LOVE HEARS: Support new documentary on deaf-hearing couples


One hears. One can’t. But in these relationships, there is love — and “Love Hears.”

“Love Hears” is an in-progress documentary film detailing the love stories of deaf-hearing couples. The debut feature by director Aleatha Williams (M.A., Art Administration, 2013) presents fresh perspectives on deaf culture as it delves into the victories and vicissitudes of an indelible array of romantic partnerships. The stakes feel raised as “Love Hears” examines what effective communication can mean. Differences are overcome when the essence of togetherness remains.

SCAD: You have a great cast of diverse individuals. How did you find couples for the film?

WILLIAMS: We launched a casting call online and within the deaf community. During casting, each couple submitted a background of their relationship. It was important to cast couples who were at different stages in their relationship. In the film you will see couples at pretty much every stage, from dating to long-time married couples. I also felt it was important to offer a diverse cast. There are interracial couples, individuals of different nationalities, races and religions, as well as LGBT.

SCAD: What are the keys to a deaf-hearing marriage beyond a loving partnership? 

WILLIAMS: One of the recurring keys you will hear in the film is communication. This is important in any relationship, but it seems to be especially important for a lasting deaf-hearing relationship.

SCAD: Is social media changing the hearing population’s perception of deaf people?

WILLIAMS: Social media has been a great platform for dismantling the still-lingering stigma of deaf people as unapproachable and incapable. The more content available on and about deaf/hard of hearing (HOH) people, the better informed the hearing population will be.

SCAD: How did your SCAD experience influence your filmmaking?

WILLIAMS: I went to SCAD Atlanta and obtained an MA in art administration. I was awarded the Spring 2013 Thesis Proposal Award, the first person in the art administration department to win the award. Then in 2015 I took classes/workshops in film at SCAD, which gave me the confidence and encouragement I needed to move forward with “Love Hears.”

SCAD: Was there a deaf community at SCAD while you were a student here?

WILLIAMS: While I did not come across any other deaf/HOH students while I was at SCAD, I did join a network of other students who had various disabilities.

SCAD: What have you learned about love while making this film? 

WILLIAMS: This is a big one! I definitely learned something about love from each and every couple in the film. Two things that have stuck out to me since we started filming: You cannot take each other too seriously, and good communication is vital.

Share the love. Contribute to the fundraising campaign.

Keeping It Reel: SCAD is Family’s filmmaking Ross Brothers


One has long hair and one keeps it short, but alumni Bill and Turner Ross are still growing together. From their museum-going childhood in a small town in Ohio through their crucial skill-building years at SCAD, Bill (B.F.A. video/film) and Turner (B.F.A. painting) have developed a joint sensibility borne as much from encouragement as competition. In recent years the brothers have created a series of exquisitely personal, universally resonant documentary films including 45365, Tchoupitoulas and Western. We caught up them to discuss how their SCAD experience continues to inform their award-winning work.

SCAD: It’s been over a decade since you graduated. Do you still work with friends you made at SCAD?

Turner: A lot of our crew now are our friends from SCAD. We were a whole bunch of misfits who ended up together. Everybody had something that they wanted to do or somebody that they wanted to become. The people that we came through with are out there in the world, doing it in really exceptional ways. We still find a connection and are available to each other. It’s very much like family.

SCAD: What were the keys to your university experience?

Turner: For us, SCAD meant access to resources. Being there together, no matter what it was we were doing, we were able to bounce off of each other. We lived in a house on Anderson Street and we made all of our projects in our house with our friends. We went to class to learn from people, to get critiqued, but most of all, to have access to the resources that we needed to explore and the freedom within that SCAD environment to try things. We made a lot of really bad stuff and we learned a lot. In the end, we developed relationships that we took beyond the confines of the scholastic world.

Bill: We’d started out very young, running around with cameras and painting, and SCAD was a continuation of that in a more serious way. I worked at The Cage [the checkout locker at the film department], so we had access to equipment 24 hours a day. We were always taking it out whether we had a project to work on or not, just for the fun of it. It’s a little surprising to look back on some of those early things and see how similar they are to what do now. We’d like to think that our art has gotten better.

SCAD: So you were developing your passions from early childhood, before you got to SCAD?

Turner: We’re from a small town, Sidney, Ohio. Our dad was a historian and our mom was in education. As kids, we went to a lot of museums and they really fostered an interest in where people come from and who people are, which fed into what we do now, which is tell the stories of people and how they get to be who they are.

Bill: Growing up, I sort of hid part of myself because if the guys that I hung out with knew I was in the basement watching Fellini movies, they’d probably have been like, “What’s wrong with you?” Once I was at SCAD, I met so many people and we were just always making stuff together. Our work continues to be fun but there was something about that initial moment where the world just became a lot bigger and brighter because I had found a home and felt normal.

SCAD: Turner, you got to SCAD first, is that correct?

Turner: I got a scholarship through the SCAD Rising Star Program, which allowed me to graduate from high school early and go down and really pursue painting in a meaningful way. I still use skills as a filmmaker that I learned doing painting at SCAD: process, theory, color, light, knowing your subject matter, framing. Right out of college, I started working in art departments in film, which was an actual meeting of those two worlds.

Bill: I’ve always been proud of T. He is probably the most ambitious, driven person I’ve ever been around. He never had the fear of putting himself out there, which I think a lot of people can be hung up on. So he pushed me to do that as well, from a very early age.

Turner: It’s something more positive than a rivalry, you know.

Bill: Well, there is a little bit of that, too. We’ve very different individuals. If we weren’t brothers, I don’t know that we would actually hang out. But when we come together, our personalities mesh in a very good way.

Flashback Friday: Winners of the 2014 Savannah Film Festival


With the 18th annual Savannah Film Festival coming to a close, we wanted to take a look back at the winners of last year's festival. Fifty-five films competed for more than $80,000 in cash and prizes. Below are the winners of the three student awards.

Student Awards

  • HBO Films Student Competition Award 2014 — "Sweet Corn," a 20-minute dramatic comedy about a stubborn old farmer who takes extraordinary measures to save his corn field and ends up with some surprising results.
  • Best SCAD Student Competition Award — "Southsouthwest," a 14-minute drama about a photo enthusiast tormented by local bullies who faces a test of courage his ailing grandfather's camera is stolen and placed at the top of a fire tower.
  • Silver Screen Society Award — "Southsouthwest"

SCAD FASH: first impressions of the new fashion and film museum


During the opening day thousands climbed the grand staircase and opened the glass doors to the copper-walled reception area of SCAD FASH, the first and only southern fashion and film museum. With an interior design infusing modern and antique elements and furnishings, the vestibule space had an intimate and soothing atmosphere.

Excited conversation buzzed throughout, turning to awe as the first piece of the ‘Oscar de la Renta’ exhibition — the pink beaded gown Taylor Swift wore at the 2014 Met Gala — came into sight.

A heavenly glow of pink and gold then floated around the room, coming from multimedia projections on the walls created by SCAD alumna Whitney Stansell (M.F.A., painting, 2008) and her husband, Micah Stansell. Images of hydrangeas danced along the walls, paying homage to de la Renta’s source of inspiration while infusing the space with a sense of motion and energy.

But the atmosphere extends beyond motion and lighting; the walls curve in a winding path to carry each visitor from one display to the next around the bend. In the golden-lit hall, mirrors line the left, and on the right are five shimmering, ethereal garments. These include Anna Wintour’s gold lamé evening dress, Huma Abedin’s wedding gown and former first lady Laura Bush’s silk chiffon jacket and skirt. The arrangement gives the illusion of an endless universe full of de la Renta’s designs.

At the end of the hall, many visitors turned into the Film Salon to watch a showing of the SCAD alumni directed and produced film ‘Ovation for Oscar’ and look for keepsakes to purchase and commemorate their first journey to the museum. Instead of key chains or exhibition posters, limited edition prints handcrafted by SCAD alumna Lucha Roderiguez (M.F.A., printmaking, 2011), and inspired by Oscar de la Renta’s designs are available for purchase.

Entering back into the gallery space, a full, flowery red dress catches the eye atop a small platform. The gown gathered many onlookers, many taking photos or selfies. It’s not hard to understand why; it was worn by fashion and music icon Beyoncé in Vogue’s March 2013 issue.

In the final room of the exhibit, visitors circle around a platform displaying Oscar de la Renta’s most notable flamenco styles. This takes guests by Oprah Winfrey’s silk embroidered evening dress worn at the 2010 Met Gala and a gorgeous tulle gown created for SCAD by de la Renta himself to display in the ‘Little Black Dress’ exhibit. Each guest enjoyed a moment with the wedding dresses of the designer’s stepdaughter Eliza Reed Bolen and his dear friend Miranda Brooks, and also the extraordinarily dramatic gown worn by Kristen Dunst in the film ‘Marie Antoinette.’

At the end of the exhibit, many went back for a second walkthrough, sat in the fabric-lined seats carved into the walls of the reception area, or stepped out onto the balcony and took in the wonderful city view. Upon exiting the exhibition space, one of the first fall 2015 cocktail dresses by Peter Copping, the creative director handpicked by Oscar de la Renta to succeed him, wishes all a glamorous farewell and invites visitors to return.

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

10 Cool Things You Should Know About SCAD FASH


The new SCAD FASH museum brings a momentous cultural addition to the heart of Midtown Atlanta. The inaugural exhibition, “Oscar de la Renta,” features more than 80 garments by the late designer and Peter Copping, the creative director de la Renta hand-picked to be his successor. Many of the looks on display are on loan from celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Sarah Jessica Parker and Oprah Winfrey, as well as de la Renta’s closest friends and family members. But that’s just the beginning of the SCAD FASH experience.

Read on for 10 more fascinating details about the museum.

  1. Come for the fashion, stay for the film: SCAD FASH is unique in pairing two of modern culture’s most prevalent fascinations: fashion and film. The museum will screen some of the world’s best fashion-focused flicks on an ongoing basis, and for each exhibition, SCAD will commission an exclusive accompanying film. For “Oscar de la Renta,” SCAD FASH’s state-of-the-art Film Salon (featuring a 90-inch plasma display) is showcasing “Ovation for Oscar.”
  2. Even the walls are works of art: SCAD alumna Whitney Stansell (M.F.A., painting, 2008) and her husband Micah Stansell worked together to design and install the multimedia works that frame the“Oscar de la Renta” exhibition. The installation features yards upon yards of fabric in a series of undulating cloth walls, lit in color and projections in beautiful botanical motifs and sparkling compositions that create a paper-lantern effect, adding a subtle sense of movement and energy to the garments.
  3. It’s a teaching museum: SCAD FASH is directly connected to 27,000 square feet of academic studio and classroom space dedicated to SCAD’s top-ranked fashion programs. Within the space, students have access to the most advanced technologies and resources, preparing them for careers in the world’s billion-dollar fashion industry. SCAD students and alumni also have a myriad of opportunities to share their work at SCAD FASH through design showcases, fashion shows, and exhibitions.
  4. Attention, learners of all ages: It’s not just students of SCAD who study and learn at SCAD FASH. K-12 classes are invited to visit the museum for a one-of-a-kind experience. Educators have access to SCAD’s award-winning curriculum guides with exercises customized to each exhibition and mapped to National Visual Arts Standards to share with their students.
  5. Climb the stairway to heavenly views: Every SCAD FASH visitor enters the museum by the elegant Grand Staircase leading to a magnificent terrace that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Atlanta skyline. Inspiration for the entrance’s design was drawn from Hong Kong and Lacoste, France to pay homage to SCAD FASH’s connection to the university’s global community.
  6. The interiors are tailor-made:  SCAD FASH includes many custom-made touches that reflect the latest in architectural and design prowess. The state-of-the-art features include Terrazzo floors consisting of marble, quartz, granite and glass; walls detailed with everything from wood paneling to fabric to copper to Venetian plaster; and custom rough-hewn wood shelving in the Film Salon.
  7. Take home a custom keepsake: Through SCAD FASH 300, visitors have a chance to expand their art collection and support the university’s mission of educating future leaders in fashion, film, and fine art. For the current “Oscar de la Renta” exhibition, SCAD commissioned Atlanta artist and SCAD graduate Lucha Rodriguez created a print inspired by the intricate patterns and dynamic use of color in de la Renta's work. These exclusive works of art are available for purchase in the Film Salon.
  8. Become a quick study on all things Oscar de la Renta: Also available for purchase is the new Rizzoli book, Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style, by André Leon Talley. Designed and prepared for press by SCAD, the volume is a work of art in itself and includes Talley’s recollections of his dear friend’s life and legacy, as well as personal essays by Anna Wintour and SCAD President Paula Wallace.
  9. You can look, and yes, please touch: SCAD students and faculty are invited to use the newly refurbished Fashion Resource Library that offers an up-close, tactile learning experience. The library gives students direct access to an extensive garment study collection consisting of fabric swatches, snaps, buttons, and threads, as well as a set of skins and leather samples donated by Michal Kors.
  10. Now that’s vintage: The SCAD FASH Study and Conservation Lab houses selections from the SCAD Museum of Art’s permanent collection of 4,500 fashion garments, accessories, and photographs. Many of these items, some of which date back to the 16th century, will be featured in future SCAD FASH shows. Through scheduled appointments, SCAD FASH guests are able to view items from the collection to deepen their understanding of how garments are constructed.

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

The 9/11 story you haven’t heard


Over the years, Chris Mennuto (B.F.A., Motion Media) watched his dad struggle to tell the story of how he escaped Tower 2 during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While interning in New York last year, Chris visited the 9/11 Memorial for the first time. Touching the names of his dad's fallen co-workers he was inspired to create a visual presentation of his father's escape. And so was born “18 Minutes,” a powerful two-minute short, which brought his father and his professor tears.

Chris's hand-drawn sketches capture his father’s ordeal with such precision and imbue seemingly cold and impersonal technical tools with a vibrant breadth of emotion. "18 Minutes," the amount of time it took Stan Mennuto to exit the burning building, is a testament to a son's love for his father and to the fact that digital art and storytelling are as evocative as traditional mediums.

To memorialize 9/11, Chris and his dad will show “I8 minutes” today at Indian River State College in Florida. Winner of several awards, “18 Minutes” has also been shown at animation and film festivals around the country.