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Film by Jennifer Phang ’96 to Show at L.A. Film Festival

Jennifer Phang ’96 always knew she wanted to be behind the camera. “There’s an excitement to being in a creative headspace and feeling transported to another world,” she says. “There’s this inexplicable, magical quality to it.” As a media studies major at Pomona, she took numerous film classes with professors Brian Stonehill and Alex Juhasz at Pomona and Pitzer, honing her directing and editing skills through countless hours in the production lab.

Now her work is paying off with Half-Life, which recently garnered Phang a $10,000 Gen Art award and has been screened at several prominent movie festivals, including Sundance. The film, which Phang wrote and directed, is having its Los Angeles premiere at the Crest Theatre in Westwood June 29 at 7 p.m. as part of the L.A. Film Fest, and is also playing at Outfest July 19 at the Director’s Guild in Hollywood. (Phang and several cast members will be attending the Westwood showing).

In Phang’s own words, Half-Life is “a suburban family drama” that focuses on the day-to-day struggles of a single mom and her son and daughter, contrasting their lives against the backdrop of a planet increasingly affected by factors like global warming. “It’s about trying to hold on to a sense of innocence in a world that seems to be crumbling,” explains Phang. The film occasionally employs the unconventional “rotoscoping” technique popularized by director Richard Linklater in Waking Life, in which live-action scenes are painted over with hand-drawn animation.

Phang has been pleasantly surprised by the largely positive responses that the movie has received. “Getting into Sundance was a dream come true,” she says. “And we’ve had amazing audiences in Seattle, New York, Austin--all over the country.” Half-Life will be screened at more events over the next few months. “We want to make sure we have festival momentum behind it,” Phang says. She’s hoping for the film to get national distribution by the start of next year.

For more information on the film, visit Conner-Simons '08