14 Pews Film Academy began in 2012. Our original goal was to keep the youth of Houston engaged in positive and creative activities that will be both beneficial to the students and our community. In doing so we have focused on creating films on local contemporary artists, highlighting women, artists of color and under-represented practitioners. Since 2015, our student films on local artists have premiered at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival to appreciative audiences. Although, Houston has a thriving contemporary art scene, it’s rarely highlighted in films. 14 Pews Academy hopes to help change this, one short film at a time.
ABOUT INSTRUCTOR: Cressandra Thibodeaux is an artist who had her mixed-media series OIL ON WATER, (abstract images of the BP Oil Spills) shown at Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland. She is also a photographer, filmmaker and storyteller. She started actively exploring film while being a camera-woman at Houston Public Access in 1990. She then went on to receive her MFA from Columbia University’s Film Program. At Columbia University she was part of an educational team that taught documentary filmmking to middle school students in Harlem. Cressandra is passionate about helping other filmmakers develop their skills, while also promoting Texas contemporary artists. She balances her time as a teacher with her creative filmmaking work and running 14 Pews. Cressandra is also the founder of several small film festivals and the Executive Director of 14 Pews.
LIST of several past GUEST SPEAKERS:
SEAN BAKER: New York based writer/director Sean Baker received his B.A. in Film Studies from New York University. Sean directed award-winning films such as Take Out (co-directed with Shih-Ching Tsou), Prince of Broadway, and Starlet. Prince of Broadway was named one of the best films of 2010 by the Los Angeles Times, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Woodstock Film Festival, and won the Special Jury Prize at Locarno International Film Festival. He co-created the Fox and IFC series Greg the Bunny, and directed, wrote, and executive produced the MTV series Warren the Ape. Sean’s most recent film, Tangerine, was shot entirely on the iPhone 5s. Tangerine premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and will have a limited release on July 10, 2015.
WAYNE SLATEN: studied art and communications at Marshall University and Methodist University. After working on several award winning short films, Slaten founded Moonlite Filmwerks in 2007 to focus on writing, directing and producing feature length movies. Through Moonlite Filmwerks, he successfully showcased his directing talents in the well received feature length film BACKROAD, distributed in 2012. He directed and co-wrote the short film COLD WAR which was selected as part of a one hundred city international film competition to screen at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. That same year, Slaten was a quarterfinalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. Slaten recently directed the spy-thriller OSPREY and was Second Unit Director on THE COSTUME SHOP. He is now in postproduction on the feature film PATRIOT ACT scheduled for release in 2016.
BILL HOWZE: co-producer and editor of the insightful documentary, The Strange Demise of Jim Crow, which is a multi-level story of urban power and change: student demonstrators vs. segregationists; the white power structure's fear of integration vs. their greater fear of violence, embarrassing national publicity and financial losses; secret deal-making vs. freedom of the press.
ALFRED CERVANTES: Deputy Director of the Houston Film Commission and a native Houstonian, has worked in various capacities in film for the past 18 years. His duty with the film commission is to promote the greater Houston area to film producers, production executives and independent filmmakers, to scout locations and facilitate any production's local filming experience.
MICHAEL COHN: is a professional director and screenwriter with twenty years experience writing feature length screenplays in the entertainment industry. He has sold pitches and original scripts to the major studios, adapted novels and short stories, and written screenplays for such filmmakers as John McTiernan, Alfonso Arau, Bille August, Tim Burton, and Martin Scorsese.
JIM BARHAM: Director-cameraman Jim Barham began his career in the mailroom of KPRC-TV in Houston after a severe case of stage fright ended his acting career. He spent the next four years under the tutelage of Bruce Bryant and Dee Brown hiding behind the camera and developing his filmmaking skills working variously as a sound mixer, camera assistant, gaffer, cinematographer and editor.
BRUCE BRYANT: Mr. Bryant has directed documentaries, television programs, segments, corporate videos, commercials, DVD's, simulcasts and specials featuring Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Vince Bell, Earl Campbell, Dana Cooper, Guy Clark, Shake Russell, Eric Taylor, Taj Mahal, Don McLean, Steven Fromholz, Arlo Guthrie, Jerry Jeff Walker and many-many more!
LARRY R. MCKEE: An extremely gifted Cinematographer and Producer he has worked on such films as “Occam’s Razor,” “For Whom He Tolls,” “Divorce Texas Style,” “Key of D” and several projects that are in the making including “Suicide Notes,” and “Patriot Act.”