WVTF: Hollins Program Cranks Out Hopeful Filmmakers

WVTF Public Radio aired this profile of Hollins University’s graduate programs in screenwriting and film studies, featuring interviews with students Amy Roskelly –Shiovitz, Christie Collins, and Maisie Deely, and program director Tim Albaugh.

“We bring a piece of LA to the Roanoke area,” Albaugh said, noting, “I get a lot more satisfaction now helping a student launch their career than I do with any of the professional work that I do.”

Deely added, “You’re not only connected to your classmates in the current program, but also creating opportunities for alumni to come back, so it’s really exciting to see folks who did the same the same program of study I did who are now working in the industry.”

 

 

Photo Credit: Jeff Bossert, WVTF Public Radio


Playwright’s Lab Director Earns Kennedy Center Theatre Festival Honor

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) has presented its highest award to the director of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University.

Todd Ristau, who has guided the M.F.A. program in playwriting since its inception in 2007, has received the KCACTF Gold Medallion, one of the most prestigious honors in theatre education.

The medallion recognizes “individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and who have significantly dedicated their time, artistry, and enthusiasm to the development of the KCACTF.”

In announcing the award, the KCACTF praised Ristau for having “demonstrated innovative leadership in the field of new play development and [making] a tremendous impact in the vitally important area of nurturing playwrights and new plays. Todd Ristau works tirelessly to bring quality instruction and experiences to students. An innovative and engaging teacher, he has developed a program that truly puts students at the center, fostering the individual growth of each playwright’s style rather than turning out a specific type of playwright.

“One salient example of the Playwright’s Lab’s contributions is student Meredith Dana Levy, 2014 winner of KCACTF’s National Student Playwriting Award for her play Decision Height, which has been published by Samuel French and has enjoyed over 40 productions to date.”

“To say we are proud of Todd Ristau and all the members of the Hollins Playwright’s Lab is about as big an understatement that one could make,” Ernie Zulia, director of the Hollins Theatre Institute, told The Roanoke Times. “Receiving such an honor brings a national spotlight to Hollins and Roanoke, affirming our goal to be an ignition point for new work in the United States.”

 


Hollins Introduces Online Graduate Program in Teaching and Learning

Hollins University is launching a new Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning (MATL), an online graduate program for licensed PreK-12 educators who wish to grow their teaching skills for the benefit of their students, their school, and their career.

The MATL is designed for teachers who want to learn more about the practice of teaching; acquire and develop new knowledge; develop curricula in collaborative teams; and assume leadership roles within a school and/or school system.

“Men and women admitted to the program will have the opportunity to work with accomplished faculty in the areas essential in today’s continually changing landscape of PreK-12 education: writing, inquiry, instructional design, assessment, leadership, technology, and contemporary issues in education,” said Lorraine Lange, director of the MATL as well as the Master of Arts in Teaching and the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies graduate programs at Hollins. “Faculty members encourage collaborative efforts and provide opportunities for students, experienced teachers themselves, to learn from one another.”

Students in the MATL program must complete seven core courses, including a graduate thesis, and three program electives for a total of 40 credit hours. All courses are taught online.

For more information about our online graduate programs in teaching and learning, contact Lorraine Lange at (540) 362-6576 or langel@hollins.edu.”


M.F.A. Dance Alumna Is Named a 2018 USA Fellow

Dancer and choreographer Amara Tabor-Smith M.F.A. ’16 is one of 45 artists and collectives across nine creative disciplines announced as 2018 USA Fellows by United States Artists.

Recognized for their creative accomplishments, each fellow will receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash award, which they may use to support their ongoing artistic and professional development.

Tabor-Smith lives in Oakland, California, and serves as the artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater. She describes her work as “Afro Futurist Conjure Art,” and her dance-making practice utilizes Yoruba spiritual ritual to address issues of social and environmental justice, race, gender identity, and belonging. Her current project, House/Full of Blackwomen, is a multi site-specific dance theater work that addresses the displacement, well-being, and sex-trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland.

Tabor-Smith’s work has been performed in Brazil, the Republic of Congo, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area, where her company is based. She is an artist-in-residence at Stanford University and is a member of the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.

USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers, and from every corner of the United States, through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Spread across all creative disciplines including Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing, the fellows represent a broad cross-section of the best of American arts and letters.

“I could not be more thrilled with the 2018 USA Fellows, or with the tremendous artistic output, and potential, they represent,” said United States Artists President and CEO Deana Haggag. “They produce some of the most moving, incisive, and powerful artistic work in the country, and it is our privilege to honor them. Collectively, they are a reminder of the beauty produced by hardworking artists on a daily basis, too much of which is often overlooked.”

Founded in 2006 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations, United States Artists is among the largest providers of unrestricted support to artists working and living in the U.S. To date, the organization has provided more than $22 million in the form of unrestricted $50,000 awards directly to more than 500 artists working in all disciplines and at every career stage.

 


“Dallas Buyers Club” Screenwriter Craig Borten Visits Hollins

Craig Borten, the Academy Award-nominated co-writer of Dallas Buyers Club, is coming to Hollins University for an intimate screening of the film, a question-and-answer session, and a reception on Friday, June 23, beginning at 7 p.m. in Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center.

Admission to this exclusive event is free and open to the public.

Dallas Buyers Club is based on the true story of Ron Woodruff, who worked around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they needed after he was diagnosed with the disease. The 2013 movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto.

“I’m eager to share a firsthand account of the process of screenwriting and my passion for the film industry,” said Borten, who joins the program at the invitation of Tim Albaugh, director of the Hollins graduate screenwriting and film studies program.

After the screening, Borten and Albaugh will discuss the difficult path to production for the film, Borten’s career, and the movie making business.

“Our students’ favorite part of the screenwriting and film studies program is our guest artist visits,” said Albaugh. “We are lucky to hear from Craig about the lessons learned from his experiences in the film industry, and we will pair this real-world advice with our faculty’s academic expertise to help students succeed.”

Each summer, Hollins’ program welcomes guest artists to campus to share their work and experience. Program faculty include professional film and television writers as well as professors from world-renowned film schools such as UCLA and NYU.

Dallas Buyers Club was the first produced screenplay by Borten. The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay. He also cowrote The 33, which is based on the true story of 33 Chilean miners trapped in a mine for 69 days. Currently, he is in production on an hour-long drama series for A+E Studios on the opioid epidemic. Borten has been writing scripts for more than 20 years.


Summer at Hollins Features Graduate Studies, Improvement Projects, Special Programs

The 2014-15 academic year at Hollins has ended, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be lots of activity at the university during the summer months.

On June 1, work commences on a range of campus improvement projects:

  • Renovations to Moody Student Center will create space for the Student Government Association and others and enable the Hollins Bookstore to move into the area presently occupied by the Private Dining Room.
  • Randolph Hall will be refurbished and reopened this fall as a residence.
  • The Center for Learning Excellence will move from its current location in East Building to the first floor of Wyndham Robertson Library.
  • The upper porch between West Building and Botetourt Hall will be repaired.
  • Concrete sealing of sidewalks will be done on Front Quad and behind East Building.
  • Landscaping will be completed in the Hill House area.

The 2015 edition of the Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop comes to campus June 7-12, and Hollins welcomes back the Women Working With Clay Symposium, June 8-11.

Summer Term at Hollins begins June 22 and continues through July 31, featuring graduate courses in children’s book writing and illustrating, children’s literature, dance, liberal studies, playwriting, and screenwriting and film studies.

Hollinsummer, this year featuring three camps for rising ninth through 12th grade girls, takes place July 19-25 and July 26-August 1.


Lorraine Lange to Lead Hollins’ Graduate Programs in Teaching and Liberal Studies

Lorraine S. Lange, who is retiring this June as superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools, has been named director of Hollins University’s co-educational Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program and Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.) program, effective July 1.

After beginning her career as a teacher in Roanoke in 1969, Lange went on to serve as assistant principal, principal, supervisor of language arts K-12, associate director of instruction, assistant superintendent of instruction, and deputy superintendent of instruction before she was named superintendent in 2006. Her distinguished contributions to K-12 education were recognized when she was named Virginia Superintendent of the Year in 2012. That same year, she was one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year.

“Dr. Lange has enjoyed an extraordinary career and we are delighted that she has agreed to helm our M.A.T. and M.A.L.S. programs,” said Patricia Hammer, vice president for academic affairs at Hollins. “Her knowledge and expertise will benefit our graduate students tremendously.”

Lange has first-hand experience in both the graduate programs she will be leading at Hollins. She completed her M.A.L.S. degree there in 1974 and later taught graduate-level education courses to aspiring teachers as an adjunct professor.

“I am thrilled to return to Hollins,” Lange said. “I am eager to guide students as they pursue their higher education goals.”

The M.A.T. program presents students who hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution the opportunity to earn teaching licensure and a graduate degree at the same time. It was the first program of its kind in the Roanoke Valley.

The M.A.L.S. program is intended for students with varied interests and backgrounds and features concentrations in humanities, social sciences, visual and performing arts, leadership, and interdisciplinary studies.

 


Hollins Names Albaugh to Lead Graduate Studies in Screenwriting and Film Studies

albaughHollins University has named writer/producer Tim Albaugh as the new director of Hollins’ master of arts and master of fine arts programs in screenwriting and film studies, beginning in the summer of 2012. He succeeds Professor of Film and Founding Director Klaus Phillips, who passed away suddenly in early October.

Albaugh, who has taught in Hollins’ M.F.A. screenwriting program since 2007, is a graduate of the M.F.A. screenwriting program at UCLA and has taught screenwriting at UCLA, UC Irvine, Pixar Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Feature Animation. He wrote Trading Favors, a film starring Rosanna Arquette and Cuba Gooding, Jr., and his students have sold scripts to numerous studios, producers and production companies, including HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, Nickelodeon Films, the Coen Brothers, and all the major television networks. The film The Machinist, starring Christian Bale, was written by Scott Kosar, a student in Albaugh’s class at UCLA.

“While the campus community continues to miss Klaus’ presence, we know he would like nothing more than for the graduate programs in screenwriting and film studies to continue and to grow,” said Hollins’ Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeanine Stewart. “Tim is the person we believe is best able to take on this challenge. He has been a wonderful asset for the past four years and offers a wealth of experience as well as familiarity with our students and faculty. He will do an excellent job of leading these programs.”

Hollins has offered an M.A. in screenwriting and film studies since 1999 and an M.F.A. in screenwriting since 2005. The summer programs draw instructors from the ranks of Hollins’ permanent faculty as well as visiting screenwriters, filmmakers and distinguished scholars from other institutions. The Summer 2012 session will be held June 18 – July 27.


New Award Pays Homage to the Memory of Film Professor Klaus Phillips

phillipsTwo friends and colleagues of the founding director of Hollins University’s graduate programs in screenwriting and film studies are honoring his memory by establishing a monetary award in his name.

Hal Ackerman, co-chair of the graduate screenwriting program at UCLA, and Tim Albaugh, a member of the UCLA screenwriting faculty who was recently named the new director of Hollins’ master of arts (M.A.) and master of fine arts (M.F.A.) programs in screenwriting and film studies, have created The Klaus Phillips/UCLA Screenwriting Award in tribute to the professor of film and internationally recognized film scholar who passed away in October 2011.

“Each year, a $1,000 award will be made to a student participating in the summer M.A. or M.F.A program in screenwriting and film studies who writes a screenplay that best exemplifies the joyous, courageous, independent spirit that emanated from Klaus Phillips,” said Albaugh, who along with Ackerman has been a member of the screenwriting and film studies faculty at Hollins for several years.

“For nearly three decades, Klaus shared his passion for and vast knowledge of film with countless undergraduate and graduate students,” Albaugh added. “Thanks to his tireless dedication, the summer master’s programs continually feature noted scholars, filmmakers, and screenwriters from around the world.”

Born in Munich, Germany, Phillips joined the Hollins faculty in 1984 and started the university’s M.A. program in screenwriting and film studies in 1999. The M.F.A. program was launched in 2005. The programs offer courses of study in the writing of screenplays and the study of the history, aesthetics, and theory of the art of film.

Classes take place for six weeks each summer and students typically complete their graduate degree in three years.


Graduate Student’s Work Is Showcased at International Film Festival

susieA new film featuring the behind-the-camera talents of a student in the MFA program in screenwriting and film studies at Hollins will have its world premiere this month at the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Susie’s Hope, co-written and produced by Dan A.R. Kelly, will be screened on Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m. at the UNCSA Main Theater and on Tuesday, April 16 at 3 p.m. at the Hanesbrands Theater.

The film follows the true story of Donna and Susie Lawrence, the inspiration behind the passage of Susie’s Law, which stiffened the penalties for animal abuse in North Carolina. After surviving a pit bull attack, Donna adopts an abandoned pit bull mix, Susie, who suffered severe abuse at the hands of her former owner. Donna sees many parallels between the two as their wounds heal. With Susie by her side, Donna starts a grassroots campaign to change penalties for animal abusers in North Carolina. Susie’s Law was passed in 2010 by Governor Bev Purdue, who insisted Susie sign it with her paw print.

“When I first got in touch with Donna, I knew I had to help her tell her story,” said Kelly, who is creative director for Walk in the Park Pictures, a North Carolina-based production company. “Besides being very dramatic, the story hits close to home. Literally and figuratively – I remember when Susie’s Law passed and how our state pulled together over the issue. In fact, 23 of the 26 actors and 85 percent of our crew are North Carolina natives.”

Susie’s Hope stars Emmanuelle Vaugier, who has appeared in such television series as Lost Girl, The Mentalist, CSI:NY, and the Hallmark Channel movie, It’s Christmas, Carol! The film was shot during May 2012 in Winston-Salem and surrounding areas.

Kelly earned his B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for Film Directing in 2001. He has won awards and recognition from the Cannes International Film Festival, the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and others. His career as an actor has included lead roles in many films, television programs, and commercials. He has also worked in film and television as an assistant director, casting associate, script supervisor, and editor.