Student Film Selected for Cannes Film Festival

"Skunk" screens April 27 at the Longhorn Film Showcase

AUSTIN, Texas — April 22, 2014 — The Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation program has selected "Skunk," a 16-minute dramatic narrative written and produced by The University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio-Television-Film students.

"Skunk" was one of 16 films selected out of 1,631 film school entries from around the world. Of the 16 films, three will receive Cinéfondation Prizes on Thursday, May 22.

The film also will screen at the Department's fourth annual Wofford Denius Longhorn Showcase on Sunday, April 27 at the UT Austin Student Activity Center Auditorium (1.402), 2201 Speedway. The Showcase, which includes a Q&A and light reception, is free and open to the public.

Written/directed by Annie Silverstein (Radio-Television-Film MFA, '13) and produced by Monique Walton (Radio-Television-Film MFA, '13), "Skunk" tells the story of 14-year-old Leila, whose pit bull kills a skunk. She then meets the neighborhood boy Marco, forming an unlikely bond until things begin to spin out of control. Leila is then forced to protect what she loves most at the cost of her own innocence.

The film was crewed entirely by UT Austin students and graduates, including co-producers Evan Roberts (a Radio-Television-Film graduate student) and Sarah Brennan Kolb (Radio-Television-Film BS '13), director of photography Nathan Duncan (a Radio-Television-Film graduate student) and executive producer Laurent Tran (Engineering BS '98).

"We feel incredibly honored that our film was selected by the Cinéfondation," Silverstein said. "It's a wonderful program, with a long history of supporting emerging filmmakers from around the world. And we feel so grateful to the Moody College of Communication's Department of Radio-Television-Film for their help, support, and generosity at every stage of the production."

Silverstein began writing the film in 2012, and worked to refine the script with classmates in Assistant Professor P.J. Raval's thesis workshop course. The team began pre-production and casting in the fall of 2012, shot the film during a Texas heat wave in the summer of 2013 and edited the film in the fall of 2013.

"The ambitious nature of trying to work with non-actor kids and rescued dogs, in 103-degree heat, posed many challenges!" Silverstein said. "It's a true testament to the strength of our crew and cast that we got through it. We were lucky to have such a committed and talented team."

In addition to accepting "Skunk," Cannes has accepted the following Radio-Television-Film student-produced shorts for its Short Film Corner: "The Visit," co-directed by graduate students Jing Yang and Mariam Aziz; "Inherit the Truth," by senior Christopher Casanova and junior Mike Quinn. The Short Film Corner offers a place for short film producers and directors to present their films and network.

Contacts: Laura Byerley, (512) 471-2182; Elana Wakeman, (512) 471-6617.

Marc Speir
Senior Content Producer