Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Films by Pratt Institute Alumni to Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival this April

Josh Koury (B.F.A. Film '01), an assistant professor in Pratt Institute's Department of Film and Video, will premiere the new feature-length documentary film, Journey to Planet X, at the annual Tribeca Film Festival to be held in Manhattan this April. Koury, an alumnus of the program in which he teaches, co-directed the film with fellow Pratt alumnus Myles Kane (B.F.A. Film '01), who is director of media production at The New Yorker. Joshua Sobel (B.A. Critical and Visual Studies '10) will also premiere a feature-length film he co-executive produced titled Graceland at the annual festival.   
 
Tribeca Film Festival 2012

Journey to Planet X follows Eric Swain and Troy Bernier, two mild-mannered, middle-aged desk jockeys from Florida, as they come together to make fantastical, science fiction movies with the help of a green screen, amateur actors, and retro-futuristic computer graphics. As they embark on their most ambitious no-budget production yet, the documentary shows how boundless imagination can stretch the limits of DIY moviemaking, to comedic effect. Journey to Planet X was supported by Pratt Faculty Development and Jerome Foundation New York City Film and Video grants in 2011.
 
The filmmaking duo received critical attention for their 2008 feature-length documentary We Are Wizards. The film, which Koury directed and Kane edited, chronicled fans of the enormously popular Harry Potter series. It was screened at over 20 film festivals, opened theatrically in five cities, and was featured in The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Salon and by the IFC Center.   
 
Josh Koury is co-founder and former programming director of the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival. He has also worked at the Hamptons International Film Festival as a programmer and programming manager. In addition to We Are Wizards, Koury directed, edited, and produced the 2002 documentary Standing by Yourself, which tracks the movements and machinations of a group of outcast friends in their strip-mall hometown; it was screened at over 15 film festivals, opened theatrically in New York City, and was featured in The New York Times, Variety, and The Village Voice. In 2004, Koury was recognized with Pratt's Alumni Achievement Award for his outstanding achievement in the field of film and video. He has taught at Pratt since 2008 and is a resident of Brooklyn, New York.  
 
Myles Kane is co-founder and former festival relations director of the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival. Prior to his work at The New Yorker, he worked as the editor on the BBC News show Talking Movies and on the documentary Made In India (in addition to his work on We Are Wizards). He is a resident of Brooklyn, New York.  
 
Graceland tells the story of family man Marlon Villar, the long-time driver of Manuel Chango, a corrupt Filipino congressman. While driving Chango's preteen daughter Sophia, together with his own daughter Elvie, the three become the target of a kidnapping attempt. The wrong girl is kidnapped, and Villar's life takes a sudden and violent turn which propels him into a downward spiral of deception. As events unravel, Villar, Changho, and their families become entangled in a web of lies and corruption that will leave no one innocent.
 
Joshua Sobel is a Brooklyn-based video director and independent film producer from Miami Beach. While at Pratt Institute, he was one of the founders of the Wallabout Film Festival, an international student film competition  currently in its fourth year. Graceland is his first credit as co-executive producer.  
 
Pratt's Department of Film and Video emphasizes an awareness of fine arts traditions as well as the professional disciplines of the contemporary media artist. Students in the bachelor of fine arts degree program acquire foundation skills while pursuing their own artistic visions in documentary, experimental, and narrative modes of production. The department is chaired by Leighton Pierce and is part of the Pratt Institute School of Art and Design, which is led by Dean Concetta M. Stewart.       
 
Pratt's B.A. Program in Critical and Visual Studies brings vitality and practical application to intellectual and artistic practice. At the core of the program is the belief that the integration of theoretical knowledge and practical experience is crucial to learning. The program creates an interdisciplinary framework that allows students to explore the artistic, social, and political meanings of cultural and aesthetic production. The program is coordinated by Professor Ric Brown and is housed in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies, chaired by Gregg M. Horowitz. The department is part of the Pratt Institute School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which is led by Dean Andrew Barnes.  

From left: A film still featuring Troy Bernier from Josh Koury and Myles Kane's new feature-length documentary film titled Journey to Planet X, and a film still from Joshua Sobel's new feature-length film titled Graceland. Photos from left: Courtesy of Brooklyn Underground Films and Courtesy Sung Rae Cho.
 
MEDIA CONTACT:  
 
Amy Aronoff at 718-636-3554 or aarono29@pratt.edu