Animation captures modern dilemma of digital overload and ADC Award

April
30
2015

Be they images or social posts, videos or emails, staying on top of digital keepsakes can overwhelm. Leave it to digital art to perfectly capture how it feels to tame our digital memories into submission. We face a daily monsoon of data, so we think you’ll relate to this Vimeo Staff Pick. ADC and Adobe did, handing the creators a Silver Cube at the Art Directors Club Awards and first prize at the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. Savannah College of Art and Design students Yeojin Shin (B.F.A., motion media) and Daniel Uribe (B.F.A., motion media), and alumnus Peter Clark (B.F.A., graphic design, motion media, 2014), used a range of motion production tools to combine hand drawn animation, stop motion, illustration and composited effects to bring you Memory Stream. Don’t feel compelled to file, save or share.

Memory Stream from Yeojin Shin on Vimeo.

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Joey Katz' adventure to a college Emmy

April
24
2015

How do I travel for free and make this my job? Many ask this question, but Joey Katz (B.F.A., film and television, senior) answered it. Winner of a College Television Award, the Adventure Katz web series is the culmination of two years spent documenting shoe-string-budget trips to Moscow, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Jacksonville, Florida. And those are just the episodes in the can. The thing that differentiates Adventure Katz from other travel series is Katz’ mission to inspire his audience to do more than watch.

I hope to create something that will change how we look at reality TV. I want to make something that teaches people how to make their own adventures.

It’s a strategy for attracting young viewers, an audience Katz believes is underserved by reality TV, and he just might get the chance. He is pitching Adventure Katz to producers during a time when networks like Travel Channel want immersive, rugged content.

That’s one hook Katz has going for him. Another is his savvy use of social media to build a loyal following. “When I make a film, I shoot something that’s worth sharing on Reddit,” he said. To promote the episode Wales: MADMAN or Poet? Katz posted an image of the Cader Idris mountain in Reddit subgroups and included a YouTube link to his video. The image received 1.8 million views, persuading thousands to watch and hundreds to subscribe to his channel. In the episode, Katz endeavors to scale Cader Idris and test the legend that climbing the mountain turns hikers into madmen or poets.

Katz’ love affair with filmmaking began in seventh grade when his parents gave him a cell phone. He began shooting and editing videos on the mobile device, eventually graduating to a laptop and professional editing software. After becoming disenchanted with a string of internships as a production assistant, he was inspired by Andrew Wonder, director of the viral film Undercity, to hit the road. He started watching YouTube in 2007, but Wonder’s videos helped him realize he had everything he needed to break out of the traditional production routine. What’s in his bag?

I carry the least amount of gear I can. You need something you can shoot on really quickly. I shoot on the Canon PowerShot S100, a point and shoot camera. Batteries are cheap and if I break it I can replace it. Content is more important than what you shoot on. I carry a lightweight tripod and edit on Adobe Premiere.

True to their commitment to help film students develop projects beyond narrative films, Savannah College of Art and Design professors encouraged him to develop Adventure Katz for his  senior project. That led to a nomination for best reality series by the Television Academy.

So did Katz return from Cader Idris a madman or a poet? Teaser alert: Katz says the trip made him a bit of both. “My video is my poetry," he said. "But it takes both to not know where you’re sleeping for the next few nights.”

Watch and tell @AdventureKatz what you decide.

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Sandcastle like a pro: world champ teams up with students to sculpt Tybee

April
23
2015

Master sand sculptor Ted Siebert’s enormous creations - more than 700 sculptures in 30 years – makes the practice of sandcastling look effortless. But the world record holder knows differently: the tools are simple but the techniques require skilled hands.


A sand castle by Ted Siebert in Cape Town, South Africa. Courtesy of The Sand Sculpture Company.

The misconception is that sandcastling is a lot of fun. It’s hard work. - Ted Siebert


The King's Palace in Kuwait, courtesy of The Sand Sculpture Company.

To prepare Savannah College of Art and Design students for the annual Sand Arts Festival (May 1), Ted brought the beach to the classroom. He’s teaching best practices he developed as owner of The Sand Sculpture Company, like packing, subtractive processes and layout. An authority in a small community of professional sand sculptors, the opportunity to work alongside Ted, also an oil painter, is rare. The students will be able to apply the lessons they learn from Ted to their professional art practices. "The hope is that they'll take these lessons down to Tybee and have more technically adept works," said SCAD foundation's study professor Matthew Toole.


In Ted's workshop, SCAD students learn how to sculpt sandcastle towers, made from 400 pounds of compact sand.

Childhood memories of sandcastling competitions in Cannon Beach, Oregon led Ted to write The Art of Sandcastling and make the world’s beaches his palette. He’ll unveil his collaboration with SCAD students at Sand Arts 2015 in Tybee Island, Georgia. Fittingly, he’ll also judge the contest's Most Ambitious category.

In process, Ted's first sculpture with a university, a collaboration with Professor Matthew Toole's Art of the Spectacle class.

Here are Ted's tips for sandcastling like a pro:

• Use a lot of water. The sand has to be very wet. Bring spray bottles to wet the sand as you work.

• There’s an angle that all sand will stack at. Find it. If you’re too ambitious and try to build something too steep you’re going to have a collapse.

• Pack the sand, then pack again. Compaction is crucial.

• Be organized and sculpt from the top down or the center out so you don’t walk all over your work.

• Use the right tools: sharp knives, straws and brushes. Pallet knives are ideal. Plastic knives are too dull and won’t work.

• Bring suntan lotion.

• Make a plan. If you don’t bring an idea, you’ll waste time shoveling something you don’t have to shovel.

• It’s a collaborative sport. Divide and conquer.

Ted uses compact sand. Some beaches, including Tybee, have loose sand, making it difficult to achieve the height his sculptures reach in places like Asia, the Middle East and Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. If the temporary nature of a sand sculpture doesn't seem worth the effort, consider that winning professional sand sculpting contests can net a sculptor tens of thousands of dollars in prize money.

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Architects will save the planet

April
22
2015

Architecture students, get your super-suits ready. We need you. Other keystone players will also play critical roles in promoting climate change and halting resource depletion, but I’ll stick with the notion that architects are superheroes. You know the ones. We're masked (because few really know who we are, unless we design a big shiny thing in the center of a world-class city), mega-muscled, hyper-focused oddballs who fly straight at the metaphorical meteor and redirect it away from Earth in the nick of time. That’s us.

I teach architecture and urban design at Savannah College of Art and Design. My students are ready to wear the super-suit, and it fits them well. They understand the urgency to design better buildings and cities and see the opportunities to fix our broken environment through mindful design. It’s a sure bet that our emerging architects will change the game. Most of the architecture and urban design students I talk with want to earn LEED credentials before graduating, and, if they’re in my sustainable design class, probably will. They’re also designing beautiful bio-climatic projects in studio to meet the Living Building Challenge, modeling energy consumption and learning about topsoil science and the importance of nurturing healthy urban ecosystems. This isn’t your grandfather’s architecture school.

We now teach and practice creative and integrative design that demonstrates the approach we must all pursue as part of a global solution to resource depletion and climate change.

The urgency is in the numbers. In 2013, 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption was attributed to residential and commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and that number continues to rise due to growing building size, population and consumption. North Americans still consume three and half times more energy than the global average per capita. Many scientists and policymakers agree we only have a decade to definitively reverse our CO2 emissions before hitting a point of no return. 

The architect’s responsibility is evident in our market impact. There are 5.5 million commercial buildings in the U.S., with a conservative renovation cycle of 30 years and an estimated 15 percent demolition rate during that period, creating a potential retrofit market of around 150,000 buildings each year. Additionally, over a million new commercial buildings will be constructed within that same 30 years. Who is designing these retrofits and new buildings? Architects. That’s a call to don our capes and tights and save the planet. The majority of all renovated and new buildings must be designed for current or near-future net zero carbon operations with minimal ecological footprint, or we could lose the game.

This is a huge opportunity for architects to make better buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save the planet. Mindfully designed buildings mean healthier people, happier clients, a robust economy, vibrant cities and healing ecology. Opportunity emerges in specialization, as well. Once you put on your super-suit, what will your superpower be? Designing hospitals that contribute to faster healing? Or schools that inspire better learning and nurture curious students? Maybe today’s architecture students will take a significant step toward moving residential design to high performance, low consumption, healthy environments for families.

If we’ve already reached the tipping point for sustainable design, then today’s architecture students are the beneficiaries of this momentum. To ride this wave, every architect needs to understand not only how to make a beautiful building that will be loved, but also how to make it perform like a symphony of integrated parts—generating more than it consumes, while contributing to a vibrant sustainable economy.

Elaine Gallagher Adams, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a professor of architecture and urban design at SCAD. Follow her on the SCAD Architecture Voices blog.

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Preview Fred Spector's furniture collection for High Point Market

April
7
2015

Watch as the owner of Frederic Spector Design Studio shows how he creates award-winning residential furniture. In this demonstration, livestreamed here on Tuesday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. EDT from the SCAD Museum of Art Theater, Fred Spector takes you inside the design process of collections like Avalon, a bedroom suite to be shown along with his new dining collection in Casana Furniture's showroom at High Point Market (April 18-23). Furniture makers AAmerica and Ligna will also show bedroom collections by Frederic Spector Design Studio at the furniture industry’s largest trade show. The program coordinator for SCAD furniture design, Spector has also worked for Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Williams-Sonoma and Anthropologie. This presentation is part of the School of Building Arts Lecture Series and is free and open to the public.

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Who will Lululemon design for next?

April
2
2015

The downward trend for Lululemon’s sales and reputation seemed to stall with its announcement of a line of pants tailored to the male anatomy. The yoga and activewear brand is likely considering additional strategies for reviving its business, and it just might find answers in case studies by students from Savannah College of Art and Design. Challenged by the Young Menswear Association to develop a new product or marketing tactic to help Lululemon regain its footing, these aspiring leaders of the fashion industry each won $5,000 YMA Fashion Scholarships for their ingenuity. Here are the consumers they believe Lululemon should target next.


The style conscious
Jessica Ferreira’s (B.F.A., fashion) solution is to tap the talent of emerging American designers to revive the struggling brand. In her plan, Lululemon partners with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to select designers who can bring luxury to the high-performance athletic gear, thereby attracting a new base of trend-savvy customers. For example, Jessica recommends the designers behind Proenza Schouler, who are known for their prints. Her sketches illustrate how graphic leaf prints could infuse a Lululemon capsule collection with overtones of Zen and nature.

The plus-sized
Annalise Lao (B.F.A., fashion) created ELEVATE, a high-end, exclusive division of Lululemon, to be offered in sizes four to 24. ELEVATE would integrate plus sizes into a regular line, with clothes designed to flatter the body using high energy prints and cuts that resonate with an urban customer base. In an attempt to reach the global traveler and the growing Asian market, ELEVATE would debut in American Airlines lounges across the United States and with its affiliates Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Quantas.

The young
Lindsay Cousins (B.F.A., fashion) chose to target new blood. Her brand extension for Lululemon, Urban Spirit, would appeal to a younger customer base. She designed a collection of yoga garments for this modern customer that would be functional for athletes of all kinds and incorporate performance enhancing materials.

The millenial male
Lulu Warrior is Daniela McIntire’s (B.F.A., fashion marketing and management) answer to the question: "How can Lululemon take a bite out of the big dogs Nike and Adidas?" The menswear concept is geared toward the male customer, ages 18 to 35, who enjoys rock climbing in Norway, zip lining in the Puerto Rican rain forest, and skateboarding in Santa Monica, California. A partnership with retailers like Patagonia and REI would further enable Lululemon to capture these discerning and adventurous sports enthusiasts.

The swimmer
Shaina Levin (B.F.A., fashion marketing and management) noticed that Lululemon was ‘landlocked’ in its approach to personal fitness. To build on the brand’s commitment to the well being of its loyal followers, and recognize the many activities that encompass the lifestyles of modern women, she developed Amphibian. Her collection of exclusive swimwear revolves around a concern for sustainability and the values of the Lululemon brand.

The environmentalist
Nikolas Hakanson (B.F.A., fashion marketing and management) created the Green collection, incorporating sustainability into all aspects of the activewear. From fabrics to styling, and production across the supply chain, this concept would allow Lululemon to position itself as a leader in sustainability.

The androgynous
S / He by Vicky Ma (B.F.A., fashion and fashion marketing and management) incorporates unisex styling and versatile fabrics as a way to tap the trend toward androgyny, while also empowering Lululemon to expand their current level of business with men.

If a lack of inclusivity bedeviled Lululemon in the past then, taken together, these fresh ideas should have the brand covered. 

Hero image courtesy of Neil Hieatt (M.A., advertising, 2011).

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Bienenstock Furniture Library: these chairs have our attention

March
24
2015

When was the last time you felt loved by your chair? It’s a rare expectation from our furniture, but it’s possible. That's because good designers can imbue inanimate objects with human characteristics. The Honest Chair by Eny Parker, winner of the 2015 Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition, illustrates how this dynamic is achieved with something that we use every day, but rarely notice.

As designers, we should not only appreciate materials, but push their natural characteristics to become something unimaginable. - Eny Parker

The body-embracing curves of The Honest Chair, the first prototype that Eny has manufactured as a graduate student in furniture design at Savannah College of Art and Design, are hard won. Its simplicity masks the difficulty of crafting a compound curve, a wood bending technique requiring the maker to bend Italian plywood in two different directions - one along the grain and the other against it. 

Many cracked sheets of plywood later and the Frank Gehry-inspired chair was born. Here’s how Eny made it:

"The start of my process included sketches made in conjunction with paper models. Design No. 4 was chosen for further development."

"Due to its organic form, shaping the prototype mold by hand was the best approach. I traced the elevations to establish the shape and then cut the foam to its profile using an electric wire, which took many hours."

 

A video posted by @enyleeparker on

 

"Because the bending ply prefers to bend in one direction, pre-steaming was necessary for the compound curve. This was done several times until I found the desirable radius. After several attempts, which included some cracking, an acceptable form emerged. Six layers of bending ply were successfully used for the prototype. After steaming each layer, the pieces were left to dry for the gluing process in the vacuum bag with the mold."

"The chair was then trimmed to the right shape and height. Biscuits were added to create a flush seam between both shapes, while two stainless steel Chicago screws were added on the slim area where the legs meet for support."

The Bienenstock Furniture Library will award Eny a $5,000 scholarship at the High Point Market in April. Eny has a background in interior design, like fellow SCAD graduate student Christian Dunbar, a finalist in the 2015 competition.

Christian’s Arcal Chair is a salute to designer Milo Baughman. His visit to the Thayer Coggin plant during the High Point Market in October inspired the mid-century modern piece. "During the factory tour, I saw a few unfinished chair backs with slots removed from the backs," said Christian. "I thought it would be interesting to design a piece that celebrates slots like those."

These emerging designers will make sure we take our seats more seriously.

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2015 CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholar targets the wild side of streetwear

March
18
2015

Awarded the 2015 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)/Teen Vogue Scholarship, the collection of streetwear designed by Savannah College of Art and Design sophomore Sang Lim Lee exists somewhere between urban Korea and the untamed Serengeti.

The men’s line evokes the vibrant color, textures and details of the streetwear that Sang grew up seeing in Seoul, and was inspired by a documentary she watched on the Serengeti.

Majestic desert views gave her the idea to stylize the patterns in the desert animals’ coats. The results are youthful prints that are lighter than classic animal patterns and, as applied to Sang’s garments, create streetwear suited for performance and style.

I like the wildness of the Serengeti. It’s kind of like a man’s life. – Sang Lim Lee

It wasn’t just the aesthetics of the environment that informed her design, but the ranges in desert climate. So Sang chose synthetic materials over natural fabrics to provide suitable protection from the elements: cold, hot, rain, sun. Fabric, says Sang, is something that distinguishes Korean fashion from American fashion.

Koreans really focus on details, fabrication and the texture of clothes. I went to a lot of Korean fabric stores, which inspired the look behind my collection. I think that fabric is as important to fashion as silhouette.  - Sang Lim Lee

Ultimately, Sang wants to be a designer who is relevant in both Korean and American markets. One of her biggest influences is designer Choi Bum Suk, whom she admires for overcoming humble beginnings to prevail in Korea’s fashion industry, while establishing a studio in New York. "It’s hard to come to the U.S., but he did it. He didn’t give up," said Sang.

Being mentored by Choi Bum Suk in Seoul and then reuniting with him in the U.S. were key moments in Sang’s developing fashion career, the origins of which took place in the shadows of silk screening machines. She was greatly influenced by her family’s silk screening business and their expertise matching color, graphics and fabric.

Another milestone for Sang was leaving South Korea to study fashion at SCAD, which led to the $25,000 CFDA/Teen Vogue Scholarship and becoming a Target Fashion Scholar. The honor carries a host of opportunities for exposure, starting with a spring break adventure to visit Target’s design team in Minneapolis.

It’s a great start for Sang, who endeavors to learn more about American fashion. But maybe in the process of absorbing the intricacies of a major brand, Sang’s penchant for combining texture and multiple fabrics will rub off on the established designers who teach her.

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6Chix college improv troupe: ‘We’re just as funny.’

March
13
2015

How does an improv comedy troupe warm up? There’s laughter, as one might expect. But, in the case of 6Chix, there’s also a dance party, spurred on by some of the best female empowerment anthems of all time.

The anthems are working. 6Chix is the first all-female troupe to ever compete in the College Improv Tournament National Championship (March 14). In addition to Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Tyler and Beyoncé, 6Chix has a cheerleader in David Storck, the troupe’s coach and professor at Savannah College of Art and Design, which sent three teams to the finals of regional college improv competitions this year. 

David was trained by improv maven Amy Poehler at Upright Citizens Brigade. He took her class three times in order to master the techniques of improv comedy, and then ran Gotham City Improv. Now he teaches performing arts students like the members of 6Chix: Rebecca Huey, Lucy Groeber, Gabrielle Hespe, Sawyer Greenberg, Caroline Huey and Emily Updegraff.

According to David, the tools of improv comedy are more essential than ever to film and television.

Hollywood has finally figured out how to use improv and it’s taking off. – David Storck

At their final rehearsal before departing for nationals, David picks two topics for 6Chix’s next warm-up: brunch and flowers. Gabrielle sits between Caroline and Emily, holding simultaneous conversations about each topic. The exercise keeps the players agile and improves their focus and ability to listen. It also keeps them chuckling, but these games build serious skills.

Improv artists are now highly sought after for writing and acting jobs in the entertainment industry, yet most colleges only teach a traditional approach to performing arts. So college thespians possessing well-honed improv skills are as rare as breakthrough female comedians. Indeed, the members of 6Chix had not experienced the benefits of improv until they came to SCAD.

The 6Chix are in a position to possibly be trailblazers and pioneers from the college world for women in comedy. – David Storck

The 6Chix want to be known first and foremost for their craft, and emphasize that forming an all-female troupe was more a matter of availability rather than a decision to exclude men. But they cite the success of talents like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph, which encourages them to challenge the notion that women aren’t as funny as men.

Watching where Amy Poehler was a couple of years ago, and knowing where she has been, it’s amazing to see she still kept with it. She stuck in there and kept driving forward and now they’ve all opened this great door for us. – Caroline Huey

Though recently formed in fall of 2014, 6Chix will disband after nationals. Three of the members, including Lucy Groeber, who will spend her final quarter in an internship with The Groundlings, will graduate this spring. Regardless of where they land, it’s certain their connection, forged through the power of saying "yes" to improv and one another, will remain strong.

Watch 6Chix perform in the College Improv Tournament via livestream at 5 p.m. EDT on Saturday, March 14.

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Lessons from ‘The Breakfast Club’ with executive producer Andy Meyer

March
4
2015

“Can I tell you the story of The Breakfast Club?”

When one of two surviving members of the creative team behind The Breakfast Club offers to tell you how the enduring teen flick got made it’s not an offer you refuse, especially on the eve of the movie’s re-release in over 400 theaters this month for its 30th anniversary.

Maybe it’s the band Simple Minds pleading “don’t you forget about me” during the open and close, but something about the movie just stays with you. I was 9 when The Breakfast Club opened, but at least twice a year I think about Ally Sheedy shaking dandruff over her desk. It’s one of many scenes that grabbed me and it captures what the 1980s classic is all about: ‘It’s ok to be different.’

By setting up stereotypes embodied by actors like Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estevez, and then deconstructing them in the setting of an all-day high school detention session, director John Hughes broadcasts a message of acceptance to teens long before #stayweird.

The art student could have a place at the Breakfast table with the rest of the movie’s archetypes — the criminal, the basket case, the brain, the princess, the athlete — which is why it’s ironic that for 10 years executive producer Andy Meyer has been using the script to teach screenwriting at Savannah College of Art and Design, down the road from where he produced another little movie called Fried Green Tomatoes. He also produced Better Off Dead, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in February.

Then the president of the newly formed A&M Films, Meyer landed on Hughes’ doorstep in Chicago after reading his script National Lampoon’s Vacation.

I said, 'That’s a really funny script, do you have anything else?' He said, ‘Well I do, but there’s a problem, because I have to direct it.’ Red flags are going off in my head, because I don’t know if he knew which end of a camera to use. – Andy Meyer

Andy Meyer: I went back to my hotel room and read The Breakfast Club. I said, 'This is amazing.' I called the guys in LA and said, ‘We should buy it and make it for one million dollars, low budget.’

SCAD: As the story goes, Universal entered the picture and gave A&M $12 million to make the film. Now, 30 year’s later, the movie is set to open again. What’s behind the re-release?

AM: Breakfast Club is one of the most iconic films of all time. There are still Breakfast Club parties and wardrobe sightings and the music still plays on the radio and in clubs.

It has never quite left the culture, so bringing it back after 30 years was a pretty easy decision to make. – Andy Meyer

SCAD: What was it like on the set of the film?

AM: The picture was the easiest picture I ever made because everybody went to work at the same place (the entire movie takes place in a library that Universal built in an old high school gym). The best people in the business were around John and the actors. We had them in a hotel for about two weeks prior to shooting and they were all together, so by the time they got to the set it was like they were in high school together. They finished each other’s sentences. It was fantastic.

SCAD: What scenes were left, or almost left, on the cutting room floor?

Universal was really nervous about the 12-minute talking head scene where the kids sit on the floor and reveal why they’re in detention. – Andy Meyer

AM: It was a more serious film than studios were used to and they didn’t know if kids would like it. So we said, ‘Test it, see what happens.’ The audience liked that scene the most, so we didn’t have to reshoot. That’s why I think it has lasted all these years. It has all these levels to it and kids can all relate to it, being the stereotypes that they are.

SCAD: Whose character do your students identify most with?

AM: When the movie came out the most popular kid was Judd Nelson, the bad boy. Now, I would bet that Anthony Michael Hall is the most popular kid. The nerds rule, basically. There is a cartoon going around that if The Breakfast Club were made today they’d just be tweeting at each other instead of talking because we are a digitally connected society. Anthony Michael Hall’s character is closer to that than the tough guy.

SCAD: Do any contemporary teen flicks measure up?

AM: I think it’s safe to say that there still isn’t another filmmaker who understood teenagers like John Hughes. If you look at all his movies and the theme of kids against their parents, I have never seen another filmmaker who relates to them better than John. He consistently got into the skin of the kids with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles. When he was hot, he was hot.

Andy still works on film and television projects while teaching at SCAD, but his next great production might be the young filmmaker in class whose voice and vision deliver something as original as The Breakfast Club. Meyer will join Ringwald and Sheedy at SXSW’s premiere of the remastered version on March 16.

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