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USC Filmmakers Descend on Sundance

Which Trojans will have their names in lights someday?

Photo/Jill Aske

Though Park City temperatures were sub-zero, USC School of Cinematic Arts alumni, students and faculty glowed with pride as they celebrated the USC screenings selected for this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The event, which ran from Jan. 18-28, featured nearly 20 of the school’s entries, with another two playing the alternative Slamdance festival.

“Sundance is incredible in terms of seeing the scope and diversity of what our students and alumni are producing,” Dean Elizabeth Daley said.

For alumnus Jeffrey Blitz ’97, Sundance proved especially rewarding as his drama Rocket Science landed the dramatic directing award.

“I’m still learning so much about filmmaking and winning an award like this feels surprising and fairly surreal,” said Blitz, who also wrote the story. “To come back here 10 years after being a student with my own film was really reward enough. This is a terrific end to a terrific experience.”

In addition to attending the screenings, more than 200 alumni, students and friends flocked to the USC reception at the Riverhorse on Main to talk cinema and catch up with fellow Trojans.

“I look forward to this party whenever I get a chance to come to Sundance,” said Jill Aske ’01. “It’s a great feeling of home away from home.”

Here are the USC School of Cinematic Arts students, alumni and faculty whose projects were screened at the 2007 Sundance and Slamdance film festivals.


Rocket Science, written and directed by Jeffrey Blitz ’97; edited by Yana Gorskaya;

Weapons, produced by Bill Straus ’00; executive produced by Jason Lust ’00;

Looking for My Brother, directed by Nathaniel McCullagh ’04, produced by Jon Huer ’05 and Adam Lebovitz ’05


An American Crime, cowritten by Irene Turner ’95 and Tommy O’Haver ’95; directed by O’Haver; executive produced by John Wells ’82; cinematography by Byron Shah ’97, music by Alan Ari Lazar ’97;

Black Snake Moan, produced by John Singleton ’90;

Chapter 27, written and directed by Jarrett Schaefer ’01;

King of California, edited by Glenn Garland ’88;

The Nine, written and directed by John August ’94; produced by Dan Etheridge ’92;

Resurrecting the Champ, edited by Sarah Boyd ’93


The Go-Getter, written and directed by Martin Hynes ’96; cinematography by Byron Shah ’97; edited by David Birdsell ’97;

Miss Navajo, coedited by Tracee Morrison ’03;

Waitress, cinematography by Matthew Irving ’96;

ZidaneI, produced by Joni Sighvatsson ’85


Smiley Face, directed by Gregg Araki ’85


Songbird, written, directed and produced by John Thompson ’94; produced, edited and photographed by Will Lamborn


Spitfire 944, written and directed by William Lorton ’92


American Fork, produced by Shannon Gardner ’96 and Derek Beumer;

Bad Boys of Summer, directed by Tiller Russell ’01 and Loren Mendel;

The Famous Joe Project, directed by Eli Rarey

USC Filmmakers Descend on Sundance

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