Winter 2004 Bruin
Illustration by Adam McCauley
who I saw?
Here we are in the film capital of the world,
and the closest we get to the movie biz is the front row of the
local multiplex. For Angelenos who want to feel like Hollywood
insiders, UCLA Extension has the answer.
Each quarter, Extension offers a course called
“Sneak Preview.” A combination of Inside the Actors
Studio and a private movie screening, the course offers exclusive
previews of films before they hit the theaters, followed by conversations
with the filmmakers and actors.
“Sneak Preview” attracts real Hollywood
heavyweights — the kind you brag to your friends about seeing.
Kevin Spacey stopped by in November to talk about his 12-years-in-the-making
biopic of the late singer Bobby Darin, Beyond the Sea,
which he directed and starred in. A few weeks earlier, Billy Crudup
fielded questions about his latest film, Stage Beauty.
Director Peter Weir discussed the challenges of making Master
and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Mel Gibson fans
were thrilled when the actor swung by to share anecdotes about
his Academy Award-winning Braveheart.
The course, held at the Wadsworth Theatre and Writers
Guild in Beverly Hills, allows students to connect with a film
in a way that’s not possible in a regular theater. Following
a screening of Hotel Rwanda, the audience stood and applauded
when Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life subject of the film, walked
on stage for a conversation with moderator Anne Thompson, a veteran
film-industry journalist. Hotel Rwanda tells the story
of Rusesabagina’s heroic efforts to shelter Tutsi refugees
during the Rwanda genocide.
“We just love it,” says Sherry Goldman,
a UCLA nurse practitioner who makes an evening out of “Sneak
Preview” with her husband, Barry, and four friends. “It
makes you feel like you’re in the loop.”
by Anne Burke