SFSDF Graduates Premiere Films at Cannes

June 10, 2016
Taylor Louis


Recent FilmSchoolSF graduates, Evan Adler and Sian Taylor Gowan, premiered films at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in France, one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. Both of their films were produced while students at the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking.

“This is the second year in a row our students have premiered films at Cannes,” says FilmSchoolSF President, Jeremiah Birnbaum. It’s becoming a wonderful trend and we couldn’t be more proud of our students’ achievement!”

image2Evan’s film PRUNUS PERSICA was his thesis film project as part of the Digital Filmmaking Program. A former professional dancer, Adler likened making his film to birthing a child. “From start to finish, it was one of the most difficult challenges I’ve taken on in my short lifetime. However, it is also one of the most rewarding experiences i’ve encountered, as I was humbled to see so many talented individuals bringing their talents to this project in order to see it’s vision come to completion.” Evan continues, “I believe the success of this film lies in the months of pre-production and re-writing of script after script. It was all in the details, locking in the right look, the right locations, the right casting and the right production preparation. Script advisor and resident screenwriting teacher, Fred Ritzenberg, worked for months with me to “green light” the 27th version of this script after it was almost scrapped twice at the beginning of it conception.”

Anna Shen-Sian Gowan-Sarai Smith Mazariegos

Sian Taylor Gowan started researching and shooting SURVIVING INTERNATIONAL BOULEVARD during the 6-Month Documentary Filmmaking Program and completed the short documentary film about a year later. “Producing and directing a social cause film about people’s lives, about very personal traumatic details in their lives, is a great privilege that I take very seriously. Concealing identities and assessing how much private content should be revealed in the storyline made the post-production process lengthy, but well worth the time.” Gowan also reflected on the importance of obtaining feedback during the process. “Consulting a rough cut with Jeremiah Birnbaum of SFSDF and with Dianne Griffin of DigAll also helped keep my perspective on track.” Now that the cinema-industry premiere has shown at the Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner, Gowan’s mission for the film is to create awareness and action in the local Bay Area community. “It’s time to screen publicly at festivals, nonprofit events, schools, and anywhere that we can make an impact to stop sex trafficking of our local young girls.”

SIB PosterSURVIVING INTERNATIONAL BOULEVARD reveals the complex reality of domestic child sex trafficking through the intersecting experiences of two local women from Oakland, California. Driving along International Boulevard’s dark streets, a mother recounts her own wild determination to rescue her 15 year old daughter from a sex trafficker “boyfriend”. Night after night, combing the dangerous streets of East Oakland, she never gives up on her child. Switching to daylight, a nonprofit advocate and survivor of sexual exploitation shares her 14 years of experience helping young victims get the help they so desperately need. Driving along The Blade as they call it, Sarai Smith Mazariegos, co-founder of MISSSEY.org and founder of SHADEProject.org, shares her personal story while breaking down the raw truth about victims and traffickers as it unfolds on the street around her. Stay informed about the movement to stop child sex trafficking on the film’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SurvivingIntlBlvd and sign up for email updates on the film’s website, www.survivinginternationalboulevard.com.

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