ORANGE, Calif. (January 10, 2008) — The films of four of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts alumni will be showcased at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Matthew Lessner’s By Modern Measure and Danny Roew’s Dog Lovers were accepted into Sundance’s Shorts Program, and a pair of feature-length pieces – one edited by Brian Singbiel (Bigger, Stronger, Faster*), the other produced and edited by Tina Imahara (Fields of Fuel) – will compete in the Documentary category in the festival’s competition. The annual Sundance Film Festival, which takes place January 17-27, 2008, is the most prestigious showcase for independent film in the U.S.
“To have the work of a number of Dodge College alumni on such prominent display in the most widely recognized and influential film festival in the country is a testament to both the quality of students the college attracts and the innovative educational experience Dodge has to offer,” says Dean Robert Bassett.
First-time Sundance participant, Matthew Lessner, comments, "It's quite an amazing and surprising honor to be accepted at Sundance, and had I not attended Chapman, the film as it exists would most certainly have never come into being. By Modern Measure was made largely by a group of past Chapman attendees pooling resources and working together in an attempt to continue creating film in the real world, free of institutional support or structure."
Fellow alumni Danny Roew also credits his filmmaking education and his ties with fellow Chapman filmmakers as part of his success saying, “The relationships I made at Chapman and everyone’s willingness to experiment artistically in that community is always an inspiration when I shoot a new project.”
Sundance Film Festival Short Program
By Modern Measure, written, directed and produced by Dodge graduate Matthew Lessner (’05), focuses on an amateur French sociologist, who presents his observations on a day in the life of two young Americans who meet by chance outside a Taco Bell restaurant. The five-minute short was financed with prize money from the 2006 Ann Arbor Film Festival, which Lessner won for his senior thesis, Darling Darling. Starring Michael Cera (Juno, Superbad), Darling Darling has been screened in both domestic and international film festivals and was among the Top 10 films sold on iTunes in the month of August.
Danny Roew (’02) will also be participating in the festival’s Shorts Program. His comedic film Dog Lovers, will make its world premiere at Sundance and centers around two potential lovers who meet to talk about their mutual affection for dogs. Roew has directed a number of music videos, feature-length documentaries and popular unscripted primetime television programs (Hell’s Kitchen, Big Brother). In October, he received an award for "Visual Innovation" from the Elevate Film Festival and most recently, he produced promotional content for the ground-breaking interactive sci-fi web series Afterworld.
Sundance Film Festival Documentary Competition
Brian Singbiel (’04) edited Bigger, Stronger, Faster*, which chronicles the steroid use of the film’s director, Christopher Bell and his brothers. During his tenure at Dodge, Singbiel earned several student awards including a student nomination at the 2003 American Cinema Editors (A.C.E.) Eddie Awards. Singbiel is currently editing the feature-length thriller, Skinner Box and other editing credits include Deconstructing the Family, A Cure for Writer’s Block and Rules of the Game.
Also competing in the category is Tina Imahara (’96). Imahara produced and edited Fields of Fuel, which follows environmental activist Josh Tickell, creator of the biodiesel-fueled Veggie Van. Imahara has edited a number of features, including the Emmy Award-nominated and Academy Award-nominated documentary, On Tiptoe.
For the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, 121 feature-length films were selected from over 3,600 feature film submissions. This year’s Festival Short Film Program is comprised of 83 short films representing 17 countries from 5,107 submissions. “The Dodge community is proud that our alumni are part of this incredibly competitive and prominent showcase of national and international filmmaking talent,” commented Dodge Professor David Ward.