Arts & Entertainment

    Film Review: 'Sorry To Bother You'

    Sorry to Bother You

    Tessa Thompson as Detroit and Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius Green star in Boots Riley’s SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, an Annapurna Pictures release. Photo credit: Annapurna Pictures.

    Sorry to Bother You, the debut feature film from Oakland artist-activist Boots Riley, is set in alternative present-day, dystopian Oakland, when Cassius Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield) starts work at a telemarketing firm. Strapped for some green and a purpose, Cassius quickly rises in the ranks to power-caller status after a co-worker (played by Danny Glover) taps him into using his “white voice” (borrowed from David Cross and Patton Oswalt). He’s bumped into the airy offices upstairs as his fellow workers organize a protest contesting corporate oppression.

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    Making it in VFX

    Academy graduate and VFX artist Saurabh Maurya shares his industry journey along with tips for success 

    Academy of Art University School of Animation & Visual Effects alumnus Saurabh Maurya has grown into a powerhouse VFX artist working on prolific projects, such as Game of Thrones, Westworld, and Marvel’s The Iron Fist, The Defenders and Jessica Jones. Currently he works with Crafty Apes VFX, a studio based in New York, where he is the CG lead on Star Trek: Discovery, but he has had a tough path to the top.

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    Gospel Inspiration on Tuesday Tunes


    Gospel artist Tamara Edwards during her recent Tuesday Tunes performance. Photo by Nina Tabios.

    For its final Spring 2018 edition of Tuesday Tunes, Academy of Art University’s (UKR) brought in Tamara Edwards, the first ever Gospel artist to perform at the Academy of Art University. The Oakland-based singer delivered an uplifting spirit to the UKR studios through her music and finding light in her spirituality.

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    Film Review: 'Tag'


    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

    “This is just what we love,” explains Isla Fisher’s delightfully overzealous character Anna Malloy in Tag, the uproarious new comedy directed by Jeff Tomsic (Broad City). Based on a true story (yes, really), Ed Helms (The Hangover), Jon Hamm (Baby Driver), Jake Johnson (New Girl), Hannibal Buress (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Jeremy Renner (The Avengers) play a group of friends that every year, for the entire month of May, regardless of their current life situation, reunite to continue their game of tag that they’ve been playing together since fifth grade. One of the friends, Jerry (Renner), has yet to be tagged in the 30 years they’ve been playing.

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    Celebrating the Crew

    Acknowledgement and recognition was given to students, instructors and department staff at the second annual NXT Up Fest


    Photo by Bob Toy.

    For the second annual NXT Up Fest, the School of Motion Pictures & Television (MPT) at the Academy of Art University decided to do things a little different.

    Compared to last year’s event, which had students’ peers decide who takes home the prize, this year, it was up to a select group of industry professionals with hefty resumes: Chris Moore (Manchester by the Sea, Good Will Hunting); Howard Rosenman (Call Me By Your Name); Liz Glotzer (The Shawshank Redemption, The Good Fight); and Barbara Fisher (Hallmark Channel).

    “We wanted this work to be viewed by people in the industry,” said MPT Director Randy Levinson. “We wanted to get an assessment of what people were really thinking, the heads of each of their own particular crafts.”

    On paper, NXT Up Fest is all about acknowledging individual student excellence. But for the entire night, the department instructors and award winners were all about showing their crew some love.

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    NXT Up Fest Panel Discusses Making Film Dreams a Reality

    Film and television industry guests share advice with students and praise individuality


    The NXT Up Fest guest panelists: (L-R) Roy Langbord, Clare Kilner, Fred Seibert and Michael E. Goldman. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Coffee, apple juice, muffins and a small panel on industry insight is on the very short list of things that can drag university students to school early on a Saturday morning.

    But Palmer Mendelson, M.F.A. producing student, had no concerns about the timing of the panel, trusting in the School of Motion Pictures & Television’s (MPT) – specifically Jana Memel, MPT executive director – track record for bringing in top-notch speakers to the Academy of Art University.

    “I knew today was worth coming to,” he said.

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