Academy of Art University Introduces Next Generation Filmmakers at 3rd Annual Epidemic Film Festival

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Future Filmmakers Enjoy Four Days of Celebration & Discussion with Industry Pros

Hollywood industry luminaries, Bay Area VIPs and budding student filmmakers are gathering in San Francisco this week for the Academy of Art University film school's 3rd Annual Epidemic Film Festival. Preceded by three days of exciting panel discussions, the festival culminates this Friday at the historic Castro Theatre where the best film school student work will be awarded and shown on the big screen.

Hundreds of students vie to be featured finalists in the film school festival. Categories include narrative, documentary, music video, commercial, best actor/actress and experimental. The film school also unveiled a new feature screenwriting category this year. A jury of Hollywood elite selects the top students who earn a coveted spot in the screening line-up.

"The Epidemic Film Festival embraces the gift of storytelling," said Jonathan Fung, Epidemic Film Festival director. "This year we challenged students to create films that educate, inspire, challenge and promote change. It's a wonderful celebration of outstanding work and promising futures."

Emmy award-winner Melanie Mayron will host the Friday event. She is known for her role on the groundbreaking ABC drama thirtysomething and has numerous feature film and television credits to her name. She was most recently seen in a recurring role on Lipstick Jungle. Melanie was also nominated for a Directors Guild Award for ABC's Toothless, starring Kirstie Alley and Lynn Redgrave.

Academy of Art University President Dr. Elisa Stephens will honor 45-year industry veteran Mike Medavoy with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters during the festival. Chairman and co-founder of Phoenix Pictures, Medavoy brought films like Zodiac, The Thin Red Line and The People vs. Larry Flint to the screen. 16 of Medavoy's films have been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards; seven have won the distinction.

Epidemic Film Festival Panel Discussions:

Tuesday, April 15         
Lender and Investor Financial of Independent Films

Wednesday, April 15         
Cinematography Symposium

Thursday, April 16         
Sundance 2009 Directors' Panel Discussion
Industry Panel Discussion

Panelists include: Steven Poster, A.S.C., DP (Donnie Darko, Stuart Little 2), Michael Goi, A.S.C., DP (My Name is Earl, Life on Mars), Kenn Ferro, S.O.C., Camera Operator, Steadicam Operator (House of Sand and Fog, 40 Days and 40 Nights), Dan Kneece, S.O.C. (Hulk, Grindhouse), Douglas Knapp, S.O.C. (Beetle Juice, Christmas Vacation) Richard Kelly, Director (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales), Bob Butler, Director (Emmy Winner Hill Street Blues), Erik Jendresen Producer/Writer (Emmy and Golden Globe Winner for HBO's Band of Brothers), Kyndra Miller, Entertainment Attorney, President and CEO of Miller Entertainment Group, Henk and Linda Van Eeghen, Editors (Emmy Nomination for Lost) and Henry Winer, Director (Veronica Mars, Alias).

The film school's festival represents a diverse range of emerging talent in film and television entertainment. Academy of Art University film school students explore a variety of genres in a professional environment. From an actual film set to cutting-edge technology and equipment, the top art school provides the most realistic and thorough training available to students today. A variety of courses are offered including production, direction, cinematography, lighting, sound, editing, screenwriting and acting. Under the guidance of industry experts, the film school helps students master the art of cinematic storytelling.

Epidemic Film Festival is open to the public, and seats are available on a first come first served basis (early arrival is recommended). The festival will take place at the Castro Theatre on Friday, April 17, at 6 PM. Doors open at 5:15 PM. Academy of Art University is proud to give the public the opportunity to view groundbreaking work by a new generation of filmmakers.

About Academy of Art University, San Francisco
:
With over 13,000 students, Academy of Art University is the nation's largest private art and design university. Established in 1929, the school offers accredited AA, BFA, M.Arch and MFA programs in 13 different majors, as well as continuing art education with classes in copywriting, fashion merchandising, fashion journalism, interior design, new media, computer animation, sculpture, graphic design, cinematography, industrial design, digital photography and car design. Multimedia Communications is the school's newest major, offering BA and MA degrees. Students can also enroll in a flexible online degree program in art and design.

Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (BFA-IAD) and NAAB (M-ARCH).

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