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Reynolda Film Festival features live chats between filmmakers, audiences

March 11, 2009

Aspiring filmmakers and film lovers alike will have the opportunity to see three feature films, attend animation presentations with industry experts, and chat live with independent film director John Sayles and Oscar-nominated co-director Thavisouk Phrasavath at Wake Forest University’s Reynolda Film Festival April 1-5

Initiated in 2008, the Reynolda Film Festival is organized and led completely by Wake Forest students.  It features a blend of entertainment, education and competition designed to promote the art of filmmaking and challenge and inspire rising filmmakers. 

Feature Film Screenings and Q&As

All film screenings are free and open to the public, but seating is limited.  Reservations are required for the screenings of “Honeydripper” and “The Betrayal.” The question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers are open only to participants attending the screenings.  For reservations, e-mail

April 3

  • “Honeydripper,” 7 p.m., Annenberg Forum. 

Directed by John Sayles and starring Danny Glover, “Honeydripper,” is a fable set in the Jim Crow south about the birth of rock n’ roll. The film was nominated for a Black Reel Award for best soundtrack, best ensemble, and it won the NAACP Image Award for outstanding independent film.

  • Q&A with John Sayles, 9:30 p.m., Annenberg Forum.

Critics have called Sayles a filmmaking pioneer and one of the greatest independent filmmakers of all time.  He will participate in a question-and-answer session with the audience via a live video-conference. 

April 4

  • “The Betrayal,” 6 p.m., Pugh Auditorium, Benson University Center.

Co-directed by Thavisouk Phrasavath and Ellen Kuras, “The Betrayal” is a testament to the bonds of family.  The film follows the story of the Phrasavaths, who fought alongside American forces in Laos and then escaped to America in search of safety only to discover a different kind of war.  The film was a 2008 Sundance selection, a 2009 Academy Award nominee for best documentary and a 2009 Independent Spirit Award nominee for best documentary.

  • Q&A with Thavisouk Phrasavath, 7:30 p.m., Pugh Auditorium, Benson University Center.

Phrasavath was recently nominated for an Oscar for “The Betrayal.”  He will attend the screening and hold a question-and-answer session with the audience.

  • “Wendy and Lucy,” 9 p.m., Annenberg Forum.

Directed by Kelly Reichardt and winner of the Toronto Films Critics Award for best picture, “Wendy and Lucy” stars Michelle Williams, Will Oldham and North Carolina native Will Patton.  Based on the short story “Train Choir” by Jon Raymond, the film addresses issues of sympathy and generosity at the edges of American life and reveals the limits and depths of people’s duty to each other in tough times.

Feature Events

Feature events are free and open to the public.  Seating is first-come, first served.

  • “Creating Reality: A Visual Effects and Animation Panel,” 7 p.m. April 1, Annenberg Forum.

Moderated by Max Negin, lecturer in communication at Wake Forest, the panel discussion will feature five industry experts who will discuss topics such as how to create an animated feature; how animation and effects processes work; and how to obtain a job in the film industry.  Panelists will incorporate clips from each of their respective studios and will participate in a question-and-answer session with the audience following the discussion.  

Guest panelists will include:

  • Russell Darling, computer graphics supervisor at Tippett Studios;
  • Anjelica Casillas, digital production manager at Rhythm & Hues Studios;
  • Adam Burke, animator for Pixar Animation Studies;
  • Bill Frake, storyboard artist for Blue Sky Studios; and
  • John Cernak, owner and director of Out of Our Minds Animation Studios. 
  • “The Pixar Experience, featuring Adam Burke,” 7 p.m. April 2, Annenberg Forum.
  • Adam Burke will give a presentation on animation that will include personal experiences, materials and clips from past and current Pixar films, and a question-and-answer session.

The film competition part of the festival is open to undergraduate and graduate student filmmakers from around the world.  This year, films will be judged in three categories: documentary, narrative and animation.  Finalists’ films will be screened during the festival and prior to the closing ceremony.  For screening times, visit

In keeping with its mission to educate and encourage aspiring filmmakers, the festival will also feature small-group conversations for Wake Forest students and film industry experts.  Called “In the Shade Sessions,” these sessions will allow for more personal, in-depth discussions.  Experts participating in these sessions include Burke, Casillas, Darling, Frake, and actor and Wake Forest graduate Lee Norris. 

A limited number of seats will be available to the public for “In the Shade Sessions.”  For a complete list of sessions, visit  To reserve seats, e-mail

The festival will also include a special Wake Forest alumni event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 3 featuring a screening of film productions by Wake Forest alumni from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. followed by a cocktail reception from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.  This event is open only to Wake Forest alumni, faculty, staff and students.  Reservations can be made by e-mailing

The festival is sponsored by WAKE TV, the university’s student-run television station, and funding is also provided by the Student Activities Fee. 

Complete festival information is available at


Note to Editors:  Interviews can be arranged with student organizers and with some of the festival speakers.  To arrange coverage, contact the News Service at (336) 758-5237.

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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