A double barrel of laughs for SAC 403 ...
 [pictured at right, Aline Mayagoitia and Jake Ferguson]     
photo credit, Mary Lou Chlipala (left) and Terri Sarris (right)

(Left) On Sept. 15, comedy writer/director Alex Richanbach (We Are Young, Funny Or Die), Skyped from L. A. with Terri Sarris's SAC 403 (Sketch Comedy) class, sharing tips on comedy writing. On Sept. 16, the class traveled to the Ark to see the Second City perform "The Free Speech (While Supplies Last!)" Tour,  thanks to a grant from Arts at Michigan Course Connections. 
Free Screening of Mental and Q & A with Director and Toyota Professor in Residence, Kazuhiro Soda
Friday, September 23, 2016
Michigan Theater 
7:00 p.m. 
"To draw the curtain between normality and what normality calls abnormality is the purpose of this film. But more than that, the curtain is drawn upon a beautiful theater, Yamamoto's office, where beautiful characters slowly enlarge the world with their joyful sadness."
- Jury's comment, Busan Int. Film Festival

Mental is a feature-length documentary that observes the complex world of an outpatient mental health clinic in Japan, interwoven with patients, doctors, staff, volunteers, and home-helpers, in cinéma- vérité style. The film breaks a major taboo against discussing mental illness prevalent in Japanese society, and captures the candid lives of people coping with suicidal tendencies, poverty, a sense of shame,apprehension, and fear of society.

New Writings from Germanic Languages and Literatures
Friday, September 23, 2016

Literati Bookstore 
7:00 p.m. 
Please join us at Literati to celebrate the new work by the esteemed faculty of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures: Johannes von Moltke, Helmut Puff, Scott Spector, and Silke-Maria Weineck. Authors will be presenting and discussing their work -- and will have copies available for purchase. For a full list of works to be discussed, please click here
Iranian Film Festival 
Sundays - Sept. 25  to October 23, 2016

Rackham Amphitheatre
4:00 p.m.
Free and Open to the Public 
Still from Ashkan, The Charmed Ring and Other Stories (Shahram Mokri, 2009)
Screening this Sunday, September 25
At times, the world is filled with things we cannot understand. Ashkan, the Charmed Ring and Other Stories reveals the complicated interlinked chains of the world that people cannot comprehend.
The Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Iranian Graduate Students Association is proud to announce the first Annual Iranian Film Festival of Ann Arbor, showcasing the work of a new generation of Iranian filmmakers.  For further information, visit our festival site (above) or email us at

This festival is sponsored by Arts at Michigan, the Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies; the Depts. of Near Eastern Studies, Screen Arts & Cultures, Anthropology, and Women's Studies; the Iranian Graduate Students Association; the Islamic Studies Program; the Language Resource Center; and the Persian Students Association. 
From LIttle Stones to a Mosaic Event Series: Open Classes with Director & Producer Sophia Kruz (SAC '11) and Free Screening of Little Stones 
Open Classes for Affiliated Students 
(100 seats have been reserved for students affiliated with co-sponsors of the event, but registration required - see link below)

UC 270: Friday, September 30; Location TBD; 1:00 -2:30 p.m. 
UC 470: Monday, October 3; Location 2155 NQ; 8:00 -9:30 p.m.
In her presentation for UC 270, Sophia will focus on four women's rights activists using art in innovative ways to address issues profiled in her film, Little Stones. In her presentation for UC 470, she will focus on her use of filmmaking for social change, identifying the important stakeholders in this work, challenges faced, and strategies employed. 

If you are a SAC undergrad, and you are interested in attending one or both of these open classes, please Click here to RSVP.
Screening of Little Stones
(Free and open to all -- but RSVP required. See link below)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Michigan Theater 
Doors open at 6:00 p.m.; film begins at 6:30 p.m. 
Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and former PBS producer Sophia Kruz (SAC '11) along with cinematographer Meena Singh, will host a test-screening of their upcoming 90-minute documentary Little Stones, which 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.

Click here to RSVP if you are a SAC undergrad 
All other interested parties, click here to register. 
ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT - Michael Idov (Zilberman) 
Photo Credit - James Hill for The New York Times
Michael Idov (left) on the set of The Optimists with Alexei Popogrebsky (right), the show’s director, and Elena Vanina (top center), a fellow screenwriter. 
Michael Idov (Zilberman) (Dramatic Writing Program, 1998) was featured in the New York Times Magazine; in an autobiographical article entitled "My Accidental Career as a Russian Screenwriter." Idov, an award-winning American journalist and columnist for the New York Times, GQ, and The Guardian, made his debut as a Russian language screenwriter in 2015 with the political thriller Soulless 2, Russia's top-grossing domestic release of the year.
"I don't have a good answer for how I got here. Not only have I blindly managed to write Russia's most popular feature film and one of its most talked about TV series of the year, but I managed to do it in 2015, when relations between [the US] and Russia were at their coldest point since the events depicted in The Optimists." 
Michael Idov "My Accidental Career...Screenwriter"
Idov developed and wrote the drama Londongrad - the first TV series for the Russian viewer to be created and filmed in the West. His upcoming project -- a TV series entitled The Optimists about young Soviet diplomats in 1960-- is currently filming for Russia's Channel 2 (to be released in 2017). 
Toyota Professor in Residence Kazuhiro Soda shoots a selfie amongst his new community at the SAC Fall Reception in the Donald Hall Collection on Thursday, September 15, 2016.
David Marek Wraps Up Production on New Documentary about Teachers
Marek's film is a 70-minute documentary entitled Irreplaceables: Why Teachers Matter Most was shot in collaboration with over a half dozen public schools in and around Detroit. 

Schools and districts around the nation serving at-risk students have been on a fast track trying to fix ongoing academic failures.  Numerous changes to policy, testing requirements, standards, curricula, and school models have come and gone, but the achievement gap still looms large -- and with students and teachers on test-overload, there are still no great gains to show for it. Meanwhile, the research overwhelmingly shows that, of all the work that occurs at every level of our education system, the interaction between teacher and student is the primary determinant of student success.

The Irreplaceables aims to give teachers a voice on issues of education and the profession of teaching. With excellent teachers leaving the field and a frightening drop off in young, talented individuals entering the field, we need to reconsider how we view the profession of teaching and value those who shape the lives of our children on a daily basis.
Professor Markus Nornes Travels to Korea to Act as Festival Juror 
Professor Markus Nornes will travel to Korea later this this month to act as a juror for the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (DMZ DOCS), an annual festival for documentary films (Sept. 22 - Sept. 29, 2016). The festival's theme this year is "Peace, Life, Communication," and 116 films from 36 countries will be presented during its 8-day run. Despite its short history, DMZ DOCS is growing as one of the most important documentary showcases in Asia.  
Chris McNamara Concludes Summer Filming in UK
Chris McNamara spent part of August working on a 3D video project in the UK. He traveled to Brighton, Plymouth, and London, shooting the landscape and cityscapes with a 3D video rig and recording sounds of the settings he encountered. 

The project will culminate in both a single channel work as well as elements for a multi-channel project for museum presentation.  
SAC 2016-17 Honors Cohort: Spotlight on Ava Burnham

Ava Burnham is a SAC major with a  computer science minor. She is primarily focused on film production and editing, with a strong interest in music and film music. Over the summer, she lived in New York City where she interned at Spacestation, a production company, and Lost Planet, an editorial company. 

For her honors thesis, Ava will be studying the works on Robert Altman through archival research, with a focus on Nashville (1977) and its musical content. Ava is excited to begin her thesis, as its final result will be unknown until she explores the expansive Special Collections archives. Additionally, she plans to create an audio-visual accompaniment to her final presentation – inspired by the works of Altman and his techniques for film music.

Ava Burnham's Faculty Honors Advisors are Matthew Solomon (primary) and Chris McNamara (secondary).

Meet Madison Fyke, Our New SAC Office Assistant 
Maddie Fyke is a junior SAC and Communications double-major. She recently finished her summer as a Virtual Intern Correspondent for the new Headliner app, where she continues to make videos and contribute to its blog. Maddie is very excited to advance in her work in the SAC department and hopes to one day have Tina Fey's job: to write her own quirky sit-coms and sketch comedies. Welcome to the office, Maddie!
Looking for a SAC Production Opportunity? 
Crew calls and casting calls are currently posted on our website! Click here to view the current opportunities. 
Visit Our Website 

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University of Michigan Department of Film, Television, and Media · 6330 North Quad · 105 S. State St. · Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285 · USA

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