For those interested in a career in film, MICA presents a wide range of opportunities.
Posted 12.29.11 by MICA Communications
For those interested in a career in film, MICA presents a wide range of opportunities. The Video and Film Department is growing, offering artists a chance to explore installation, documentary, narrative, and experimental genres. But as alumni have shown, artists who have studied under a variety of the College's programs can end up standing out in the world of film. MICA's track record among film professionals is stellar, as faculty, alumni, and students continue to prove that the College has what it takes to make an impact in this competitive industry. Here is a roundup of some of MICA's shining lights.
Martha Colburn '93
Martha Colburn has had a lot of highlights in her film career since graduating with a major in general fine arts. Among the biggest was a trip to the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival, where her film about cosmetic surgery and war, Cosmetic Emergency, was screened and Colburn had the opportunity to meet two of her heroes-producer Ray Harryhausen and documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles. Colburn said she's most proud of two of her films: Myth Labs, a story that explores the methamphetamine epidemic, and Triumph of the Wild, a history of war in the United States. Interviewed recently in Art in America magazine about her work, Dolls vs. Dictators, which pits museum figurines against autocrats, Colburn produces films that explore life-changing topics, such as metamorphosis, salvation, and mortality. "I have made films about drugs, religion, mining, our environment, war, television, and a million other things," she said.
Larry Jackson '13
While watching a television show as a teenager, Larry Jackson wondered about the people behind the scenes. Realizing that he wanted to create visual art one day, "I decided to move into video," he said. Documentaries are his current passion, and the video major hopes to use his talent to improve his community. "I would like to show the good things that happen in Baltimore," he said. Jackson is already off to a good start-he has interned at the Mayor's Office of Cable and Communications and the Education Channel of Baltimore City Public Schools, as well as volunteered as a videographer for Governor Martin O'Malley's re-election campaign. Recently, he created a video blog of a trip to China that can be viewed at baltimoretochina.com.
"I was inspired by the incredible potential of making my own images," said MICA faculty member Allen Moore of his experiences with still photography in high school. "What I love most is my ability to learn about other people and other cultures, interpret that experience, and share it with an audience." Among the highlights of his 30-year film career is The Shepherds of Berneray, a documentary about a year spent with a Gaelic-speaking island community. The film helped him to win a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a CINE Golden Eagle, a "Red Ribbon" award at the American Film Festival, and more recognitions. He teamed up with producer Ken Burns for the mini-series Prohibition as well as an Emmy Award-winning mini-series documentary called The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Despite all of his success, "the thing I'm most excited about now is sharing that experience with young filmmakers." His daughter, Sophie, is currently studying graphic design at MICA.
Michael Milano '09
While at MICA, Michael Milano took a course in motion graphics. "That's when I found out that was really what I wanted to do in design," the 2009 graphic design major said. In 2010, he moved to Los Angeles and landed a job at Sassoon Film Design. While there, he worked his way up from rotoscoping to compositing, and had the opportunity to work on such films as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Green Hornet, and The Smurfs, where he converted film from 2-D to 3-D. Though the 16-hour days have at times been challenging, Milano has enjoyed every step and is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. "I'm willing to do whatever it takes," he said.
Ernest Norcia '69
Ernest Norcia, a 1969 graduate of the Hoffberger School of Painting, was illustrating articles for physicists and astronomers when his work caught the attention of scientist Carl Sagan. So when Sagan began work on his Peabody- and Emmy Award-winning documentary, Cosmos, he hand-picked Norcia and a group of other illustrators to work on an animated sequence for the film. Since they did not have a traditional film background, "the people doing all the film magic pretty much taught us how to prepare our artwork so it could be filmed properly," Norcia recalled. In 1981, the team won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement-Creative Technical Crafts. Norcia continues to paint and last November won an award in New York City at the Salmagundi Club for a small portrait he did of his niece. While the film work was a great experience, Norcia said he is proud to lead an active career as an illustrator. He currently teaches both at the Moore College of Art & Design and Hussian School of Art, both in Philadelphia.
Jimmy Joe Roche '08
Jimmy Joe Roche has had no lack of film opportunities. The 2008 Mount Royal School of Art graduate worked on the film, The Manchurian Candidate in 2004, a job that included creating the journal of Corporal Allen Melvin that was carried by Denzel Washington throughout the film and featured prominently in the movie and trailer. "That was the first time I really had an imprint on a feature film I was working on," Roche said. However, it was far from the last. Roche has since collaborated with filmmaker Jonathan Demme on Neil Young: Heart of Gold and Rachel Getting Married, as well as with electronic musician Dan Deacon for a live music and video performance called Ultimate Reality. In addition to his work in film, Roche is teaching film-related courses at both MICA and The Johns Hopkins University.
Image captions (top to bottom): A still from one of Martha Colburn's '93 animation films; Larry Johnson '13 (Photo by Geoffrey Baker); Allen Moore in Mount Rainer National Park; Michael Milano '09; Ernest Norcia '69 won an award in New York City at the Salmagundi Club for this portrait he did of his niece; Jimmy Joe Roche '08, Homelands, video still, 2010