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Arts and Entertainment

MSU Film Series Hosts Screenwriter/Director Alex Johnson for a Film Screening

(Photo courtesy Missouri State University Department of Media, Journalism and Film)

The Missouri State University Department of Media, Journalism and Film has a couple of events coming up next week.  Producer/director/screenwriter Alex R. Johnson from Austin, Texas has worked in both documentary and feature filmmaking, will present a Master Class in Filmmaking Friday January 30th from 10:30am to noon in Plaster Student Union Theatre.  He wrote and directed the acclaimed independent feature "Two Step." Johnson will discuss the state of independent filmmaking in the United States today, describe his work as a director, producer and screenwriter, and analyze several scenes from his award-winning thriller.  

According to MSU Media, Journalism and Film department head Mark Biggs, the state of indie filmmaking in this country is actually quite healthy. "People are finding a way, with HD technology, to make lower-budget films than was possible just a few years ago. And the distribution system now allows for digital filmmaking to really gain a screening, a foothold.

Alex Gordon will be joined by a new faculty member at MSU, Harrison Witt, Assistant Professor of cinematography, editing and filmmaking, who came to Missouri State from the Austin, Texas area and served as gaffer on "Two Step."  Mark Biggs explains that the "gaffer" is the chief electrician on a film project and assistant to the production designer. "So he worked very closely with Alex Johson on the making of this film. And they'll be able to talk about some of the technical issues as well as some of the aesthetic issues."

The master class is free and open to the public and all MSU students--as is the screening of Johnson's film "Two Step" on Saturday January 31st from 7:00 to 9:30pm, again in PSU Theatre.  Mark Biggs calls it "a character-driven story, like many of the (classic) 'noir' films were." Johnson was inspired in part by a news report about criminals scamming the elderly.  The film concerns a college drop-out whose only living relative is his grandmother.  After she dies he discovers, while uncovering her finances, that she was being scammed.  From this point his path is inextricably--and violently--linked with the criminal who had targeted his grandmother.  Filmmaker Alex R. Johnson will hold a talk-back session following the screening of the film, which will be "an  opportunity for the audience to ask whatever they're interested in talking to the director about, as well as to gain more insight into why he made his film, why he made it the way he made it, where he's coming from and what his ambitions are," according to MSU Media, Journalism and Film department head Mark Biggs.

For more information call the MSU Media, Journalism and Film Department at 836-5218 or email Mark Biggs at