Wednesday, February 6, 2008

MCC film students find success

It seems three former Manatee Community College film students are making waves in the movie business, gaining national attention for their professional work.

And that shouldn't too be surprising because MovieMaker, an Independent movie magazine, named MCC one of 25 of the world's best two-year film schools in 2006.

So of course, the school is going to boast when former students such as Ben Piety, Ron VanAlkemade and Christopher Morgan do well. Their notoriety also draws attention to Bradenton, and reiterates the fact that our fair city can generate wonderful talent who go on to do big things.

For instance, Piety's short film "Sunlit Shadows," made this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film is about the nostalgia of a relationship presented as a "visual mix-tape," according to The film has been shown at more than 40 film festivals around the world, winning several awards, MCC stated in a news release. Piety, who also is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, lives in California.

VanAlkemade receives kudos for directing a nationally released film with the catchy title of "What Would Jesus Buy," a docu-comedy about the commercialization of Christmas. This movie, released in January, looks like a treat since it features the street preacher Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir on a mission to "save Christmas from the Shopocalypse," according to

I've seen the Rev. Billy on the news once, he and his choir are the real deal — seriously. The movie was produced by "Super Size Me" producer Morgan Spurlock.

Lastly, there's Morgan, who directed and created a Webisode called "Palmetto." It's a Generation Y story exclusively for the internet that features five teens growing up in a small town and all the angst that follows. I wonder if it is based on anybody from Palmetto? The movie was screened in January by the Sarasota Film Society and was produced by Morgan Films Entertainment, LLC. For more information, check out — January Holmes

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