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The Future in Cinema: 6th Annual Epidemic Film Festival

The Future in Cinema: 6th Annual Epidemic Film FestivalA multitude of industry professionals made their way to San Francisco to share their years of insider wisdom and to catch a glimpse of the spectacular work created by the next generation of filmmakers at Academy of Art University.

The Annual Epidemic Film Festival has grown from a single-screening ceremony in its first year into a noteworthy event with two days of panel discussions, culminating in an Oscar-like awards gala. On May 11, a group of 1,400 students, instructors, industry professionals and film lovers descended upon San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre to celebrate the best student work from the Academy’s School of Acting and the School of Motion Pictures and Television.

As in past years, the Castro Theatre was packed with students, fans and industry insiders, eager to see an extensive lineup of student productions. “The Academy of Art University’s Epidemic Film Festival is proud to showcase and award student films in 16 different categories,” said Diane Baker, executive director of the School of Motion Pictures, Television and School of Acting. “Our students are second to none.”The Future in Cinema: 6th Annual Epidemic Film Festival

Academy students get the unique opportunity to learn from seasoned industry professionals. Executive Director Diane Baker shared insights gleaned from her years in film and television, including roles in The Diary of Anne Frank, The Net, Law & Order: SVU and House. She has also produced movies such as Ashiana, Never Never Land, and others.

Academy President Elisa Stephens joined Baker in awarding honorary doctorate degrees to Ron Bass and Philip Kaufman. Bass is one of the industry’s top screenwriters; among his honors is winning a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award in 1988 for Rain Man. He was also a writer and producer of the film The Joy Luck Club, in which Baker appeared.
The Future in Cinema: 6th Annual Epidemic Film Festival
Philip Kaufman is a director and screenwriter with numerous credits for films such as The Right Stuff, The Outlaw Josie Wales, Henry & June, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Kaufman also worked with Baker while directing the recent HBO production Hemingway & Gellhorn. Kaufman’s advice to the young film enthusiasts in attendance: “Pay attention to every moment in your life. It’s more than filmmaking.”

While the industry elite inspired students, the emerging talents also impressed the professionals. “It was exciting to sit next to established producers, directors and actors and hear the enthusiasm and delight the good work elicited,” said School of Motion Pictures & Television instructor Tim Boxell.

Credit: All Photos by Drew Altizer Photography
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