Apr 13, 2011
LAFSC Hosts Cinema Studies Conference
posted under NEWS STORY
LOS ANGELES -- Over 200 alumni and friends of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities’ BestSemester Los Angeles Film Studies Center (LAFSC) gathered in Los Angeles on the evening of April 2 to celebrate LAFSC’s 20th anniversary. The celebration was held in a beautiful old art deco bank building located within walking distance of LAFSC and featuring a screening room in its former vault.
The program included comments by Dr. Ken Bussema, CCCU vice president for student programs, as well as remarks from LAFSC founding director Doug Briggs and his wife, Fran. Alumnus Timmy Morgan led a hilarious skit on the dramatic differences between LAFSC 1991 and LAFSC 2011. A fun yet poignant anniversary video created by alumni brought back a flood of memories as the many semesters of LAFSC were chronicled in image and story. The event closed with a prayer by Karen Covell, producer and founder of the Hollywood Prayer Network, and her husband, film composer Jim Covell. The prayer was emotional for many alumni, who are familiar with the Covells’ faithful presence and prayers each semester at LAFSC.
Rebecca Ver Straten-McSparran, director of LAFSC, said of the evening, “I loved watching alums from many years past entering into the celebration and finding delight with each other and hearing them talk about the enormous influence LAFSC has had on their professional and spiritual lives.”
The evening celebration was attended by actors Tony Hale (Buster, Arrested Development, Stranger than Fiction) and Doug Jones (the Silver Surfer in The Silver Surfer, Pan and Pale Monster in Pan’s Labyrinth, Abe Sapien in Hellboy), as well as producer Ralph Winter (X-Men series, Star Trek series), writer Dean Batali (executive producer of That 70’s Show, writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and many industry people who faithfully teach and mentor emerging filmmakers at LAFSC. Jones, beloved among students and alumni, was the evening’s emcee.
LAFSC alumni celebrities were present as well, including Destin Cretton, director of Sundance Film Festival’s 2009 Best Short Film, Short Term 12, and winner in 2010 of the most coveted screenwriting award in Hollywood, the Academy’s Nicholls Fellowship in Screenwriting, for his feature length screenplay of the same film.
Many memorable reunions took place over the weekend. Heather (Hric) Fishman, a spring 1997 alumna, hosted a potluck brunch on Saturday for the Briggs and alumni from their era. Current LAFSC students led alumni on tours of the LAFSC campus, which has relocated and gone through major expansions since the early stages of the program. Young alumni were excited to see the new office space, equipment room and student lounge added last month, and alumni who completed the program in its early years were impressed by the casting suite, sound booth and sound library.
The 20th anniversary celebration was appropriately marked in the festival world when two alumni productions earned awards. Alumna Michelle Steffes accepted the award for Best Short Film at the Vail Film Festival for The Interview, funded by LAFSC’s L.A. Filmworks Grant. Sudden Death, directed by alumnus Adam Hall and produced by his wife Melanie, LAFSC’s staff assistant for alumni affairs, won its 15th award at the prestigious Cleveland International Film Festival the night of the 20th anniversary celebration.
Approximately 1300 students have completed LAFSC since its inception in 1991.
The 12 semester- or summer-long student programs offered by the CCCU are categorized as either culture-shaping programs or culture-crossing programs. Culture-shaping programs are: American Studies Program (Washington, D.C.); Contemporary Music Center (Nashville, Tenn.); Los Angeles Film Studies Center (L.A., Calif.); and Washington Journalism Center (Washington, D.C.). Included in the culture-crossing programs are: Australia Studies Centre; China Studies Program; India Studies Program; Latin American Studies Program; Middle East Studies Program; Programmes in Oxford; and Uganda Studies Program. All programs undergo regular site visit evaluations by the Student Academic Programs Commission (SAPC).
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 184 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. The 111 member campuses in North America are all fully-accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 73 affiliate campuses from 25 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help its institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth.