Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

‘The Spectacular Now’ director visits UA for screening

Students can strut the Hollywood red carpet Monday, Sept. 23, as the Ferguson Theater hosts the one-time Tuscaloosa premiere of “The Spectacular Now,” a film directed by James Ponsoldt, starring Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley.

This Crimson Carpet event is the result of the collaborative efforts of multiple campus organizations, including the Honors College, Creative Campus, Black Warrior Film Festival, Student Producers Association and the telecommunication and film department.

Greg Wagner, the director of alumni and organizational relationship development for the Honors College, originally approached Rachel Raimist, the co-director of Creative Campus and assistant professor in the TCF department, with the opportunity. Two Creative Campus interns, Danny Ryan, a junior majoring in telecommunication and film, and Katie Howard, a junior majoring in public relations, are co-leaders of the event.

When Wagner began organizing the event, he invited director James Ponsoldt to attend the Tuscaloosa premiere as well as to host a Q-and-A session after the film, which Ponsoldt accepted. Wagner expects all students attending the event, regardless of major, to enjoy and learn from Ponsoldt.

“There’s going to be an emphasis on the process. So anybody can learn what it’s like to work on a project and see all the hands that go into it. They can learn about critical thinking and teamwork and analytical skills, and just being hungry and fearless,” he said.

In addition to the Q-and-A session with Ponsoldt after the film, students can also come early to see the director briefly before the event.

“We’re doing a ‘Crimson Carpet’ event. We are encouraging students to come and dress up, and treat it like a fun, celebrity red-carpet event,” Ryan said.

Students will be able to take photographs on the Crimson Carpet with their friends, as well as with Ponsoldt, that will be uploaded to Facebook and Twitter.

Howard said he hopes the addition of the Crimson Carpet event before the film and the Q-and-A after will reiterate the high level of appreciation that the organizations involved have for Ponsoldt attending the Tuscaloosa premiere. A VIP breakfast is also scheduled where select students and faculty will be able to speak with Ponsoldt. Howard said she holds the Sundance award-winning director in high respects.

“I’m interested to learn how to make it big in the industry while also keeping your own identity,” Howard said.

Kristen Warner, an assistant professor in the TCF department who has seen the film, believes Ponsoldt’s down-to-earth personality contributes to the organic and appealing unraveling of the simple plot line.

“(Ponsoldt) is not what they call ‘terribly Hollywood.’ He is a very normal guy,” Warner said.

Both Wagner and Raimist have also seen the film and agree that the majority of students will be able to empathize with the genuine authenticity displayed by the characters and the small-town atmosphere created in the film.

“On the surface it appears like what could be seen as a thin coming-of-age teen movie, but it’s not; there’s so many layers in terms of the storytelling and the performance and the way in which he’s directed the film; it’s rich,” Raimist said.

While all students attending the event will be able to enjoy the film and learn from the director, Raimist and Warner hope that their students in particular take advantage of the opportunity to meet with a director personally in Tuscaloosa, without having to travel to New York City or Los Angeles. Instead of learning from books and articles, students will be able to learn expressly from the director himself, they said.

Wagner hopes that the event will attract a large audience and he has plans to continue bringing in different members of the entertainment industry for similar events, as well as a variety of other people to “share their intellectual capital with our students,” he said.

The film is free to attend and will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23, in the Ferguson Theater.

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