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ASU film students learn alongside Hollywood pros

November 18, 2013

Some 100 ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts students are learning how to prep, film, edit and publicize a feature film alongside veteran Hollywood professionals this semester, thanks to a new internship program and the independent film "Car Dogs."

Starring George Lopez ("Lopez Tonight"), Patrick J. Adams ("Suits") and other prominent actors, "Car Dogs" is currently being shot at a vacant car dealership in Scottsdale, Ariz. The set is also a working classroom, as Hollywood cinematographers, producers, designers and artists are serving as mentors as well as department heads, with students holding supporting positions alongside. Hollywood film grip Craig “Cowboy” Aines and ASU student on the "Car Dogs" set. Download Full Image

“You can teach students how to make a film in a classroom, but the opportunity to get hands-on experience from professionals is priceless,” says F. Miguel Valenti, the Lincoln Professor of Ethics and the Arts and the founding director of the Herberger Institute BA in film production programs. “We think this model of established filmmakers helping train the next generation of artists is a win-win for everyone.” Valenti ("Lost Skeleton of Cadavra," "The Money Kings") is also a producer on "Car Dogs."

The Feature Film Internship Program is the brainchild of Adam Collis ("Balance," "Sunset Strip"), the ASU professor of practice in film directing, who is producing and directing the film. Additional faculty, such as Jason Scott, visiting professor in film and a seasoned film publicist, and Janaki Cedanna, faculty associate and film studio manager, are on the film as well.

Work began in summer 2012, when Valenti and Collis each taught a three-credit pre-production course. Here, students were first introduced to the "Car Dogs" script, breaking it down into its budgeting and production elements. Collis worked for the past year to secure independent funding, and the film was “greenlit” for production this fall. Students were invited to apply for internships according to their chosen crafts early in the Fall 2013 academic semester. Filming began Nov. 8. A website was created ( outlining the program and departments in which students could intern. Approximately 270 students responded, of whom 95 have been given an internship opportunity. Co-producer and recent ASU film alumnus David Breschel is managing the student interns.

The film itself is not a project of the university, but is an independent endeavor undertaken by Collis and Valenti as part of their research and creative activity for the university, and staffed by many ASU film friends and alumni. Notable among those interested are television producer Howard Burkons, a 1976 theatre alumnus, and John Jackson ("The Descendants," "Sideways"), who is serving as casting director. "Car Dogs" is written by former ASU student and Phoenix native Mark Edward King.

“When Mark’s script came across my desk, I knew it was the right one for the Internship Program,” said Collis this week from the set of "Car Dogs."

“The fact that he had been a student at ASU and the film is set in Phoenix made it even better.” Noted Hollywood film professionals signed on to "Car Dogs" and who will work with ASU students are:

• Craig “Cowboy” Aines ("Dr. Dolittle 2," "Happy Gilmore"), head grip

• Edward Bonutto ("The Haunting in Connecticut"), art director

• Scott Cobb ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Lost"), production designer

• Sean Hobin ("The Matrix Reloaded," "The Matrix Revolutions," "Breaking Bad"), first assistant director

• Maggie Morgan ("Men in Black"), costume designer

• David Stump ("X-Men," "Contact"), Oscar-winning cinematographer, who is also co-teaching a cinematography class with Adam Collis.

Laurie A. Trotta Valenti,
ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre
Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Deborah Sussman Susser

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


ASU News

Shaking things up at the ASU School of Art faculty show

November 18, 2013

Every two years, the ASU Art Museum hosts an exhibition by faculty members in the prestigious ASU School of Art, one of five schools in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.     

This year, the Faculty Biennial is full of firsts. It is the first time the Biennial has consisted of three shows in three venues – the ASU Art Museum, the Harry Wood Gallery and the Night Gallery – the first time it has included work from professors’ student days and the first time there will be a separate, curated show with larger works by faculty. There will also be presentations of new research by School of Art faculty members throughout November. Anthony Pessler, "Icon with Wolf and Young Hart," 2012, oil and gold on panel. Download Full Image

“When I see the work of the faculty assembled together, I’m humbled by the talent in evidence,” said Adriene Jenik, director of the ASU School of Art. “It is especially exciting to have the opportunity this year to showcase faculty artwork and scholarship in more than one venue and context. From the luncheon research talks through the curated bodies of new work in the Night Gallery, students and community members are sure to be challenged and inspired to pursue their own visions.”

The show at the ASU Art Museum runs through Dec. 1 and features single works from faculty across the School of Art. The biennial show has a long tradition at ASU and is a unique opportunity to become familiar with a broad range of work from a world-class faculty. 

“It is a joy to work with the School of Art faculty,” said Gordon Knox, director of the ASU Art Museum, “and it is always a glorious surprise to see the breadth and depth of the artistic production that this remarkable collection of artists produce.”

New this year is the addition of two shows: one at the Night Gallery and one at the Harry Wood Gallery at the School of Art.

The exhibition at the Night Gallery at Tempe Marketplace – also open through Dec. 1 – provides a more in-depth look at work from a few of the faculty, selected by Julio Cesar Morales, the ­­­­­new curator at the ASU Art Museum.

Morales set out to curate the exhibition by meeting with faculty and responding to the work he saw. “I had excellent conversations about the content of everyone’s work and what really inspires them and how that reflects cultural values that we are questioning,” he said.

Morales, who was a curator in San Francisco before coming to ASU, was not surprised by the great strength he found in the work of ASU’s art faculty. “Part of the reason I decided to take the position at the museum,” he said, “is that when I came to interview and visit, I saw all the amazing energy that is happening here and the great new work that faculty such as Rogelio Gutierrez, Erika Lynne Hanson and Jill Mason are producing."

The exhibition, titled “Mirror People,” features new and previously unseen video, installation, painting, fiber, works on paper and photography by Peter Bugg, Binh Danh, Angela Ellsworth, Rogelio Gutierrez, Erika Lynne Hanson, Mary Hood, Jill Marie Mason, Aaron Rothman, Gregory Sale and Forrest Solis.

The other new addition is a show titled “Back in the Day,” that featured faculty work from their graduate school days. The exhibition was held at the Harry Wood Gallery at the ASU School of Art building, Oct. 16-25.

Betsy Schneider, a professor of photography and a recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, was excited about having some of her early work exhibited.

“It’s a chance to see work that is, in my case quite literally, dusty. I’ll dust it off for the show,” Schneider said. “I also think that young artists often have an energy and rawness, and one of the great things about being a professor is that you continue to be exposed to that energy.”             

In addition to the shows, there will also be a series of presentations of new research by some of the School of Art academic faculty as part of the Friday Lunch Talk Series at the ASU Art Museum.

Presentations will be by Nancy Serwint, associate professor of art history, on Nov. 1; Mary Stokrocki, professor of art education, on Nov. 8; and Claudia Mesch, associate professor of art history, on Dec. 6.

The Friday Lunch Talk Series is free and open to the public with lunch provided, although RSVPs are requested. If you plan on attending, RSVP by 5 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to the Friday talk to: or 480.965.2873

All exhibitions, lectures and openings are free and open to the public.

Deborah Sussman Susser

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts