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Columbia College Chicago

SXSW Recap from the Chair

Left to right: David Dastmalchian, Sheridan, and Schiffli.
This year I attended both the simultaneous Film and Interactive programs at the South By Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX to catch up with growth in the contributions cinematic creativity makes to all screen entertainment media. It is very clear that the world has now moved beyond the polarization of “old” and “new” media to an understanding that all media aspire in some way to be cinematic.

A number of CA+S alums made a big impact at SXSW 2014. Kyle Heller’s (BA '08) innovative online project Cinematique was an invitee to the Entertainment and Content Technologies category of the Interactive program. Heller also produced the feature film Home that screened in the Midnighters (read “horror”) section of the Film program.

CA+S alum Collin Schiffli’s (BA '09) debut as a feature director, Animals, was invited to the “Narrative Feature Competition” and its SXSW screening was the movie’s premiere. I was in the Alamo Theater for that event, then at the CCC sponsored after-party at the On-Air Streaming Studios on Guadalupe Street. Animals is a courageous and honest film directed with a level of confidence and sensitivity any experienced director would be proud to achieve. Based loosely on experiences of the writer and lead actor David Dastmalchian, it tells the story of Bobbie and Jude, young heroin addicts living in their car near Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and dreaming of a different life. As well as Schiffli, CCC CA+S alums involved in the production included Executive Producers John Bosher (BA '06) and Chris Charles (BA '07), Producer Mary Pat Bental, and Production Designer Caity Birmingham (BA' 09).

SXSW founder Louis Black is on the board of CIMMFest, the six year old Chicago festival that converges cinema, music, and interactive. I have now joined the CIMMFest Advisory Board and CA+S is a sponsor of this great local initiative in partnership with 12 other CCC academic departments. CIMMFest runs May 1-4, 2014 and is a great way for current students to get a taste of just how central the cinema is to 21st century entertainment.

Bruce Sheridan
Chair, Cinema Art + Science