Category Archives: Events

SOAPIFF hosts veteran movie executive–producer at Pellissippi State

Adam Leipzig is the former president of National Geographic Films, a past senior vice president at Walt Disney Studios, and a longtime film and theatre producer. Many of the films he has been directly involved with—“March of the Penguins,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”—have become household names. He has also launched more than 300 theatre productions and performance events, written for the New York Times and other publications, designed and built four successful businesses, and consulted with dozens more. He currently serves as the publisher and managing editor of the popular online magazine Cultural Weekly.

You want to make that movie? You need an insider. You need someone who knows filmmaking and Hollywood and sits comfortably at the intersection of creative culture and business.

Meet Adam Leipzig, a former movie executive, an independent producer and the speaker for the Seventh Annual Southern Appalachian International Film Festival at Pellissippi State Community College.

The film festival runs Nov. 12-17 at the college’s five sites: the Hardin Valley, Division Street, Magnolia Avenue, and Strawberry Plains campuses in Knox County and the Blount County Campus.

Leipzig’s remarks follow the showing of the classic film “Dead Poets Society,” a movie he was directly involved with, and they precede the screening of another popular project he acquired, “March of the Penguins.” He’s set to speak at 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at the Hardin Valley Campus.

With 25 years of experience making movies, Leipzig has plenty of insights about the process of filmmaking.

“I will share behind-the-scenes stories about each movie,” he said. “I’ll pull back the curtain about how movies really get made and what happens off screen.”

Leipzig rose through the ranks at Walt Disney and saw it grow into a big studio with more productions and critical successes. Initially, Leipzig was one of eight executives working in the creative group, which also included legendary Hollywood executives Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner.

“After six years, those eight people had become 130 people and we split into three different divisions, and I had been promoted up and up,” Leipzig said. “I was no longer doing at the studio what I came to do, which was make movies. I had been promoted up so far that there were lots of people intermediating the process.”

Leipzig struck out on his own as an independent producer and got the chance to lead a new venture, National Geographic Films.

“In 2003, National Geographic asked me to design a strategy for their successful presence in the motion picture business, which I did. Then they asked me to become the president of that company,” he said.

These days, Leipzig consults, writes, and talks about something integral to moviemaking and close to his heart: creativity. He currently serves as publisher and managing editor of the popular online magazine Cultural Weekly (www.CulturalWeekly.com). The publication examines how creative culture intersects with media, money, technology and entertainment.

He also believes in sharing his experiences with aspiring filmmakers and college students. To that end, he is writing two books on filmmaking.

“Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers: Get Your Movie Made, Get Your Movie Seen, and Turn the Tables on Hollywood” will be available as an e-book in December and as a trade paperback in January 2013. He will be pre-selling autographed first editions at the festival. Leipzig is also co-writing “Filmmaking in the 21st Century,” a new college textbook for Bedford/St. Martin’s (Macmillan). He anticipates its publication in late 2014.

Leipzig’s visit is sponsored by SOAPIFF, the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, and Pellissippi State’s Art and Media Technologies programs.

View the SOAPIFF screening schedule for Pellissippi State at www.soapiff.com. To learn more about the college, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Film festival returns to Pellissippi State with screenings at all five campuses

With theater screenings at all five Knox and Blount county campuses of Pellissippi State Community College, East Tennessee film enthusiasts will have a myriad of viewing options during the upcoming seventh annual Southern Appalachian Film Festival.

Scheduled for Nov. 12-17, SOAPIFF promotes and preserves the work of independent filmmakers. It also encourages film production and film culture in Southern Appalachia.

The six-day festival is sponsored by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. TnCIS (www.tncis.org) is located on the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State. The Hardin Valley Campus is in Knox County, as are the Division Street, Magnolia Avenue and Strawberry Plains campuses. The Blount County Campus is the fifth of the college’s locations.

SOAPIFF features full-length and short films in the following genres: Appalachian, art/experimental, children’s, cultural minorities, documentary, environmental, foreign/international, gender/women’s, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, independent and young filmmakers.

As part of this year’s festival, SOAPIFF welcomes film industry veteran Adam Leipzig to Pellissippi State. Leipzig, who has served as a Disney executive and as director of National Geographic Films, has brought more than 25 movies to the screen. A reception in his honor takes place on Nov. 12 at 6:45 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus.

The director of one of the documentaries being screened also makes an appearance. Documentarian Nancy Ghertner, who directed “After I Pick the Fruit,” visits the Hardin Valley Campus on Nov. 13. The screening of her film begins at 7:55 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium.

SOAPIFF also brings to Knoxville a well-known international artist, Lori Zimmerman. Zimmerman presents and discusses current trends in fiber art on Nov. 13 at noon in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus.

A complete schedule of SOAPIFF screenings and activities can be found at www.soapiff.com.

For more about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State announces Veterans Day activities

The campuses of Pellissippi State Community College have events scheduled throughout the week leading up to Veterans Day. Veterans Day is celebrated Monday, Nov. 12, to honor veterans for their service.

Here are the highlights of the activities:

Hardin Valley Campus

  • Thursday and Friday, Nov. 8-9—The campus hosts a display called “In Their Own Words.” The exhibit is a collection of stories, photos, and memorabilia by Pellissippi State veterans and their loved ones. The display is in the Rotunda of the Goins Building.
  • Thursday, Nov. 8, 7:30 a.m.—Pellissippi State presents a breakfast for veterans in the Cafeteria Annex of the Goins Building.
  • Thursday, Nov. 8, 11:30 a.m.—Gathering to thank veterans for their service. Cake and punch will be served in the Rotunda of the Goins Building.

The Hardin Valley Campus is located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Blount County Campus

  • Thursday and Friday, Nov. 8-9—The campus hosts a display of veterans’ memorabilia in the William “Keith” McCord Lobby.
  • Friday, Nov. 9, 10:30 a.m.—Pellissippi State thanks veterans for their service at a gathering in the McCord Lobby. Cake will be served.
  • Monday, Nov. 12, 2:30 p.m.—The campus hosts the “Military Uniform Through the Eyes of God,” a presentation by veteran Thomas Vananda in the West Chevrolet Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Blount County Bible Club.

The Blount County Campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., Friendsville.

Magnolia Avenue Campus

  • Friday, Nov. 9, 9:30 a.m.—Participants gather in the plaza to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” There will be a display of military memorabilia provided by staff, faculty and students. Cake will be served in the Lobby.
  • Nov. 9, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.—Luncheon for veterans by invitation only has been scheduled in the campus Community Room. Retired Major Max Lemons will be the luncheon speaker and his topic will be “Words of Encouragement.”

The Magnolia Avenue Campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Strawberry Plains Campus

  • Tuesday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m.—A screening of the movie “The Guardian” is scheduled in Room 2500 on the main floor. Popcorn will be served.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7—It’s Camo Day, and Pellissippi State is giving away footballs and lanyards donated by the National Guard. Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program oversees the giveaway.
  • Thursday, Nov. 8, 9:30 a.m.—American Legion Post 104 will raise the flag, display a military vehicle and set up a rock-climbing wall. Volunteers and canines with Smoky Mountain Service Dogs also will be present. The nonprofit group trains dogs to help people with disabilities, including disabled veterans.

The Strawberry Plains Campus is located at 7210 Strawberry Plains Pike.

To learn more about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State hosts art exhibit featuring student study abroad perceptions

Scott McGugin's "Tracks of Confusion"

A dictionary definition of “paper trail” explains that it is “documentary evidence of one’s actions … a track record of opinions that tells, literally, where one is coming from.”

For art and culture enthusiasts, “Paper Trail” is an exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College that offers attendees the chance to experience cities such as Vienna and Rome through the eyes of student artists.

Slated for Nov. 6-23, “Paper Trail” features drawings, photos and sketchbooks created by Pellissippi State students who studied abroad in Austria and Italy during the summer 2012 Tennessee Consortium for International Studies programs. The collection explores landscapes, people, food, and cultures the students encountered while studying photography, drawing, art history, and economics.

TnCIS is sponsoring the exhibit. The consortium, which is headquartered at Pellissippi State, coordinates study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. The organization provides affordable, high-quality study abroad opportunities to students enrolled at Pellissippi State and other Tennessee Board of Regents institutions.

More than 400 students and 50 faculty from Tennessee—183 students and 22 faculty from Pellissippi State—participated in this past summer’s study abroad. TnCIS has planned 18 study abroad programs for summer 2013.

“Paper Trail” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s new arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures and the fine arts.

An opening reception is scheduled for Nov. 8, 3-5 p.m. Regular exhibit hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The showing is in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public. Group tours from schools, art classes or artist groups are welcome and may be arranged with advance notice.

To learn more or to schedule a group tour of the exhibit, call (865) 694-6400 or email Linnette Legg at llegg@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

International photographer to speak at Pellissippi State

His clients range from the National Basketball Association and Cigar Aficionado Magazine to Continental Airlines and the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Photographer Patrice Argant, a native of France whose work has included extensive travel throughout Asia and Africa, maintains studios in Manhattan and in Knoxville. On Nov. 5, he offers a presentation on his photography at Pellissippi State Community College. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Argant’s images have appeared on multiple national and international magazine covers, and his fine art pieces have served as the focus of exhibits in the United States and France. The photographer has produced work for the news industry, as well as for the fashion and advertising fields.

The presentation by Argant is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s new arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures and the fine arts.

The event takes place 6:30-8 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. Plenty of free parking is available.

For additional information about Argant’s presentation or The Arts at Pellissippi State,” call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State sponsors successful Habitat building project

Hammers were swinging throughout the day of Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State Community College, as the school hosted an alternative fall break event called “Shed Happens.”

One hundred volunteers joined forces at the college with the Lowe’s Home Improvement Heroes Project, Loudon County Habitat for Humanity, Smithbilt Homes and TnAchieves to construct 18 sheds to be donated to the Loudon County Habitat.

Habitat will present each of its families with a storage shed upon the completion of the family’s home. The building project will provide the Loudon County Habitat with an 18-month supply of sheds.

The event was part of the Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program, launched last year. Service-learning integrates community service and academics to make education relevant and exciting for students, according to Tara Lynn, an English faculty member who facilitates the program with Annie Gray, also an English faculty member.

“We hope this consortium of businesses, nonprofit organizations and our college will become a model for community and civic engagement endeavors throughout the state,” Lynn said.

Six of the college’s classes currently have a service-learning component. More than 1,000 Pellissippi State students are engaged in service in the community in some way, whether through service-learning courses, the Gnosis student service club, or TnAchieves, Lynn says.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program, visit www.pstcc.edu/service-learning or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State presents dramatic reading of Sophocles’ ‘Ajax’

When Sophocles wrote the play “Ajax” about 440 B.C., he could never have guessed that his tragedy about war in ancient Greece would be applicable in 21st century America.

Rob Lloyd, an English faculty member at Pellissippi State Community College, is bringing a dramatic reading of Sophocles’ oldest surviving play to campus. In the college’s presentation, “Shattered Ancients,” the parts of “Ajax” will be read by faculty and students.

The event is Friday, Nov. 9, noon-1, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The community is invited to attend the free reading.

Lloyd says he has been amazed at how the classic mirrors the problems of some of his students who are veterans: adjusting to civilian life after military service and coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, for instance.

The play centers around the mighty warrior Ajax and addresses such timeless issues as pride, disgrace, and respect for the dead.

“I thought when I read the play, The human heart didn’t change much in 25 centuries,” Lloyd said. “War was hell. War is still hell. We believe Johnny comes marching home again and that he goes back to an upright family. Many times that’s not true—he often comes home deeply damaged.”

The performance is sponsored by the college’s Faculty Lecture Series and the student literary publication “Imaginary Gardens.”

For more information about the production, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State hosts Mediterranean Cultural Fest

The Mediterranean Sea touches countries on three continents, bridging the cultures of a vast and exotic expanse. Pellissippi State Community College celebrates that region with the Mediterranean Cultural Festival on Nov. 2.

The free event is 5-8:30 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus. The public is encouraged to attend.

The festival is part of the Arts at Pellissippi State series, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

The Mediterranean Cultural Festival showcases the entertainment of the region with the following performances:

  • 6-7 p.m.—Debka and the Oasis Dancers, a Knoxville-based belly dancing group.
  • 7:10-8:30 p.m.—Italian violinist Al Colombo and ensemble. The group also features Mike Benjamin on keyboard and vocals and David Correll on bass guitar. The ensemble plays classic and contemporary Italian music, including pieces written by Italy’s foremost composers.

Take in the performances and experience the region’s food at an epicurean marketplace with fruits and vegetables and an Italian café with European teas, coffees, and desserts.

Participants also can sample Spanish paella, pastitsio with bechamel topping, Mediterranean pasta salad with California avocado, tzatziki sauce with falafel, keftedes (Greek meatballs), and hummus and pita bread.

The festival is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Access and Diversity Office. For more information, call (865) 694-6400 or email Gayle Wood, director of Access and Diversity, at gwood@pstcc.edu.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action for Pellissippi State, (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

‘Arabian Nights’ play opens at Pellissippi State Community College

Staging a classic takes courage, invention, and a committed cast and crew, and all of those essentials are in place for the opening performance of “Arabian Nights” at Pellissippi State Community College on Nov. 2.

The presentation is part of the Arts at Pellissippi State, an ongoing opportunity for the community to enjoy cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the visual arts.

Performances of “Arabian Nights” are Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 4, 2 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 11, 2 p.m. All showings are in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Charles R. Miller, who directs the college’s theatrical presentations, has assembled one of the largest casts in a decade for “Arabian Nights.” The show features the technical expertise of Claude Hardy, a new assistant professor of Theatre.

Audiences will find “Arabian Nights” as dramatic as it is timeless, says Miller. It’s wedding night in the palace of King Shahrayar. By morning, the new queen, Shahrazad, is to be put to death like a thousand young brides before her. But she has a gift that can save her, the power of storytelling. Every night, she must tell a story to save her own life.

For the 18-member group of Pellissippi State students, alumni and community residents who make up the cast, the stakes are also pretty high. Shahrazad tells seven stories, and each one must be more compelling than the last. Cast and crew must follow suit.

“That’s really the key to this show,” said Professor Miller. “It has to get bigger and bolder from story to story.”

Miller chose to present a contemporary adaptation of “Arabian Nights” by Dominic Cooke, a former associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Cooke directed the show three years ago and drew rave reviews from London critics.

“It’s a very simplistic script when you read it, and it’s all about how you do the staging around it,” said Miller. “This is going to have dance, music, mime, puppetry.” Claude Hardy has created a set design with five platforms that can be moved and reconfigured for each story that Shahrazad tells.

The show also requires nimble actors who can take on more than one role.

“The actors are getting to do a lot of different things,” Miller said. “They’re getting to do dance, puppetry and acting. With this show, in particular, their level of focus and discipline has to be absolute. There are very few things at the college level that teach you focus and discipline the way theatre does.”

“Arabian Nights” is the first of two family-friendly shows scheduled for this semester. The second is “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” with The WordPlayers in December.

Cost of admission to “Arabian Nights” is $8 for Pellissippi State faculty, staff, and students; $10 for other students; and $12 for adults.

Tickets may be purchased through the Arts at Pellissippi State website, www.pstcc.edu/arts, or by calling (865) 694-6400. They also may be reserved by phone at (865) 694-6684 or by email at foundation@pstcc.edu.

Proceeds go to the Pellissippi State Foundation to benefit the Theatre program.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action for Pellissippi State, (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State lecture: Why Americans are intrigued by the supernatural

Wizards, vampires, werewolves, zombies. They’re on the rise.

Or rather, Americans’ interest in them is on the rise. That’s according to Heather Schroeder, an English faculty member at Pellissippi State Community College. And Schroeder thinks she knows why.

“The rise of interest in the supernatural in the last decade is not surprising,” she said. “It’s a direct outgrowth of the post-9/11 world.”

Schroeder, an author and former news reporter and editor, presents her thoughts in the lecture “Seduction of the Supernatural.” The event takes place 4:30-5:30 p.m., Oct. 29, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State.

The lecture is sponsored by the student club Gnosis. The community is invited to the free event.

“I will aim to show how our interest in all things supernatural is an attempt to explain larger social and cultural issues,” she said.

Schroeder will reference the Harry Potter and Twilight series. She also will discuss “A Discovery of Witches,” the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

“Especially in the South, you hear that books about the supernatural are anti-Christian and ungodly,” she said, “but what’s interesting about this kind of literature is that a lot of it isn’t in the ‘Horror’ section at the bookstores anymore.”

For more information about the lecture, contact Trent Eades, a Gnosis faculty sponsor, at tweades@pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.