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Sundance Film Fest preps for Dodge College alumni invasion

December 16, 2010

Dodge College, home of Marion Knott Studios and Chapman University's acclaimed film studies programs.

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival will be the brightly lit stage for 11 Dodge College alumni who collectively have four films screening at the marquee U.S. film festival held in Park City, Utah, Jan. 20-30.

The Sundance Film Festival’s selection of Like Crazy, Ex-Sex, Stones and The Woods expands the ever-growing footprint of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in the ultra-competitive independent film landscape, and reinforces its position as a premiere institution for the best young filmmakers and storytellers.

Supported by the nonprofit Sundance Institute, the Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades. A defining year for Dodge alumni at the festival, the four aforementioned films are poised to become the latest discoveries and break-out hits, generating buzz from Park City screenings that hit Hollywood and film hubs around the world.

About the Dodge Alumni Films:


Writer/director: Mike Mohan, BFA ’02

Cinematographer: Elisha Christian, BFA ’02

(U.S. Narrative Shorts)

Kristen Riley and Jacob Womack star in Mohan’s short about a one-night stand between two people who used to be in love (or so they thought). The film is produced by Jennifer Cochis. 


 Co-writer/actor: Ben York Jones, BFA ’07

(U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Like Crazy is a film from and about the heart. Jacob, an American, and Anna, who is British, meet at college in Los Angeles and fall madly in love. It’s the purest kind of romance—they’re each other’s first significant attachment. When Anna returns to London, the couple is forced into a long-distance relationship. Their perfect love is tested, and youth, trust and geography become their biggest enemies.

Taking a complete tonal departure from his last film, Douchebag, which screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, co-writer/director Drake Doremus poetically reveals the intimate details and daily struggles of Jacob and Anna’s love affair as it stretches across time and distance and changes course. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones are enthralling in their sweetness and honesty as the young couple. An original, contemplative look at first love, Like Crazy strikes a universal chord as it explores the bittersweet beauty and impermanence of relationships

The film is directed by Drake Doremus and stars Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead. Producers are Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling.  Zygi Wilf and Audrey Wilf are executive producers.


Writer/director: Ty Sanga, MFA ’09

Producer: Jessie Creel, MFA ’09

Cinematographer: Richie Yau, MFA ’09

Editor: Dennis Alaniz, MFA ’09

Production designer: Sarah Pott, MFA ’09

Sound Designer: Mark Hawkins, MFA ‘09

(Indigenous Shorts Showcase)

According to legends, Nihipali and Na’wii are the last of their people on their island. The legend states that they can only come out at night, because the sun’s harsh rays would turn them to stone. Nihipali is tired of living alone with her husband. She believes they should befriend the newcomers to the island. Her husband forbids it. Na’iwi blames the newcomers for their people’s departure. But the loneliness is unbearable for Nihipali, and one night she befriends a young girl from the village. They spend the night enjoying each other’s company, but will this truly make her happy?

Produced at Chapman University as a 2009 graduate thesis project, Stones is a mythical Hawaiian tale about a family torn between preserving their native land and life and embracing new people and cultures. Cast includes James Bright, Briana Garrido, Moses Goods, Brendi Heresa, Kawai Hoe, Kawai Lui-Koko and Rava Shastid.


Writer/director: Matthew Lessner, BFA ’07

Producer: Max Knies, BFA ’07

(New Frontier Section)

We were promised change, but it never came. Our cities crumbled around us. Our streets ran red with Hawaiian Punch. Our country was no longer our own. Under Daniel’s guidance and leadership, we agreed to take action into our own hands. We preset our DVRs and ventured out of the city limits united. In the woods, we will be safe. In the woods, we will start anew.

This satirical attack on young, modern, globally conscious citizens tells the story of eight grown-up American children creating a utopian society as best they can. With gorgeous super-16 footage and an eclectic soundtrack featuring Dirty Projectors, Sun Araw and Lucky Dragons, filmmaker Matthew Lessner playfully subverts counterculture films of the ‘70s while questioning the shortcomings of his own complacent generation. In a world where new technologies merely distract us from reality, the greatest revolution can only begin by leaving everything behind. The Woods stars Justin Phillips, Toby David, Nicola Persky, Brian Woods, Lauren Hamersmith and Anne-Sophie. Producers are Jett Steiger and Max Knies.

 For more information on these films and their Festival screening times please visit

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