By David Chute
Published Apr 1, 2008 8:00 AM
Most film festivals offer us a snapshot of the immediate cinematic present, of the state of the medium right this second. The annual Festival of New Creative Work, which unfurls June 5-12 at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, is a bit different: Its trademark events, such as Producers Marketplace, Screenwriters Showcase and Directors Spotlight, are glimpses into the future. The festival is an early warning system of the large talents we will still be buzzing about 10 years from now, from actors and directors to designers, editors and cinematographers.
Of course, the roster of icons associated with the school goes back to legends of the 1950s and '60s such as Carol Burnett, James Dean '59 and Francis Ford Coppola M.F.A. '67. And in recent years, festival patrons and talent scouts alike have discovered the work of director Gil Kenan M.F.A. '02, only a few years before his first feature, Monster House, was released by Columbia Pictures, and watched the visionary short animation 9 that Shane Acker '98, M.F.A. '04 is currently transforming into a feature for producer Tim Burton and Focus Features.
At press time, Festival 2008 was still a work in progress. The roster of special guests and honorees is guaranteed to be stellar; in the past, the lineup has included such luminaries as writer-director Paul Schrader '70 (Affliction), producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (Little Children) and duo directors Jonathan Dayton '80 and Valerie Faris '80 (Little Miss Sunshine). This year's invitees include director Charles Burnett '69, M.F.A. '77 (Killer of Sheep) and screenwriter Eric Roth (Munich). The sparkle of current celebrity, though, is really only a dividend: No matter who shows up to cheer them on, the focus will firmly shine on the legends of the future. Don't miss this chance to say you knew them when.
UCLA Festival of New Creative Work 2008. James Bridges Theater, Freud Playhouse, Directors Guild Theater, other locations. June 5-12. Free admission, but reservations are required. For tickets or more information, log on to www.tft.ucla.edu/festival2008.