painter/sculptor Frederic Remington. This year’s festival had 4,400 entries from 33 countries.

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May 7-8: Diamond Screen Festival 2010

May
7
7:00 pm

The Diamond Screen Film Festival is excited to present two nights of Temple student films this Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8, in Annenberg Room 3 and TV Studio 1. Screenings run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. both nights, and awards will be announced during a ceremony on May 8  in the Joe First Media Center (the Atrium) in Annenberg Hall from 9  p.m. to 11 p.m.

The events are free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served during the awards ceremony. Come celebrate the best of FMA 2010!

Visit the “News” section of the Diamond Screen Film Festival website at diamondscreen.org for event details and a list of student films that will be screened.

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2009 Diamond Screen winners featured at local indie film venue

The 2009 Temple Diamond Screen winners’ work will be featured at the April 17 screening of the Flickering Light Film Screening Series in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. For more information visit: www.flickeringfilms.com

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SCT alumni not doctors, but they play them on TV

(L-R): Jason George and Jesse Williams

(L-R): Jason George and Jesse Williams (Willams' photo by John Russo)

Side by side in makeup chairs as they prepared to shoot their scenes on the set of Grey’s Anatomy, two actors struck up a conversation.

Jason George, THEA ’96, who guest starred for a few episodes this season as Ben Warren, and Jesse Williams, FMA ’03, a series regular who plays Jackson Avery, soon realized they shared a connection – an education at Temple’s School of Communications and Theater.

But while they both started their paths toward success at the same place, Williams and George ended up at Grey’s Anatomy through very different journeys.

Williams’ friends in the Film and Media Arts Department drew him into the major. They consistently discussed film as an art form and the details of their current projects. “It was something that seemed very malleable through which you were really able to communicate and express yourself.”

Williams entered the program with aspirations to become a director of photography – possibly with screen writing or directing in the mix, too.

He said the FMA faculty instilled the importance of collaboration in film making and mastering the basic skills. “They made it clear to us that you have to know the rules in order to break the rules.”

Williams gained a huge appreciation for the art and history of film, but something kept pulling him in front of the camera. First, it was a campus fashion show sponsored by Source magazine, which then led to modeling opportunities and commercials.

Upon graduation, Williams chose to leave his film aspirations behind and teach in a Philadelphia charter school. After a few years in the classroom, Williams decided to revisit his dream of becoming a director of photography and moved to New York, only to be sidetracked by a “temporary” job at a law firm that soon took up 80 to 90 hours a week. A year and a half later, his creative side emerged again and he reached out to his old commercial agent to give acting a try. He eventually got an audition for Grey’s Anatomy and landed his current role.

Williams says his FMA training has proven beneficial during his acting career.

“I have a respect for the frame and respect for what the frame can’t do,” he says.

Williams also recognizes that “the camera will capture how you’re feeling,” so he knows he doesn’t have to play his emotions on a larger scale like a stage actor.

In addition to acting, Williams hopes to return to his spot behind the camera as a director and he’s also pitching a screenplay he wrote while at Temple.

In contrast, Jason George has always known he wanted to act. He credits his training in the Theater Department for instilling in him “tons of professionalism.” He was told several times at the start of his career, “you’re new, but you’re not green.”

George says his theater education taught him the importance of “making your first choice and committing to it” because “you don’t always have a lot of rehearsal time.”

George was featured as a guest actor in several episodes this season as a love interest for Miranda Bailey, played by Chandra Wilson.

“She’s a very giving actress,” he says of Wilson, who directed the last episode in which he appeared. That was the first time he was ever directed by his scene partner. “It was amazing how fluid she was” when switching between her acting and directing duties.

George isn’t sure how he gained Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes as a fan, but he’s not complaining. He was recently in Puerto Rico filming a pilot for her new creation, Off the Map, about traveling doctors. He’s unsure of the future of his character on Grey’s Anatomy, but has high hopes for his return.

George, a member of SCT’s Board of Visitors and a native of Virginia Beach, Va., says he recalls Philadelphia as a city to which he instantly connected and the place where he learned that one can buy great food from a truck. He says SCT students should remain connected to their professors. That way, those who experience trying times in their career can “go back to the people who have watched you grow.”

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FMA alumna joins library Board of Trustees

Leslie Esdaile Banks, FMA ’98, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, has been named to the Board of Trustees at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Banks has written more than 40 novels and 12 novellas in a wide range of genres, including romance, women’s fiction, suspense and paranormal. Recently featured as a guest on HBO’s special prelude to the True Blood premiere, Banks received the 2008 Essence Magazine Storyteller of the Year Award and was named one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business. She has written for a variety of major publishers, such as St. Martin’s Press, Simon and Schuster, Harlequin and Harper, and has contributed to magazines and newspapers, as well as the Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul anthology.

Before devoting herself full-time to writing, Banks worked as director of marketing for Milligan and Company and director of the Competitive Edge loan Program at Ben Franklin Technology Partners. She has also worked as an independent grant consultant, serving clients within the Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program at the Wharton School.

Banks completed her undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School before earning her master’s degree at Temple. She is a member of the Philly Liars Club, a group of Philadelphia-based authors, and writes under several pseudonyms, including L.A. Banks, Leslie Esdaile and Leslie Banks. Her bestselling series include the Vampire Huntress and Crimson Moon novels.

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