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Alumni Spotlight Archive

Spotlight Alums in 2016

Andrew Day Interviewed on CTN

Filmmaker and SAC Alum Andrew Day (SAC '16) was featured on CTN's "Let's Watch the Ann Arbor Film Festival" (host, Dana Denha) on November 16, 2016. The show includes Day's discussion of his time and experience with the Festival, a showing of his film "The Human Body, Our Friend," and ends a discussion of his work. 

Sophia Kruz Hosts Test Screening at Michigan Theater

Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and former PBS producer Sophia Kruz (SAC '11) along with cinematographer Meena Singh, hosted a test-screening of their 90-minute documentary Little Stones, at the Michigan Theater on October 5, 2016. The film explores the role of art in the global empowerment of women and girls. From a graffiti artist in the favelas of Brazil raising awareness about domestic violence, to a choreographer in India using dance to rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking, Little Stones profiles four artists who have found innovative ways to use their art to tackle the most pressing issues facing the women in their communities.

Hena Ashraf Attends UCLA and Wins Scholarship

Hena Ashraf (SAC '08) entered UCLA's MFA in Film Directing program in September 2016. After graduating from UM, Ashraf moved to New York where she worked for various media institutions such as Black Public Media and the Tribeca Film Institute, amongst others. Her films, such as Small Delights (Best Emerging Filmmaker, Queens World Film Festival) feature characters whose multiple identities characterize them as outsiders and who thus struggle to fit in. These themes have been developed from her own personal experiences as a young Muslim woman growing up in the U.K. and America. Ashraf is also the 2016 recipient of The Farah Tahir Scholarship from the Islamic Scholarship Fund. Congratulations, Hena!

2013 Alums' Film Opens Shorts Program at Rooftop Festival in NYC

2013 SAC Alums Roddy HydukJosh Buoy, and Meredith Finch -- of the Ann Arbor production company Snowday -- have created a film selected to open the shorts program at the Rooftop Film Festival in NYC (2016).

Stations -- shot over the course of 10 days at 120 stations in all five boroughs, blends scripted scenes and pure documentary to offer a captivating glimpse of New York life. P.Claire Dodson of The Atlantic says of Hyduk, "Roddy [...] has always been fascinated by the subway." Hyduk confirms, "There are so many layers of information to be absorbed within the context of each individual station [...] Imagining what's happening simultaneously across the entire system sparked my initial curiosity." Hyduk's end goal is that "through the sum of all of the stations represented, the unique texture of New York might reveal itself in a new and compelling way" (qtd. in Dodson, The Atlantic)

Stations was directed by Hyduk and produced by Josh Buoy, Meredith Finch, and Chelsea Hyduk. 

The film has been featured in The Atlantic and Fast Company

Paul Sutherland Directs Unique Promo for Livonia Public Library


Paul Sutherland ('08)
  directed a promotional video for the Livonia Public Library, promoting their summer reading program in an unconventionallly engaging way. The video features Phoenix Freerunning Academy ... and some very limber librarians.

The video was recently featured on the Late Late Show with James Corden on May 25th, 2016. 

Joe Reed Co-Produces Viral Video on Women in Sports Broadcasting


The viral video "#MoreThanMean - Women in Sports Face Harassment" was co-produced by SAC alumnus Joe Reed ('12). The video features real men reading real comments made about sports reporters Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro – to their faces -- in an attempt to increase awareness about harassment of women in sports broadcasting. 

Jacqueline Wood Recognized in Cincinnati's CITYBEAT

Cincinnati's Citybeat recognized SAC Alumna Jacqueline Wood ('06) in their 2016 Arts & Nightlife Staff Picks Feature as "Best Attempt to Use Corporate Foundation Money to Pay Avant-Garde Filmmakers."  With her $15,000 from People’s Liberty, filmmaker C. Jacqueline Wood’s ambitious Mini Microcinema project paid more than 140 artists working in experimental film, film installation and poster art. Wood programmed the Globe Gallery in Over-the-Rhine with 28 screenings over eight weeks and (with the help of arts volunteers committed to her cause) spent every last penny of said grant, paying each filmmaker, artist, curator and otherwise for their time and work. The Microcinema will be back in action at The Carnegie in Kentucky in 2016, with screenings through April 22. 

Text extracted from Citybeat, "2016 Arts & Nightlife Staff Picks." 
Photo credit, Jesse Fox, Citybeat

Sultan Sharrief Creates YouTube Channel to Address Hollywood's Lack of Diversity

Sultan Sharrief's (SAC '06 and Visiting SAC Production Faculty '11-'14) YouTube show What's Really Going On?  premiered with a two-part episode entitled, "What if Deadpool was Black? (How Chunky Monkey Can Explain Why the Oscars Are So White)." In the episode, Sharrief addresses the underlying complexity of the "Oscars So White" issue, citing seven reasons that he believes to have collectively contributed to the lack of diversity in Hollywood. In future episodes, Sharrief plans to continue to explore the lack of diversity in the industry, beginning with his process of developing his new reality TV show, STREET CRED, a show that challenges inner city youth to apply their street smarts and inherent grit to compete for a chance at a dream film internship. 

Spotlight Alums in 2015

Will O'Donnell Receives Honorable Title

SAC's Will O'Donnell ('15) claimed the title "Young Alumnus of the Month" (January, 2016) and was featured on the UM Alumni Association's website. In an interview with Alexander Bernard, O'Donnell reveals the details about his post-graduation adventures. After backpacking in Europe for two months, he moved to New York in hopes of becoming a Production Assistant. Recently, O'Donnell has worked on two Woody Allen films, Showtime's new series "Billions," and Hulu's new comedy "Difficult People." He states, "[W]hile the hours are unhealthy 90 percent of the time (14 hours is a standard day), I really do love what I do and consider myself lucky to be a part of so many great productions." When asked where he is going after his work on "Difficult People" ends, O'Donnell responds, "[...] Sometimes part of being a production assistant is that you don't know what your next gig is until your current one ends. Sometimes you don't even know where you'll be working on Friday. You just have to do your best work, maintain all of your connections, and figure it out. It keeps me on my toes."

Spotlight Snapshots Through the Years

Tricia Williams ('15) placed second in the first round of a stand up comedy competition at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank. She qualified to compete in the second round, which was held on February 24th, 2016 at 8 pm. Pictured - Tricia front and center, with the many other SAC alums and friends who turned out to support her.

THE PICKLE RECIPE premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in February of 2016. Screen Arts alumni on the project: Director of Photography Geoffrey George (pictured), Josh Ficken (key grip), Chris Miller (grip), and Eddie Rubin (producer).

SAC Alum Shrihari Sathe ('05) recently produced the film A Woman, A Part, a film about an exhausted, workaholic actress, Anna Baskin, who abruptly extricates herself from a successful but mind-numbing TV role, returning to her past life in New York to reinvent herself.