Filmmaker Jere Michael, who had never shown the film anywhere, approached the University of Arizona and was referred to the Hanson Film Institute, where Director Vicky Westover was struck by how much this film needed to be shown. And so it is that ‘Off the Street’, a film from almost 50 years ago, is making its world premiere next week right here in Tucson.
The Hanson Film Institute will present the World Premiere of Off the Street, a 1968 short film documenting a summer camp devised by teachers from the Art Students League in New York in response to the civil unrest in the wake of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. The never-before-seen film, in which art is employed as a tool for social change, follows a group of artistically talented and ethnically diverse students from inner-city New York who travel to the Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, VT to participate in an 8-week art camp. Filmmaker Jere Michael will be in attendance at the screening, along with Bernard Stanley Hoyes, one of the youngest camp participants, now an internationally renowned artist. The screening will be followed by a conversation about the role of art education in race relations and will be moderated by Dr. Bryan Carter, Associate Professor, UA Africana Studies.
Hanson Film Institute director Vicky Westover learned of the film following a call from Mr. Michael, a Tucson resident. “Jere called me and described the film, looking to archive it. While it is nearly 50 years old, I was struck”.
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In “War for the Planet of the Apes,” the movements of human actors are directly translated to computer-generated apes. The result is an astonishing realism — and a point of pride for Sheldon Smith ’09, who worked on the film as a VFX coordinator. Like many UA alumni in the industry, Smith got a career boost from the Hanson Film Institute — and some lucky timing. While studying media arts, he had an institute internship that was established by John Kilkenny ’09, president of special effects at 20th Century Fox and a member of the Institute’s Industry Council.