a very accelerated program," Gordon said.
"It's beyond what anyone else is doing."
Gordon Institute for Independent Film Makers
By Jackie Young
Independent filmmakers will soon find a valuable resource in the
red rocks of Sedona. Those who want to take a two-day seminar
or a year-plus-long filmmaking program now have a now option other
than traveling to New York or Los Angeles.
can enjoy the splendor of Red Rock Country and its proximity to
Hollywood's power brokers, while immersing in the minutiae of
their craft at the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Film
Making, at Yavapai Community College's new Sedona campus at the
Sedona Cultural Park.
a faculty member and award-winning screenwriter, announced the
creation of the innovative film school at last month's fabulous
Sedona Film Festival Gala. The new film institute is targeted
at the special needs of indie filmmakers.
spending thousands on tuition at a major four-year-institution,
Gordon suggested that anyone driven by the passion it takes to
make an indie film should invest a year and a lot less tuition
in the Zaki Gordon Institute. By the end of two years, Gordon
promised, the students who follow the curriculum plan will have
an indie script, trailer and film to shop around to distributors.
He called the program the first of its kind. And he would know,
as an industry insider himself and the father of a son who did
the more expensive, traditional four-year school film degree program.
For, in addition
to his personal investment as a faculty-member, Gordon brings
a moving personal and emotional investment to this now school.
The school takes its name from Gordon's son, a talented filmmaker,
whose work was screened at last month's Sedona festival.
"Waiting for Mo," Zak Gordon's first indie film, highlights the
concerns of an interesting group of upper middle class San Fernando
Valley, California, high school seniors following their graduation.
The film was made in 1996 by the younger Gordon, a graduate of
New York University's Tisch School for the Arts (film major).
At age 22, just six months after he graduated from college, Zaki
perished in a tragic car accident in December, 1998.
In a weird
turn of events where life imitates art, Zaki's movie explored
at least one of his characters being troubled by the death of
a friend in a car accident.
the institute and Zaki's film, Dan Gordon appeared to be battling
back tears as he touted his son's accomplishments dating back
to around age five, when he first told his father he had an idea
for a film. He also told of how his son had published his first
novel by the time he was 19 (Davin, Delacoud Press, 1995).
obvious love and admiration for his son left few in the small,
packed room at Sedona's Harkins luxury theatre complex with dry
eyes that morning. It was hard to decide which was more moving,
the father's testament to his son's genius or his son's lasting
legacy in film to his adolescent passion for life.
Sedona Center for Arts & Technology opens in May, when the Zaki
Gordon Institute also open its doors with its first two-day seminar,
May 27-28, at the scenic new campus, located in the Sedona Cultural
Park, just across the street from Sedona Red Rock High School,
off Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona.
May seminar will big director-producer Dan Myrick, hailed as "the
guru of Indie filmmakers" for his work directing the popular Blair
Witch Project," which so far has made its investors some $145
million in sales (as of early April 2000). Myrick made the film,
which even made it to some Northern Arizona theatres, on a $30,000
budget, using the Internet to market the film. In addition to
showing a director's cut of the film, Myrick will share with seminar
participants how the film was made and marketed.
The May seminar
is just one in a series the Institute will offer leading up to
its opening in late August, according to Keith Harwood, acting
director of the Sedona Center for Arts & Technology. Other faculty
at the Institute, Harwood said, will include actress Linda Gray,
a veteran of the popular "Dallas" television series, teaching
acting; Russell Cooper-Mead and other famous names from Hollywood;
as well as teachers from four-year schools, including UCLA and
New York University.
other major players in the film industry will be included in the
faculty for the intensive film program and many of its seminars
open to the public and its students at the Sedona campus.
which will be limited to 25 students, will involve one year of
course work and a second year devoted to making a film, Harwood
said. By the end of the first year, students will be expected
to have completed a 15-minute thesis-style film short and their
film's script with assistance from faculty like Gordon, he said.
also assist students in their second year as they attempt to sell
their screenplay, seek financial backing from investors and get
the film ready for distribution, he added.
"It's a very
accelerated program," Gordon said. "It's beyond what anyone else
is doing." In-state annual tuition for the Institute will be $2,750
per student. Out-of-state annual tuition will be $7,750.
the focus will be on serving local students first and foremost.
The cutoff for admissions for this fall will be mid-to-late summer.
introduced for Fall 2000 enrollment will integrate short-term
workshops with core classes in analysis, image, sound and story
work. Students will also have hands-on access to state-of-the-art
digital media equipment along with the mentoring they will receive
from leading film industry professionals and visiting artists,
according to school brochures.
to be first-class!" Harwood promised.
For more information, contact Yavapai College at (520) 204-2691
or write to Keith Harwood, in care of Yavapai College, 1725 West
Hwy. 89A, Suite 5, Sedona, AZ 86336.
A web site
also has been set up at www.sedonacenterorg.
Additional information will be posted on the web site as it becomes