Film festival marks Motion Picture Arts program’s anniversary

  • Motion Picture Arts Instructor and Director Michael Mittelstaedt speaking at the 2016 Future of Cinema Film Festival.

  • Film festival guest speaker Chad Engel works on a lifecast mask.

  • Independent filmmaker Kira Bursky speaks with students at the 2016 Future of Cinema Film Festival.

  • Ali Scattergood speaks with students at FOCFF 2016.

Future of Cinema Film Festival 2016 celebrates young filmmakers, from Interlochen and beyond.

The Future of Cinema Film Festival celebrated the 10th anniversary of Motion Picture Arts at Interlochen Arts Academy  with a retrospective on April 21-23.


Read More: 10 years of Motion Picture Arts at Interlochen

Each year, the festival provides a setting for student filmmakers to meet peers and industry professionals to discuss trends and changes in the quickly evolving world of film.

Many of the special guests for this year’s festival were Interlochen alumni:

  • Chad Engel (IAA 07-09), makeup effects artist and production manager
  • Todd Mueller (IAA 84-86), art director, Psyop.com
  • Kira Bursky (IAA 11-14), independent director
  • Ali Scattergood (IAA 06-08, IAC 06), assistant producer at Ken Burns’ Florentine Films

Plus notable film professionals Rich Delia, casting director; Michael Scheffe, art director/concept designer; and Julio Macat, ASC, cinematographer.

During the festival, students had the chance to speak with Bursky on making the most of a gap year between school; learn tricks of the trade on the soundstage with lighting, haze/smoke effects, and exposure from Julio Macat; and practice life cast and mask-making from makeup effects artist Chad Engel; and more.

Director and Instructor of Motion Picture Arts Michael Mittelstaedt gave a retrospective talk on the opening day of the festival, in which he spoke of the founding of the department, his role in it, and many of the notable alumni who went on to careers in (an not in) film, such as:

  • Tyler Hsu, web developer
  • Lee Won Park, documentary, CNN
  • Hannah Checkley, animation production manager, DreamWorks  
  • Lisa Matt, casting  
  • Trevor Scott, app/gaming designer
  • Jeremy Thompson, theme park design
  • Aaron Jaffe, consultant, Palantir Technologies
  • Sara Nimeh, independent filmmaker/freelance art department
  • Graham McDonald, organic farmer

He also highlighted the collaborative nature of the program, noting: “I like to think that MPA is over 500 students, because we could not achieve the work that we do without the collaboration of Theatre, Creative Writing, Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Comparative Arts, and Academics.”

Interlochen President Jeffrey S. Kimpton also gave a presentation about the program during the film festival.

“I can't imagine where we'd be if we had not taken the risk to add the Motion Picture Arts program, which was controversial to some,” he said. “MPA was the first new program since creative writing in 1975, and it immediately gave the Interlochen community a license to think creatively and take the risks that starting a new program can present. It's how great institutions continue to remake themselves for future generations.

“The success of MPA fostered a new collaborative and interdisciplinary spirit between the disciplines, led to the creation of Interlochen College of Creative Arts, comparative arts, the singer-songwriter program, fashion design, new interdisciplinary courses between the arts and academics, and new opportunities like Intermester and online courses. How fortunate we are to see its success, because it has ensured our success as an institution.”

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