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SVA Theatre Announces Its 2020 ‘Work From Home’ After School Special Festival
September 15, 2020 by Maeri Ferguson
A yellow After School Special poster with, "The 2020 School of Visual Arts Alumni Film and Animation Festival: After School Special WFH Edition," written on it

It’s that time of year again! The College’s annual film and animation festival, After School Special, will take place virtually, celebrating the work of some of SVA’s most accomplished alumni in film, television, animation and visual effects. Beginning Monday, September 21, on SVA Theatre’s YouTube page, viewers can watch Q&As and special events with more than 25 graduates whose recent film and television projects include Big Little LiesThe Call of the WildThe Midnight GospelThe PharmacistGet OutGreyhoundThe Plot Against AmericaPoseSchitt’s CreekStranger ThingsTaste the NationUnorthodox and Welcome to Chechnya. Videos will premiere throughout the week and remain online for future viewing. For all festival updates, click here.

Now in its seventh year, After School Special invites audiences to take a deeper dive into filmmaking with behind-the-scenes insights from industry-leading professionals. Though the 2020 edition will not feature screenings of alumni work, it will offer the same curated roster of speakers, showcasing the high caliber of talent in SVA’s academic programs. This year’s lineup, more than half of whom identify as BIPOC, represents seven undergraduate and graduate departments. The majority of the works to be discussed can be viewed on major online platforms, including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Prime Video, AppleTV+, and video-on-demand services. All participants will also talk about the ways they’re working from home during the pandemic, and offer advice to students and others who are seeking careers in film and animation.

Highlights include:

Two 2020 Emmy Award nominees: BFA 2000 Film and Video alumnus Martin Ahlgren (cinematographer, The Plot Against America), and MFA 2011 Social Documentary Film alumnus Alexa Karolinski (co-creator/producer/writer, Unorthodox).

Victor Ilyukhin (MFA 2014 Social Documentary Film) and Ann Collins (MFA 2018 Art Writing) will discuss their work as documentary editors on HBO’s Welcome to Chechnya and Netflix’s The Pharmacist, respectively.

A Q&A with Quenell Jones (BFA 2003 Film and Video) and Scott Ruderman (MFA 2016 Social Documentary Film), camera operators who’ve worked on Hulu’s Taste the Nation, Netflix’s (Un)Well and Jessica Jones, and the Academy Award-winning film Get Out.

A special augmented-reality (AR) experience, made especially for the festival by alumnus Ninaad Kulkarni (MFA 2017 Computer Art) and free to download.

In lieu of the festival’s annual SVA Premieres: Best Of screening, which features work by members of SVA’s latest graduating class, this year’s After School Special will include a check-in with alumni from three departments (BFA Animation; BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects; and MFA Computer Arts) via “Where Are They Now?” Q&As. Audiences will hear from several alumni whose careers started as a result of having their films featured in the SVA Premieres: Best Of screenings, including those who have worked on films and shows such as Artemis FowlWe Bare BearsSuccession and others.

Credit: Netflix
Unorthodox | Official Trailer | Netflix

SVA alumnus Alexa Karolinski (MFA 2011 Social Documentary Film) served as co-creator/producer/writer on Netflix miniseries Unorthodox. Karolinski will talk about his work on the project as part of the 2020 After School Special: SVA's Alumni Film and Animation Festival.


Monday, September 21

SVA Premieres … Where Are They Now?: BFA Animation | 8:00pm

Hear from recent SVA BFA Animation alumni whose work was featured in the SVA Premieres: Best Of program over the past four years. Yvonne Hsuan Ho (2016), Fiona Lu (2017), Joe Sulsenti (2017), and Sonja von Marensdorff (2018) will discuss their work, including The FungiesLosersThe Midnight Gospel and We Bare Bears.

Tuesday, September 22

Swimming in Schitt’s Creek | 8:00pm

Paul Fox (1990 Film and Video), the award-winning director of 18 episodes of the hit series Schitt’s Creek, discusses his on-set experience with the cast and crew, while calling from Newfoundland on the set of his next show.

Credit: Pop/Netflix
Schitt's Creek | Official Season 1 Trailer | Pop

SVA alumnus Paul Fox (1990 Film and Video) directed 18 episodes of the comedy series Schitt's Creek, now available on Netflix. Fox will talk about his work on the project as part of the 2020 After School Special: SVA's Alumni Film and Animation Festival.

Wednesday, September 23

The Art of Documentary Editing | 8:00pm 

Wonder what scenes didn’t make the final cut? We chat with editors Ann Collins (MFA 2018 Art Writing) and Victor Ilyukhin (MFA 2014 Social Documentary Film) from two of this year’s most noted documentaries, Netflix’s The Pharmacist and HBO’s Welcome to Chechnya.

Thursday, September 24

The View from Behind the Camera | 6:30pm

Quenell Jones (BFA 2003 Film and Video) and Scott Ruderman (MFA 2016 Social Documentary Film) share their perspective as cinematographers/camera operators on such films and shows as Get OutMarriage RescueTaste the Nation and (Un)Well.

The Making of The Plot Against America | 8:00pm 

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the acclaimed HBO miniseries The Plot Against America from two different viewpoints—that of its Emmy-nominated cinematographer, Martin Ahlgren (BFA 2000 Film and Video), and one of its visual effects supervisors, Vicky Penzes (BFA 2013 Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects).

Credit: HBO
The Plot Against America | Official Trailer | HBO

Apple TV+'s film Greyhound features contributions from SVA alumni Martin Ahlgren (BFA 2000 Film and Video), cinematographer and Vicky Penzes (BFA 2013 Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects), visual effects supervisor. Ahlgren and Penzes will talk about their work as part of the 2020 After School Special: SVA's Alumni Film and Animation Festival.

Friday, September 25

Food & Art: At Home with Chef Cal Peternell | 6:30pm

Take a break from binging that six-season series and join us in the kitchen with James Beard-nominated cookbook author and former Chez Panisse chef Cal Peternell (BFA 1987 Fine Arts), who will teach a fresh and simple recipe that will please anyone's palate.

SVA Premieres...Where Are They Now?: MFA Computer Arts | 8:00pm

Hear from recent SVA MFA Computer Arts alumni whose work has been featured in past SVA Premieres: Best Of programs. Alumni Chingtien Chu (2017), Ninaad Kulkarni (2017), Melody Ai-Hsuan Shih (2016) and Mengxi Zhou (2017) will discuss their contributions for projects such as I Know This Much Is TrueWhen They See Us and CNN Digital content, as well as a wide variety of commercials and virtual-reality projects.

Saturday, September 26

Good Shabbos! An Unorthodox Interview | 6:30pm 

Emmy-nominated creator/writer/producer Alexa Karolinski (MFA 2011 Social Documentary) will call into SVA Theatre in New York City from Berlin, connecting the two cities in which her acclaimed Netflix miniseries, Unorthodox, is set. Karolinski will discuss her trans-Atlantic journey to success.

Saturday Night with Va$htie! | 8:00pm 

Vashtie Kola (BFA 2004 Film and Video) has been on the cutting edge of New York City's arts, fashion and culture scenes since her SVA days. She'll talk about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, director, designer, DJ, model and "influencer," and how she became the first woman to design a Jordan sneaker.

Sunday, September 27

You Sunk My Battleship: The VFX of Greyhound | 6:30pm 

Joel Sevilla (BFA 1999 Computer Art) talks about getting on board with Tom Hanks, as one of the visual-effects captains of Apple TV+'s World War II epic, Greyhound.

SVA Premieres…Where Are They Now?: BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects | 8:00pm 

Hear from recent SVA BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects alumni whose work was featured in past SVA Premieres: Best Of programs. Alumni Alejandra Alvarez (2017), Elaina Brillantes (2016), Julien Desroches (2016), Sarika Persaud (2019), Christin Scarborough (2017) and Andy Tai (2018) will discuss their contributions to The Call of the Wildgen:LOCKMotherless BrooklynStranger ThingsNick Jr. content, a variety of commercials, and more.

Credit: Apple TV+
Greyhound | Official Trailer (HD) | Apple TV+

Apple TV+'s film Greyhound features visual-effects work by SVA alumnus Joel Sevilla (BFA 1999 Computer Art). Sevilla will talk about his work on the project as part of the 2020 After School Special: SVA's Alumni Film and Animation Festival.