Vol. 6 No. 4 - Winter 2012
Winter 2012
2012 Holiday Party, Interview with Mike Connors and
Sean Mullin, Event Recaps, Alumni Updates and More!

Editor's Note
Hello fellow alumni, and welcome to the Winter edition of the CUE newsletter! This quarter, we’ve got an interview with independent filmmakers Michael Connors and Sean Mullin, who collaborated on the military thriller Allegiance, which will be available on demand December 6th and in theaters January. We speak to them about how they financed this film and the challenges they faced.

We also have details about CUE’s 6th Annual Holiday Party and report back on our first Navigating the Industry Roundtable event with Beth Schacter.

This is our last newsletter of 2012! Thanks for reading. If you have any requests for what you’d like to see more of or people you think we should feature, please shoot us an email at editor@cue-network.org.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season and a creative new year!

Kate and Austen
CUE Newsletter Editors

Stay connected via the CUE Facebook page , our website and for those who are graduates of the School of the Arts, the official School of the Arts Alumni Facebook group.

It's the most wonderful time of the year again! The 6th Annual Holiday Party is on the books for Wednesday, December 12, 2012.


This year we're getting back to our roots and making the festivities highlight what's important to us - networking with our core group of industry professionals! On that note, we are hosting an intimate gathering exclusive to Columbia alumni and their guests. Take this opportunity to seize the night and have fun, insightful, and candid conversations with connections new and old!

For this night of merriment we've reserved St. Felix/Hollywood. St. Felix is the spacious new Hollywood counterpart of the rated Best of LA Weekly West Hollywood bar/lounge/bistro. ...Read more and RSVP HERE


CUE Holiday Party 2012

Recaps of recent events.

LA Food Bank Volunteering Event - Nov. 3, 2012
Some of CUE’s members met at the Los Angeles Food Bank bright and early on a Saturday morning to get to know each other while giving back. As expected, a few hours of sorting produce together led to much laughter and easy conversation. We understand there were some technical snafus with the charity’s registration website, so our apologies to anyone who ran into frustration there. We’ll try to handle the sign-up process ourselves in the future. We hope to tackle an outdoor activity for our next volunteering/networking event in 2013 - stay tuned for more information.

SoCal Mixer - Nov. 13, 2012
Columbia alumni groups Columbia SoCal and CUE got together for an informal mixer on November 13th atop the rooftop deck at the Standard Downtown. Alumni chatted over glorious views and champagne specials. New friends were made and old connections rekindled at this high-end and trendy hotel bar. We hope to offer more mixers with SoCal and other fellow alum groups in the new year.

Navigating the Industry: Roundtable with Beth Schacter - Nov. 15, 2012
CUE’s brand new programming endeavor - a series of Roundtables on Navigating the Industry - launched to a hugely successful start on November 15th. Writer/director and Columbia SOA alum Beth Schacter sat down with a group of enthusiastic alums for a candid and humorous account of her experience navigating the entertainment industry post-Columbia. Schacter, writer/director of the indie film Normal Adolescent Behavior, is currently working as a writer on the ABC Family series Bunheads . Over snacks and sodas, she shared insight and advice on a broad range of topics with the lucky attendees. Attendance to the roundtable events are strictly limited to ensure a casual, conversational environment, and the guest list for this one filled within a day, so keep an eye out for information on future roundtables.


Writer/director Michael Connors (FILM ‘06) and producer Sean Mullin (FILM ‘06) recently collaborated on their debut feature film, Allegiance an independently produced military thriller starring Seth Gabel, Pablo Schreiber, Shad "Bow Wow" Moss and Aidan Quinn.

Connors and Mullin are both graduates of the MFA Film program and longtime collaborators. Both have military backgrounds, which connected them to the material and to a network of veterans and ex-military who helped the project get off the ground. Allegiance was acquired by XLrator Media and will be released On Demand in December and theaters in January. You can view the trailer here.

CUE: Congrats on gaining distribution for Allegiance, which is also just beginning its festival run. Can you tell us the plan for the film’s release?

Sean Mullin: Our film was picked up for distribution after we premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival in June. Our distributors have found that the best way to release an independent film these days is to compress the three major platforms – Theatrical, VOD and DVD – into one tight window. This not only maximizes awareness for our film, but it also allows us to keep our P&A costs at a reasonable level. Our premium VOD release is scheduled for December 7th, our limited theatrical is planned for December 28th through January 4th and our DVD will follow on January 15th. We’ve also just partnered with an International Sales Agent and – assuming our projections for both domestic and international sales hold – we’re on pace to return all of our investors’ equity, along with a solid profit.

You two have been working together on this project for a long time. When did you start collaborating? Was it your common military backgrounds that first brought you together, or your approaches to filmmaking and storytelling? How has the collaborating process worked over multiple projects?

SM: Our similar Army backgrounds definitely helped bring us together, but we also have a very close mutual friend – Brian Reidy – who introduced us right around the time we were beginning the MFA program at Columbia. We weren’t in the same class, but we worked on all of our major projects together. I produced Mike’s thesis film (Recalled) and Mike was the cinematographer for the three films I wrote and directed, including my thesis (Sadiq). Our creative sensibilities aren’t completely the same, but there’s enough overlap that we’re really able to help push each of our projects in the right direction.

Read the full interview here...


Since graduating from Columbia, Michael Louis Hill has edited an indie feature, reality TV, commercials, and music videos, but he caught his big break this spring editing the webseries Halo 4: Forward unto Dawn, the largest budget webseries Microsoft has ever produced. Below, Mike tells us about how he got the job, what his typical day was like, and how his Columbia education has helped him become the successful editor he is today.

"After Graduating from Columbia I moved back home to California but quickly joined up with a few classmates to make a feature film. We traveled from Kansas City to Vegas shooting along the way. I spent a few months on the east coast cutting the film with director Joe Saunders (FILM ‘10) and then moved to Los Angeles. After learning A TON working in the reality TV world for about 6 months I caught a huge break when a friend of mine put my name forward to be an editor on Bryan Singer's web series- H+: The Digital Series. The director of that show, Stewart Hendler, then got hired to make the live action web series Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and hired me as his editor..."

Read the full article here....

Know someone who deserves to be in the spotlight? Send us an email and tell us! editor@cue-network.org.


Gimme the Loot produced by Jamund Washington (FILM ‘10) and edited by Morgan Faust (FILM ‘11) was nominated for Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards! You can read our interview with Jamund about his experiences producing Gimme the Loot in our Spring Newsletter here.

James Ponsoldt’s next movie The Spectacular Now starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler, and Brie Larson is premiering in competition at Sundance. You can read our interview with James about his previous movie Smashed, which premiered at Sundance in 2012 in our Fall Newsletter here.


Submit Your Announcements!

Having a screening, show, reading or other event planned in Los Angeles? Let us know! Email editor@cue-network.org, be sure to include the event name, date(s) and times, alumni involved, a short description and a hyperlink to your website (if applicable).We will be posting event information on our website and including condensed announcements in our newsletters.

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