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Three film students invited to Cannes Festival

May 2, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Three Western Michigan University students have been competitively selected to participate in two student-oriented programs at the Cannes International Film Festival this month.

The trio, Katherine Densmore of Augusta, Mich., Brian Lane of Saline, Mich. and Mallory Yockey of Roseville, Mich., are all majoring in film, video and media studies in the WMU School of Communication. Lane was selected for the American Pavilion Student Program, and Densmore and Yockey for the Adobe Reel Ideas Studio Student Filmmaking Program.

This is the second year in a row that WMU School of Communication students have been selected for Cannes summer programs. In 2007, FVMS major Jacob Durrett of Battle Creek, Mich., attended and was on the first place Adobe Reel Ideas team. Following that award, Durrett was invited to attend Project Access Hollywood in New Mexico, working with Chris Coppola. He also appeared as a background extra on HBO's award-winning "Entourage" in a special episode titled "Cannes Kids."

Since 1989, The American Pavilion has been the focus of the U.S. film industry's presence at the Cannes International Film Festival, serving as a communications and hospitality center for journalists, publicists, celebrities, filmmakers and motion picture executives. Lane was one of 145 students selected worldwide. For the past 20 years, the American Pavilion has offered film students the chance to participate in its student program, completing a work placement and participating in educational workshops, seminars, pitch sessions, roundtable discussions and screenings. In 2007, 145 students from 66 schools and seven countries interacted with established filmmakers and other industry professionals.

As participants in The Adobe Reel Ideas Studio Student Filmmaking Program, Densmore and Yockey will make a short film at the festival with other students from around the world. The filmmaking program is a collaborative, mentored experience in which students work in diverse teams and are provided insider access to film-world luminaries and premieres.

"I encouraged all of my students to apply to these program, and we learned in March that all three who had applied were accepted," says Dr. Jennifer A. Machiorlatti, associate professor of communication and the students' video production mentor. "This is really a pivotal moment in their lives. To join other U.S. film schools such as Chapman, NYU and USC, as well as students from some of the world's top film programs, is a wonderful opportunity for collaboration and international exposure."

The Cannes International Film Festival is regarded as the largest and most prestigious film festival in the world. Held annually in the resort town of Cannes on the southern coast of France, it attracts the best and brightest in the industry to exhibit, propose, network and, most importantly, screen awarding winning films.

Students say they are excited about attending the world-famous festival.

Densmore is a writer and wrote a screenplay that was produced and screened at the SoC Media Festival in December 2007. Densmore admits that growing up in a small West Michigan town is vastly different from large entertainment hubs like New York or Chicago. She has always wanted to travel and thought about it growing up. Now her time has come.

"I can't wait to meet all the students and other filmmakers from around the globe," Densmore says. "There may even be more people at Cannes than live in my hometown."

Yockey is a junior and member of the communication honors society Lambda Pi Eta. She and Densmore recently produced an experimental video short that they submitted for consideration at the Waterfront Film Festival, held annually in Saugatuck, Mich., during June.

"Not only do I get to meet people from all over the world," Yockey says, "I get to travel with two of my WMU peers and be immersed in the whole atmosphere of cinema production work."

Lane is a writer, director and director of photography who specializes in adapting his creative writing into video. He showcased several shorts at the School of Communication Media Festival in 2007 and has since produced "Adenosine N4," an experimental digital film, with Durrett that they entered in the Waterfront and Battle Creek Film festivals. A junior, Lane is also a musician and scores many of his digital videos. He hopes to pick up the accordion while in Cannes.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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