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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present

40 Years of UCLA Student Filmmaking

Freight Yard Symphony
November 15, 2019 -
December 15, 2019
Filmmakers Ron Birnbach, Marcy Muray, Rebecca Ring (12/14); Randy Haberkamp, Catherine Hardwicke, Todd Holland, Nina Menkes, Nancy Richardson (12/15).

In celebration of UCLA’s centennial, UCLA Film & Television Archive turns the spotlight on the university’s long history of student filmmaking. In 1947 the UCLA Department of Theater Arts was founded; in 1949, what had become the Motion Picture Division, produced its first student film. For decades since, the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, in the School of Theater, Film and Television, continues to train new generations of filmmakers. As this retrospective demonstrates, in its scope and broad selection, student films are a rich field for discovery. They are experimental films a priori, because student filmmakers, in search of their voice, invariably explore differing forms of cinematic expression, playing with established genres while inventing original works via very limited financial means. UCLA film students, in particular, are well-regarded for consistently questioning established norms.

With over 1,500 cataloged student works among the Archive’s vast holdings, this retrospective purposely highlights selections from only the first 40 years of student filmmaking at UCLA. In the curation of this retrospective, it was decided to showcase students’ earliest works, which were described in the film school as Project 1 and 2 films, as well as thesis films that were sometimes made across academic disciplines and in partnership with other campus departments. Additionally, a central curatorial goal was to present films that have not screened as part of any previous Archive series. Accordingly, some qualifications are required. Like Hollywood, UCLA film school institutionalized white, male privilege at least until the 1960s and 1970s, which saw a significant increase in women and students of color making films, a shift in access and representation apparent within the university’s enrollment as a whole. Throughout the history of the film school, student filmmakers at UCLA have consistently demonstrated an eagerness to explore genre and form (animation, documentary, experimental and narrative), frequently with an eye towards expanding the vision of the commercial marketplace and with a vested interest in contemporary cultural politics.

In addition to the screenings at the Billy Wilder Theater, the Archive has made additional student films available online on our YouTube channel.

Series curated and program notes by Jan-Christopher Horak and Maya Montañez Smukler.

Special thanks to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; Randy Yantek, Digital Lab Manager, UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Note: there will be a filmmaker Q&A and intermission between each evening’s programs.

Past Programs & Events

Title Date and Time Location
Puppy Does Gumbo

UCLA Student Films: 1980s

Sunday, December 15, 2019 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The View

UCLA Student Films: 1970s-1980s

Saturday, December 14, 2019 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Yellow Brotherhood

UCLA Student Films: 1970s

Sunday, December 8, 2019 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
I Lost it at the Movies

UCLA Student Films: 1960s-1970s

Saturday, November 23, 2019 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater

UCLA Student Films: 1960s Continued

Friday, November 22, 2019 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Freight Yard Symphony

UCLA Student Films: 1960s

Saturday, November 16, 2019 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Paper Moon

UCLA Student Films: 1950s - Early 1960s

Friday, November 15, 2019 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater