Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Palace Theatre Supports Sacred Heart University's 1st Graduate Class of Film Students

Historic Performing Arts Center Joins Forces with Stamford Venues to Showcase City’s Only Graduate Film and Television Program

The Palace Theatre’s Sackler Gallery was sparkling last month with the creative energy of young filmmakers, when students of Sacred Heart University’s new Film & Television Masters Program (FTMA) convened with established filmmakers and scholars for a celebration of the cinematic arts. A highlight of the first-annual “FTMA Film Festival” was a showcase held at The Palace of films made by the program’s inaugural class. The four-day event, held from September 25 to September 28, kicked off the fall semester of the FTMA’s second year.

The Palace collaborated with Stamford’s community of presenters to provide the perfect campus for Fairfield County’s very own film festival. As co-sponsors, The Palace, The Avon Theater and the Stamford Innovation Center hosted a variety of screenings, master classes, workshops and parties. According to Justin Liberman, Visiting Professor and Festival Director, Sacred Heart University’s first annual FTMA Film Festival was “a huge success!” 160 people attended the opening night awards gala, where screenwriter and Fairfield County native Anthony Tambakis (Warrior) was honored. He is currently adapting the 1961 novel and film, The Hustler, for Broadway.

Anthony Tambakis with his mother, Marina.
Sacred Heart’s FTMA program is the first and only one in the state. Guest speakers and lecturers at the festival included: Allen Coulter (director, Boardwalk Empire, Sopranos, Sex and the City, House of Cards, Sons of Anarchy), Emily Wachtel (screenwriter, Lucky Them), Sacred Heart University Professor Sidney Gottlieb (editor, Hitchcock on Hitchcock), and Tambakis. A 30th-anniversary screening of Milos Forman’s multiple Oscar winning film, Amadeus, at the Stamford Innovation Center concluded the festival, with the film’s producer, Michael Hausman (Gangs of New York, Brokeback Mountain) and star, Tom Hulce, in attendance.
"Lucky Them" screenwriter, Emily Wachtel
A total of 20 graduate student awards were distributed for 18 films that were made regionally, including: Best Picture (Tiffani Brooke, Attitude in Motion, NY), Best Director (Antonio Esposito, The Clearing, CT), Best Screenplay (Louis Bower, Jim & Emma, NY), and Best Producer (Alicia Bozzone, SH, CT). These students are now submitting their films to festivals worldwide.
Sacred Heart University's FTMA Graduate Student Filmmakers

The FTMA Film Festival was open to the public and approximately 120 people attended each night, including Stamford Mayor, David Martin.

As part of its sponsorship of Sacred Heart University’s FTMA program, The Palace Theatre provided opportunities for students to gain hands-on production experience. Participating students, including Tiffani Brooke, Best Director award winner at this year’s festival, were paid a stipend to film “UpStage at The Palace” performances, including Showcase 61 (indie music), Laughtrax (improvisational comedy), and Playtime at The Palace (family entertainment).

The Palace Theatre is no stranger to cinema. The longest-running arts presenter in Stamford history, The Palace was originally established in 1927 (built in 1893) as a movie theater and vaudeville house, when the WWI comedy, Rookies, was shown on what is still the largest screen in the city. Today, the renovated and restored Palace Theatre boasts state-of-the-art AV capabilities, including a Harmon sound system and the ability for rear projection.

The original Palace marquee, c. 1927

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