By Sheyla Molho
Many people would feel very lucky to break into show business, but unfortunately the task of getting there is very difficult. The term “it’s who you know” often applies. But, if you had the opportunity to find a mentor and later have your film screened in front of industry professionals, your shot at breaking through would feel more realistic. This year, Sotheby’s has given the chance of a life time to 20 Santa Barbara high school and college/university students.
In conjunction with the 22nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival Sotheby’s fourth annual International Reality 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition and 10-10-10 Screenwriting Competition, selected student filmmakers and writers have been selected to be mentored by industry professional directors, producers, cinematographers, and writers. This effort by Sotheby’s has been made in part to encourage and assist the next generation of filmmakers and writers in the movie-making business.
For the screenwriters, ten were chosen out of sixty-five applicants from Santa Barbara’s college, university and high schools. They were asked to write a ten-page sample of a screenplay, stage play or short story. Later, the five best high school and five best college writers were chosen. Now to the best part: The ten winners were then paired up with mentors, including Joe Scanlan, who has directed countless episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Jeff Arch, who wrote Sleepless in Seattle. These ten ambitious writers were then put together with the ten winners from the 10-10-10 Filmmaking Competition and were asked to put a ten-minute film together which will be judged on screenwriting and filmmaking at the closing night ceremony of the film festival on February 4 at the Arlington Theatre. A winner from the college and high school levels will be chosen.
Hats off to all the competitors—their big break might not be too far off.
Nominees and mentors are listed below:
Finalists of the Sotheby’s International Realty 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking Competition sponsored by Sotheby’s International Realty:
HIGH SCHOOL - David Richardson, Santa Barbara High School - Tony Johnson, Santa Barbara High School - Ian Wexler, Santa Barbara High School - Ian Watson, Santa Barbara High School - Ben Lee, San Marcos High School
COLLEGE - Tara Jean D’Antonio, Brooks Institute - Blair Madigan, Brooks Institute - Mark Claver, Brooks Institute - Dylan Penev, SBCC - Kevin Harman, UCSB
Finalists of the 10-10-10 Student Screenwriting Competition sponsored by Business First National Bank and Final Draft:
HIGH SCHOOL - Ian Wexler, Santa Barbara High School - Avery Medjuck, San Marcos High School - Alex Dunn, Dos Pueblos High School - Levi Michaels, San Marcos High School - Kevin Tran, San Marcos High School
COLLEGE - Ryan McCurdy, Brooks Institute - Charles Heining, Brooks Institute - Richard Yellenberg, UCSB - Johnathan Fagundes, UCSB - Christopher A. Deetz, SBCC The mentors for this year’s 10-10-10 Competition are:
Glenn Leopold, a three time Emmy nominee, has written hundreds of animated episodes for such shows as Disney’s Doug, The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo, Pink Panther and Sons, Fantastic Four and many more.
Joe Scanlan has directed about a dozen television movies and a few feature films and hundreds of prime time television dramas, including episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Outer Limits, and La Femme Nikita.
Josh Conviser, an experienced mountaineer, gave up the mountains for the jungles of Hollywood to pursue a career in screenwriting. He is the Executive Consultant on Rome and published his first novel, Echelon, in July 2006.
Jeff Arch is the Academy Award nominated writer of the blockbuster Sleepless in Seattle. He also has written and directed Complete Guide to Guys and penned and produced programs for television.
Robert Lewis has worked as a film editor, director, and producer in a lengthy career that has included work on Gomer Pyle, USMC, The Mod Squad, Macmillan & Wife, and Guilty or Innocent, The Sam Shepherd Murder Case.
Mashey Bernstein teaches writing and film at UCSB. In 2004 he instigated UCSB at Telluride, taking a class to the Film Festival there. His screenplay Orson at the Gate is currently under option.
Rob Sternin and Prudence Sternin Fraser are best known for their work in television, where they have written, produced, developed or created over a dozen prime time series, from Who’s the Boss? to The Nanny.
Michael Jaffe, partner of Jaffe/Braunstein Films Ltd., has produced over 108 movies-of-the-week and mini-series, including work with Michael Mann, Sidney Lumet, Alan Arkin, and Timothy Hutton.
Roger Durling is the executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. FILMMAKING MENTORS
Jeff Arch (see bio blurb above)
Joe Johnston has directed numerous films including Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo, Jumanji, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
Tom Ackerman is an in-demand cinematographer whose credits include Beetle Juice, The Benchwarmers, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
Richard Harris has worked on 40 productions as an editor including The Candidate, LA Story, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Titanic.