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Alumni Featured in Sundance Film Festival Competition

Georgetown alum, Brit Marling (left) in

Georgetown alumna Brit Marling (left) in Another Earth. The movie is one of 16 films chosen for the Sundance Film Festival's U.S. Dramatic competition.

December 3, 2010 –Four films selected for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival were directed, produced, written or acted in by Georgetown alumni.

The films, which will premier at the famous festival Jan. 20-30, 2011 in Utah, include Another Earth, written by Mike Cahill (C’01), who also directed the movie, and Brit Marling (C’05).

Another film, sound of my voice, was co-written by Marling and Zal Batmanglij (C’02), who served as director, with Marling starring in both films.

Three Best Friends

All three students worked on films together at Georgetown and moved to Los Angeles, where Batmanglij attended the American Film Institute.

“The fact that Sundance chose both of our first features for their 2011 film festival is surreal and wild,” Batmanglij said. “Three best friends with two movies.”

Batmanglij said he and Cahill both enrolled in a character screenwriting class with John Glavin, professor English.

Teaching Obsession

“It has taken me years to understand the stuff professor Glavin was teaching in his scriptwriting classes,” Batmanglij said. “But what he taught – an obsession with story, with crafting it like a puzzle, not only plot-wise but psychologically, has become a part of the way I see moviemaking.”

Cahill said two of the professors who had the most impact on his work are Glavin and Bernie Cook, associate dean and director of the film and media studies, who taught all three students.

Marling was in her first year at Georgetown when Cahill and Batmanglij showed a film at a university festival.

“Zal and Mike made a film that was unlike any other – colorful, poetic,” she said. “When they got on stage … I thought, ‘I want to know these people.’ ”

The Competition

Another Earth is one of 16 films chosen for the festival’s U.S. Dramatic competition, while sound of my voice is one of eight American films selected for their “innovative and original work in low- and no-budget filmmaking.”

The former movie is a tragedy that alters the lives of two strangers who begin an unlikely love affair on the night before a duplicate Earth is discovered. Batmanglij and Marling’s movie (sound of my voice) is about a young couple infiltrating a cult that meets in a San Fernando Valley basement.

Mini Film Industry

“The three of them have become a kind of mini film industry,” Glavin said. “This of course is their wonderful breakthrough after 10 years of steady and inventive work.

“I am so pleased that Mike, Brit, and Zal have been recognized by the Sundance Film Festival as dynamic emergent talent,” Cook said.

Sundance accepted the poignant post- 9/11 documentary Rebirth, directed by Jim Whitaker (C’90), in the Documentary Premieres section.

In the U.S. Documentary competition is Miss Representation, directed by Jennifer Newsom and executive produced by Regina Kulik Scully (I’85). The latter film explores women’s under-representation in positions of power and in the media.

And Das Racist "Who's That? Brooown!," directed and written by Thomas De Napoli (C'01) and produced by Kevin Joyce (C'02), is the first music video to be selected to the U.S. Narrative Shorts Competition. The video is described on the Sundance website as "an epic quest through the streets of New York City" and is patterned after 1980s video games. The production was  No. 3 on Rolling Stone's Best Videos of 2010.

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