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News and Events

News & Accomplishments from Professor Dylan Nelson

College/Departmental Awards:

In May, the Richard A. Lewis Memorial Film Award, selected by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty to recognize the best student film of the year, was awarded to Esther Chan ’16for her thesis film, "In the Meadows." The  documentary follows three young Colorado Springs friends as they try to break the cycle of poverty and violence they have experienced in their lives. Committee members praised the documentary for its honesty, its execution of difficult observational techniques, and its immersiveness, clearly the result of a close relationship between filmmaker and subjects. A cash prize of $1000 accompanied this year's award. The Richard A. Lewis Memorial Film Award was endowed by Estelle and Barton Lewis in 2002 to honor the memory of their son Richard ’75. The award serves to recognize high-quality student work as well as provide encouragement and support for future film projects.
Also in May, the 2016 J.H. Edmondson Film Outreach Grant was awarded to two seniors, Tom Crandall ’16 and Courtney Blackmer-Raynolds ’16, in support of their completed thesis films. Courtney’s documentary “The Confluence” movingly describes the controversy surrounding the Grand Canyon Escalade project, a development proposed to be built on Navajo sacred land. Tom's fiction film “Blinds” explores the psychic experiences of isolation, voyeurism, and obsession. The purpose of the J.H. Edmondson Film Outreach Grant is to support the work of exceptional student filmmakers by encouraging them to reach out to audiences beyond the college community. Grantees are reimbursed for costs of up to $100 associated with festival applications or community screenings for their awarded projects. The fund was established through a seed donation by the Joseph Henry Edmondson Foundation, which is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life throughout Colorado’s Pikes Peak region and is steeped in the values of service, creativity, inquiry, and respect for community.
Both these awards will be granted again next spring -- we look forward to the next great batch of films!

Screenings Beyond the College: 

In February, Kendall Rock '15 screened her thesis film, “God’s in the Garage,” at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Bozeman, MT. Big Sky is an extremely prestigious, national-level festival. 
McCall Sides '16's thesis film "Monrovia in Ruin," a documentary about journalist Ashoka Mukpo's experience with the Ebola virus, was accepted to screen at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival October 19-23, 2016. It is the festival's 8th year of promoting excellence in filmmaking in the New Mexico region.
Courtney Blackmer-Raynolds '16's thesis film, "The Confluence", premiered September 28th at the Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff, AZ and will be featured at numerous events in the Grand Canyon area in the coming weeks, including an album release party for Diné musician Radilla Cody.  Watch it online here on Save The Confluence's website.
Tom Crandall ’16, Elle Gannon '18, and Andrew DesLauriers '16 had their film from 2015's Advanced Filmmaking class, "Solo," accepted into the 2016 Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival. "Solo" explores a woman's internal and romantic conflict regarding an upcoming dance performance. Esther Chan's Lewis Award-winning thesis documentary, "In the Meadows," was also accepted to the festival. The Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the country dedicated solely to films by or about women; it is highly selective and very well regarded in the national film community. The Festival takes place at Colorado College and the Fine Arts Center November 13-15, 2016. Tickets are FREE for students this year -- make sure you attend this wonderful fest!
Mark your calendars for Monday nights in October! Rocky Mountain PBS has created a new program, "In Short," to showcase student film work across Colorado. The first season consists entirely of CC student documentary work, most of which was created in the two block summer course, The Colorado Documentary Project (which we intend to offer again in summer 2017). The Colorado Documentary Project is dedicated to gripping storytelling, original research, and community-building through the production and distribution of documentary films about this region. Five episodes will air at 10:30 pm Monday nights in October on Rocky Mountain PBS, featuring wonderful films by Ana Pena ‘15, Robert Mahaffie ‘15, Dan Levitt ‘15Jeremy Flood ‘15, McKenzie Ross ‘15, Eliza Densmore '15, Tom Crandall ‘16Brooke Davis ’16Djake Carroll ‘16Angela Kong ‘17, Mitra Ghaffari '17, Charlie Theobald '17, Francesca Mastrianni '18 and Josh Lauer '19.

In the World:

Robert Redford and Jane Fonda are in town, shooting a Netflix-produced feature based on the late Kent Haruf's final novel, "Our Souls at Night," and our recent grads are right in the thick of it! Tom Crandall '16, Djake Carroll '16, and Courtney Blackmer-Raynolds '16 all got jobs as production assistants on the project. In fact, check out this pic of Courtney (on left, taken by Jerrilee Bennett for the Gazette) with Redford himself (she's his personal assistant while he's on set!).

With the help of a dedicated cast and crew of alums, current students, and members of the Colorado Springs community, Robert Mahaffie '15 and Arielle Mari '12 shot a feature film this summer. The film, working title "Carmen and Jorge," was written, directed, and produced by Mari, produced and assistant directed by Mahaffie, with cinematography bySophia Capp '17 and starring Isabella Egizi '16. McCall Sides '16, Emilia Whitmer '16, Tinka Avramov '16, Holly Pretsky '16, Grace Coomaraswamy '17, and Kaitlyn Hickmann '18all worked as crew. The film is currently being edited.
Caitlin Taber '17, supported by a Venture Grant, had an internship with the American Pavilion at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, arguably the premier film festival in the world. 
Charlie Theobald '17 worked at Little White Lies, a London-based film magazine, over the summer. He attended advance screenings and reviewed upcoming releases, wrote brief news articles for the magazine's website, and copy-edited and did research for the most recent print issue. 
Elle Gannon '18 interned this summer at Vanity Fair magazine, under West Coast Editor Krista Smith '87; Corrina Leatherwood '18 was an editorial intern on the show "Teen Wolf," both in Los Angeles. Kaitlyn Hickmann '18 received a Student-Faculty Research Grant to work with me on my in-progress documentary feature, which attempts to solve a Holocaust-era mystery.
In August, Sophia Capp '17 became the first-ever CC-Rocky Mountain Women's Film Institute Fellow, receiving a stipend of $500 for ongoing work with the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival.
Congratulations to all these very talented filmmakers! Please send us your accomplishments for future praise. Our film-related alumni continue to thrive in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and elsewhere, working as editors, cinematographers, casting agents, documentary filmmakers, screenwriters, producers, and everything in between.

Looking forward to a great year,