Press Clippings

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoFilmSchoolSF Students and Alumni Work On Feature Film In San Francisco
500 Jackson Street morphs into Cinquecento, a fake restaurant for the movie “Trattoria”“Inspired by real chefs and the writers’ real-life experiences in the family restaurant business, Trattoria is a drama/comedy set in the exciting San Francisco restaurant scene about a chef and his son that reconnect and heal their past through cooking.” More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san francisco“There are two ways to make it as an actor in the Bay Area,” says veteran film actor and SF School of Digital Filmmaking (FilmSchoolSF) teacher Jeffrey Weissman. One is to be willing to fly to L.A. (or Seattle, or New York) at the drop of a hat. 
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press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoCalifornia Independent Film Festival kicks off Thursday

“This movie was a labor of love for all of us involved in the project,” said writer and director Celik Cayalar of Fog City Pictures. “We are very gratified our world premier will be in Livermore.”

Cayalar said these types of showcases are absolutely key in promoting truly low-budget films.

“It’s very difficult for a film like this to get wide distribution,” he said. “Our best opportunity to build an audience and spread the word is through small festivals like this. It’s an opportunity to generate the kind of buzz that could lead to a wider release.”
Full Story >>

Fog City Pictures >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoOakland students make documentary films about their lives

OAKLAND — Filmmaker Stephen Kopels was a combat photographer in the Vietnam War who has seen ambushes and death up close.
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press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoThe Bay Area has always had a great independent film community, but has taken quite a few hits in the past two decades. From local gentrification to the SF Film Commission hiking its fees, from notorious rents to the dot-com boom-and-bust, from skyrocketing cost-of-living to often-predatory practices of visiting film companies, it has become significantly more difficult for actors and other film professionals to make ends meet in this neck of the woods (let alone fund their dream projects).More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoThe filmmaking community is all aflutter with news of the new RED Digital Camera. New camera gear comes out all the time, right? So what’s the big deal? Basically, RED is a game-changing, evolutionary leap in film camera technology. More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoIt used to be standard for San Francisco to be portrayed in movies as a magical, mythical and slightly mysterious place where transformation could take place anywhere. Writer-director James Savoca takes a stab at reviving that rep with Around June, a dreamy-gritty fable that traces the offbeat romance between a Rapunzel-like Potrero Hill girl and a sweet but broke Mexican immigrant. More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san francisco  More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoFilmSchoolSF’s 1st Feature Film, Presque Isle, World Premiere Oct. 4 –14 at the Mill Valley Film Festival,   mvff.comThe future is the present in the V(ision)Fest – tomorrow’s technology is today’s medium for the imagination. V(ision)Fest mediamakers are the innovators and experimenters who are ready to shake, rattle and re-boot the state of cinema. Join us for the V(ision) Fest section celebrating artists who come from the glorious school of all possibilities. More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoAdmissions rep. Leah Kopels wants to talk film, so don’t wait until the curtain drops.
SF School of Digital Filmmaking
The film school was founded by industry veterans Steven Kopels and Jeremiah Birnbaum, based on the kind of school they wish they attended.  Steven and Jeremiah provide hands-on training, encourage apprenticeships, and claim to be the only school offering the opportunity to crew on a professional film!  Their students just finished filming the feature film “Around June,” a love offering set near the S.F. Ship-yards.  Whether you’re looking into their filmmaking programs, workshops or film acting classes, you’ll cultivate your passion for film at 2565 3rd St.  By Talia Salem The City Star 4/5/07

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoCelluloid is so 20th century — film schools are switching to cheaper high-def digital Maria Bernal-Silva, a 28-year-old film school student, awoke at 6:30 a.m. on a recent Monday to hold a boom mike above two actors in Potrero Hill Park. It’s hardly the glamour job on any set, but for Bernal-Silva, who is enrolled at the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking, the opportunity to work on the feature “Around June” amounted to progress, compared with her last stint in a film school. By Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writer, 2/17/07  More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoUnique Collaboration For Film In S.F. There is another movie that is in production on the fabled streets of San Francisco. It’s a production of a San Francisco school that wants to make films digitally. By Don Sanchez, 2/6/07 More >>  

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press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoVisa Will Put Digital Film School On Map
San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking has more than doubled its size and revenue since opening last year and expects to accelerate growth in 2007 by tapping aspiring filmmakers abroad. By Lizette Wilson, 12/8/06  More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoDirecting Wannabe Directors
Jeremiah Birnbaum stands in the familiar environment of the soundstage. The lights are up, the camera focused. The crew is in place. Only he is not behind the camera or in the director’s chair. Birnbaum, who has worked in film and video for nearly all of his adult life, is a teacher now. The crew is all students at the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking, less than a month into a 12-month program, feeling their way through the technology and the form. By Rick Polito 11/30/06  More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoPage Six
Waiting for Hollywood to call is a lot like being on hold with the phone company. Life just passes you by. Grab hold of it instead by entering your screenplay into San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking’s Six in the City screenwriting contest. 11/27/06  More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoDigital film program opens to success
The San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking (FilmSchoolSF) has only had its doors open since April 2005. Since that time the staff has been working around the clock to keep up with the demand. By Steven E.F. Brown, 10/06  More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoEducator/Film School of the Week
The San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking is turning the idea of the traditional film school on its head. By throwing out the years of classroom lecturing, FilmSchoolSF has developed a truly cutting-edge curriculum for up-and-coming moviemakers. 9/25/06  More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoThose Who Do, Teach
New School Gets Filmmaking Right
Stephen Kopels, a 35-year veteran of the film industry, likens the April 25th opening of his and co-founder Jeremiah Birnbaum’s San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking to that of a restaurant. “You pour everything you’ve got into making it work,” said Kopels, a senior producer/director at PBS for 12 years, “but in the end all you can do is sit and wait.” By Ben Hager 4/05  More >>

press clipping logo directing classes san franciscoNew digital film school opens in S.F.
Classes begin April 25 at the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking, where 12 students will start an 18-week intro course By Steven E.F. Brown, 10/17/05  More >>

San Francisco Digital Film: Saturn Rising

san francisco digital filmAnother San Francisco Digital Film School alum is out there making it happen in the Bay Area digital film scene. This time, we’ve got Garry Bowden of Class 7 of the San Francisco Digital Film School 1-Year Filmmaking program and his newest digital film, SATURN RISING. Shot in a few spots in San Francisco, Garry leveraged everything he learned at San Francisco Digital Film School – and then some – to bring together a great team and run a solid shoot. Writer, director, producer and fundraiser, Garry did it all.

About the film:
Saturn Rising is the story of a young woman, Olivia, who must confront how her life is going to change after she finds out she is unexpectedly pregnant. It’s based on the astrological concept of Saturn Return which says that between 27-30 people transition into Act II of their life. Meaning by that age you’ve experienced everything you’re going to and now since you have seen virtually every situation there is your life is now determined by the choices you make. But before you can proceed into Act II their is a major conflict/situation to deal with. In Olivia’s case it’s her pregnancy and the story is about how she faces that news.

Word of Garry’s efforts got around quickly and soon San Francisco culture/deal-making operation ScoutMob reached out and asked for an interview.

It was during a drive down Fulton that Garry says he was struck with the idea for Saturn Rising’s plot. In a city as inspiring as San san francisco digital filmFrancisco, a lighting idea really can strike at any time. He wrote the script in one night and has spent the last five months raising money, filming, tying everything together in post-production and getting ready to share it with the city, which just happens to be this Friday at The Roxie. It’s the second short he’s made about San Francisco life and says he has plans to make at least four more. He feels lucky he’s found a talented group of people to work with so he doesn’t have to make a move down to Tinsel Town: CONTINUE WITH THE INTERVIEW

Of course, Garry counted on a top-notched crew which, not coincidentally, consisted mostly of San Francisco Digital Film School alum.

– Alex Fletcher (Class 7, 1-Year), DP
– Harmony Nichol (Class 7, 1-Year), Art Director
– Peter Lee, (Class 10, 1-Year) Set Designer
– Dave Malloure, (Class 10, 1-Year) AC
– Khen Shomron, (Class 6, 1-Year) Grip
– Staci DeGagne, (Class 3, 1-Year) Color correction

SATURN RISING will be screening Friday, April 18th (7:30 + 8:30) at the venerable Roxie Theater in the Mission. More than a simple screening, Gary enlisted the talented musician duo of WILD CHILD to play a few numbers and will be featuring poetry by Jonathan Hirsh ahd Bill Taylor. Art by Cassadra Cellini will be on display and tea service is courtesy of Om Shan Tea.

Tickets are a paltry $10 – you should go!

FilmSchoolSF Film Acting Cover in Theatre Bay Area

bay area digital film schoolsA big part of what makes FilmSchoolSF, one of the top San Francisco Bay Area digital film schools, such a nurturing and productive place is that we’re continually evolving, building and growing as an institution. We’re always looking for ways to make the FilmSchoolSF experience that much more relevant and special. From introducing new classes to fine-tuning existing courses, we make certain to assess the current state of the film school and confirm that we are operating at the height of professional effectiveness. One of our most important recent efforts hasbay area digital film schools been the reworking of the FilmSchoolSF Film Acting program. We’ve introduced a couple new classes and taken strides to better integrate the program with the FilmSchoolSF digital filmmaking program.

These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Several weeks ago we were contacted by the Bay Area’s largest theater publication, Theatre Bay Area, who came by and interviewed instructor Jeffrey Weissman and FilmSchoolSF co-founder, Jeremiah Birnbaum. The article was posted in the December issue of the magazine.

“There are two ways to make it as an actor in the Bay Area,” said veteran film actor and San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking instructor Jeffrey Weissman. One is to be willing to fly to L.A. (or Seattle, or New York) at the drop of a hat. But if you want to stay here in the Bay Area and make a living as an actor, you’ve got to diversify. For some that diversification could include voice-over work or modeling. For others, this might mean making the leap into film acting. San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking, one of the Bay Area’s most intensive film programs, has recently overhauled its acting program to better suit the needs of the community…”

Read the full article

Shadow Angel Films shoots 4th short film

Ah, success stories. It’s great to be able to write about so many of our alumni who continue to make films after they leave the school. Both our One-Year Filmmaking Program and 5-Week Filmmaking Workshop turn out top-notch filmmakers who take the lessons learned at FilmSchoolSF and put them to practice on a wide variety of projects.

Filmmakers Heather Donnell and Chris R. Smith took the 5-Week Filmmaking Workshop way back in 2008. You may recall a previous post on their film “Shadow Angel” from October of last year. Here we are almost in 2011 and Chris and Heather have shot their 4th film together and show no signs of slowing down.

This fourth film is titled “On It” and was shot a couple weekends ago in Dogpatch. The film, first developed by Heather during the workshop, puts a boyfriend and girlfriend on the same crowded MUNI bus.

ON IT is about a relationship under pressure and the complications that get in the way of the couple’s attempts to communicate. Six months into their relationship, Craig and Angela each have something important to tell each other, but can they find the courage to say it? One bus ride changes the course of their relationship forever.

Of course, for a story set on a crowded bus, you actually need to shoot on a crowded bus. Ever resourceful, Chris and Heather rented an official San Francisco MUNI bus complete with driver and inspector, sourced a dozen or so extras and spent 5 hours doing gentle laps around Esprit Park in Dogpatch. The duo used the popular fund-raising platform, Kickstarter, to gather the nickles and dimes needed to pay for the bus rental. Within a short time they were able to raise 103% of the money needed – $4,280!

While the film is still in post-production, you can watch the great time-lapse video of the 5-hour shoot. “On It” was picked up by a few local blogs, too. Laughing Squid, SF Egoist and MUNIDiaries.

Class 11 students take on the 2010 Film Racing

film racingEveryone knows filmmaking is hard work. It takes tons of time and effort to make a good piece. And even under the best working environments and with weeks and weeks of planning, shooting a film is a maddening endeavor at best.

Now, take away the “time” and the flexibility and opportunity it affords and you have a new challenge altogether. Two months? Two weeks? How about 24 HOURS? We’re talkin’ ’bout film racing, folks!  Yeeeehaaawww!

Honestly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why make something as complex and complicated as filmmaking that much more difficult? Because it’s fun. And fun doesn’t need to make sense.

We covered another batch of SFSDF student and alumni and their film competition a few months ago. SFSDF students have done well in these types of events in the past even winning three awards (Best Film, Best Editing, Best Screenplay) in the 2009 National Film Challenge.

Now it is Class 11’s turn to step into the craziness. We asked Richard Falzone, Producer/Director of Team Cranial Fortitude, a few questions before he and his team walked into film racing battle.


Why would you do this to yourself?

Having done far worse in the name of commerce (places with no running water, Malaria, shootings and religious hymns). Film racing sounded like fun.

How did you choose your team?

Straws. Small straw loses and there you go. You direct. No, actually. It was easy. All of Class 11 day is involved, with an invitation to the night class, too. We are lucky enough to have a few ringers. Like Bill (Double Tap) Ulleseit and Fenny Kuo. Plus, after watching the screening last Saturday of our first projects, it just confirmed what I already knew; SFSDF has an incredible pool of talent here! We are still looking for actors!

Do we have a secret weapon?

Yes, but if I told you, I would then be forced to kill you and feed you to some type of zombie creature.

We’re going to check back with the filmmakers again over the weekend – and during their shoot – and also cover their screening at the Roxie on May 6th. Expect photos, video and deep insight into what it takes to win a 24hr Film Race.

film racing

Casting/Production Assistant: Adrea (“Dino”) Palladino
Editors: Keith (“Fabin Vanhooten Dersmoot”) Azoube, Fenny Kuo
Lighting/Sound: Bill (“Double Tap”) Ulleseit, Peter (“Ripone Pearl Two”) Rippon
Writer/Continuity: Sam (“Sam I Am”) Holmes
Director of Photography: (“Steven”) Tyler Johnson
First AD: Fenny Kuo
Second AD: Andrea (“Chile”) Kuncar
PA: Mysterious Cameroonian
Director/Producer: Richard (Fazi) Falzone