UCLA Wraps Up First Film School Partnership With Telluride Festival

UCLA/TFT dean Teri Schwartz, left, and Telluride Film Festival co-directors Tom Luddy and Julie Huntsinger

UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television inaugurated a new program to bring graduate students to the Colorado fest.

The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television successfully concluded an inaugural program with the Telluride Film Festival dubbed Film Lab on Sept. 5. The initiative brought 10 of the school's top MFA/PhD filmmakers, named Film Lab Fellows, to the festival. The newly launched program counts producer, UCLA alum and film school executive board member Frank Marshall as founding sponsor.

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"It's a very robust festival experience where they attend workshops, screenings and networking events that are designed just for them," said UCLA/TFT dean Teri Schwartz. Special sessions included meetings with Ken Burns, Peter Sellars and the filmmakers of the new drama Albert Nobbs, including director Rodrigo Garcia, star/producer/writer Glenn Close and producers Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn. On the last day, the contingent, all final-year graduate students, also met with the co-directors of the festival, Julie Huntsinger, Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer.

 One of the students, Julio Ramos, had his Spanish-language short, A Doctor’s Job, about a financially pressed doctor who moonlights as a cab driver, presented at the festival.

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"We're delighted to be involved in this kind of real strategic alliance with Telluride. A partnership like this between two major cinematic institutions is very exciting," said Schwartz. "We're the only school that has anything like this with any festival in the world."

She called a meeting with director Alexander Payne -- a UCLA/TFT alumni whose The Descendants received critical acclaim at the festival -- a highlight.

"Alexander was tremendously generous with his time, ideas and inspiring advice," said Schwartz.