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Alumni Filmmakers Give Preview Screening, Talk with Students

Sound of My Voice  In Sound of My Voice, directed by Zal Batmanglij (C'01), starring Brit Marling (C'05) and co-written by the alumni, two documentary filmmakers attempt to infiltrate a cult but find themselves caught in a larger underworld.

April 24, 2012 – Film and Media Studies Program students will get the opportunity tomorrow night to meet the alumni filmmakers of a movie – Sound of My Voice – that debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Fox Searchlight Pictures will release the psychological thriller on April 27.

Alumni Zal Batmanglij (C'01) directed and Brit Marling (C'05) stars in the movie, for which they both wrote the script.

Mike Cahill (C'01), who with Marling wrote Sundance favorite Another Earth, will join her and Batmanglij in talking about their work in the film industry. Searchlight also bought Cahill and Marling’s film, which came out in 2011.

Distinctive Work

"Looking again at their student shorts, I can see Zal, Mike and Brit working to master and to expand cinematic language,” says Bernard Cook (C’90, G’92), director of film and media studies. “The work they produced at Georgetown was distinctive, arresting, humorous and mysterious."

A question-and-answer session is expected to follow the talk, sponsored by the film studies program, the student-run Lecture Fund, the alumni-run Georgetown Entertainment & Media Alliance (GEMA) and Hoyawood, a student film organization.

"Zal, Mike, and Brit are products of Georgetown's liberal arts education,” Cook adds.  “Georgetown did not make them into filmmakers – it helped them shape the ways in which they question and understand the world. Now we draw inspiration from the ways in which they have begun to use film to shape compelling stories.”  

The Plot

In Sound of My Voice, two documentary filmmakers Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius) attempt to infiltrate a cult led by Maggie (Marling), who claims to be visiting from the future.

The filmmakers find themselves caught in a much larger underworld and are forced to confront their own uncertainties about themselves and each other.

“With, Sound of My Voice, Zal and Brit create an existential thriller, exploring the extremes of human desire for connection and understanding,” Cook says.  

StudentS Excited

"On the first day of my first filmmaking class at Georgetown, Professor [Roberto] Bocci showed us the work Brit Marling, Mike Cahill and Zal Batmanglij had done in the same class years before,” says Kylé Pienaar (C'12). “I'm really excited to finally meet these Hoya filmmakers who everyone is so proud of.”

Pienaar says she is also looking forward to hearing them talk about their journeys from being Georgetown students to becoming full-fledged filmmakers in Los Angeles.

Lots of Courage

The senior will soon be working for, which she says is the largest online source of African news. Pienaar will be creating short documentaries for the organization about successful development projects all over the African continent.

“It takes a lot of courage to decide you just want to make movies – and even more to then go out and do it,” she says. “I'd like to learn how each of them came to that decision and how they figured out the next steps.”

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