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 University of Colorado, Boulder

Student Awards

Scholarships, Grants, Achievements

David Marek -- Somewhere West

"One of the most remarkable student films [I've] ever seen."
-- Film Studies Professor Phil Solomon

University of Colorado film student David Marek wrote, directed
and produced a feature-length film, “Somewhere West,” for his
Master of Fine Art thesis project. View the article from the
Daily Camera Here.


David Marek -- Sleeping River

Official Selection
-Muskegon Film Festival - May 2009
-Long Island International Film Expo - July 2009
-Queens International Film Festival - November 2009

'Sleeping River' interweaves breathtaking expanses, wounded characters and a psychological method of editing to create an indelible return home for Tim, who can't seem to remember the details of a traumatic event from his childhood. Set in Colorado's north eastern grasslands, 'Sleeping River' takes full advantage of a landscape of austerity and abandoned places, where the sun, sand and constant wind have kept wounds from healing for those who've never left.

Ian Soroka --Awarded Princess Grace Foundation-USA 2009

Ian Soroka was born in New York City in 1987 and grew up in Western Colorado. He is a currently working towards his undergraduate degree in Film Studies and Philosophy at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Ian received accreditation from the Czech Film and Television School of the Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU Int.) in 2008. His short film Nostalgia (2008) has screened at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin as a part of the Rescontres Internationales program. Ian is currently working on the film project “Gogol Americana” (working title) which will be primarily funded by a Princess Grace Foundation-USA undergraduate student filmmaking scholarship, the John H. Johnson film award for 2009. Synopsis: GOGOL AMERICANA (working title). “GOGOL AMERICANA” (working title) is a portrait of contemporary Nevada as a region of extremes. On the one hand it is a land of notorious desolation, while on the other it is a capital of excess and artifice. The film will attempt to explore the death of the American frontier through the example of Nevada, a place where modern culture is in conflict with the West’s contemporary landscape and mythology.


Marcy Saude Receives Spring 2009 Beverly Sears Graduate Student Grant


David Marek Receives 2009 Gambill Family Endowed Award
& J.R. Hopes Scholarship 2009

"Somewhere West" will be a feature length film that chronicles the story of a dying man finding solace and understanding through experiencing the American landscape and seeing similarities between its wonders and his own illness. The film will capture a 2300 mile journey that begins in the deep woods of Northern Michigan and finishes on the salt flats of western Utah. "Somewhere West," which will be shot in HD on the Sony EX1 with a Letus 35mm adapter, hopes to explore the following thematic elements: issues of death and dying, what makes a landscape sacred, cancer as a cultural icon, the role of landscape in ecstatic spiritual experiences, and the connection between illness and faith. There will be a test screening of the film on the CU campus in mid November of 2009.

Andy Young Receives UROP Grant


Film Studies BFA senior Andy Young received a UROP grant to travel to Africa to make Kigali100. It was shot in October 2007 over the course of 14 Days in Kigali, Rwanda, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the city as capitol of the country. The film focuses on the experience of Gilbert Ndahayo, a Rwandese filmmaker, who comes to grip with the murder of his father during the 1994 genocide when he must come face to face with the murderer. In a more abstract sense, the film investigates the role of media in the 1994 genocide (including the dangers that persist today), and how new media makers, such as Gilbert, strive to change the voice of Rwanda.

The project was completed with generous contributions from the University of Colorado at Boulder's University Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

Musa Receives UROP Grant

Also receiving a UROP grant was CU film student Musa. Sunshine in Africa, a cultural documentary directed by Musa, a University of Colorado, Boulder Film Studies student, follows a group of Americans before, during, and after their first time visit to Ghana, West Africa. Before, they only knew this country through media images, mental assumptions, judgments, and misunderstandings. Watch as these Americans leave their comfort zone to experience Africa with their own eyes and realize that there is Sunshine In Africa.

Joaquin Villalobos
Joaquin Villalobos, former student
Patti Bruck
Patti Bruck, Lecturer, and Friend

CU Well Represented at Robert Flaherty Film Seminar

June 25, 2006 -- Creative Demolition was the theme of the 2006 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Held from June 17-24, the 2006 Seminar brought together 150 filmmakers, critics, historians, curators and students to discuss the art of the moving image. Participating media makers included Zoe Beloff, Vittorio De Seta, Jacqueline Goss, and Sharon Lockhart.

Among this year's participants were a number of current and former Film Studies students and faculty. Joaquin Villalobos, BFA 2005, received a Student Fellowship to attend the Seminar. Student Ashley Swendson participated as an intern, and engineered the audio recordings of all of the discussions. Former student and Flaherty Fellow Scott Nyerges was also in attendance. Instructor J. Gluckstern attended on a Professional Fellowship. Film Studies Instructor Patti Bruck is President of the Flaherty Film Seminar.

Three students selected for Sundance summer internship

July 1, 2006 -- CU film students Ken Amarit, America Palacios and Matt Talarico were accepted for the 2006 summer internship program of the Filmmakers Lab at the Sundance Institute in Utah. The Filmmakers Lab is a three-week workshop that offers directors hands-on experience rehearsing, shooting, and editing scenes from their screenplays on videotape under the mentorship of accomplished directors, editors, cinematographers, and actors. Past Lab projects include Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Boys Don't Cry, and Me and You and Everyone We Know.

Award Winners

Clay Pruitt and Andrew Ratzlaff at Starz First Look Student Film Festival

April 28, 2006 -- Two CU film students had their films shown at the 2006 Starz First Look Student Film Festival in Denver in April 2006. Clay Pruitt's documentary The Coming of Winter was produced in Patti Bruck's Art of Independent Filmmaking class, and Andrew Ratzlaff's documentary Photographer was produced in Russ Wiltse's FILM 3600 class.

David Marek's Snow Petals at festivals

Snow Petals

March 25, 2006 -- David Marek's (BFA 2004) FILM 4500 project Snow Petals was shown at the March 2006 Durango Independent Film Festival and the March 2006 East Lansing Film Festival. The 30-minute experimental narrative uses a split screen and simultaneously moves forward and backward in time to tell a a story of star-crossed soul-mates between a 62-year-old man with Alzheimer's and a young woman who assists him in his garden. The film took home first prize in the student film division at the 2004 Crested Butte Reel Festival. It als screened at the Boulder Fringe Festival in 2005 and the Eugene Film Festival in 2006.

Daniel Brother's Wings wins at SIFF and ISFFH

February 20, 2006 -- Daniel Brother's (BFA 2005) narrative film Wings won the award for Best Student Short at the Sacramento International Film Festival. The film also won the award for best Children Drama at the November 2005 International Student Film Festival Hollywood, and wasan official selection in the Student Film category at the 2006 Boulder International Film Festival. Wings was Daniel's FILM 4500 project.

Alumni in the News

Matt Stone and Trey Parker's South Park wins Peabody

April 5, 2006 -- The Comedy Central animated series South Park, created by former CU film students Matt Stone and Trey Parker, has been honored with a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award in the 65th Annual Peabody Awards competition. The Peabody committee described South Park as "Comedy Central's notoriously rude, undeniably fearless lampoon of all that is self-important and hypocritical in American life, regardless of race, creed, color or celebrity status."

Grants Available

The Grillo/Goldfarb Kage Credit grants are designed to encourage excellence in filmmaking and help defray some of the expenses required to pursue a degree in film production. Grants will be distributed each year to four tiers of production students. Final recipients and individual grant amounts will be determined each semester by a combination of in-class student votes and a panel of judges made up of CU Film Studies faculty. A selection of films from the advanced classes will be screened at the Awards show in the First Person Cinema series. The Grillo grants are given as Kage credit in honor of the founder and former director of the CU Film Studies Program, Virgil Grillo (1938-1994), whose dedication and vision helped shepherd Film Studies from its modest beginnings in the 1970s to an undergraduate degree program boasting some 600 majors.  Goldfarb grants are given by the Goldfarb Foundation and Peter Goldfarb, President. (Screening made possible by ACE fees.

Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder
Film Studies Program, ATLAS room 329, Film Studies, , Campus Box 316, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0316. ph 303.492.7574 fx 303.492.1362